[Editor’s Note: This piece was originally written for the FBP Women’s Conference in February 2018. Each woman was given a nail to keep and have as a reminder of what Christ did on the Cross.]

I remember when the movie, Passion of the Christ, came out. I was a sophomore in college, and I had gone with my college church group. That night, I sat and cried more tears that I ever knew I had in that tiny theatre in Martin, TN. Once the movie was over, as the people silently walked out of the theatre, I remained frozen in my deep sorrow at what I had just witnessed. With a raging headache, I went back to my dorm room and cried myself to sleep.

As a young Christian watching that movie, I couldn’t reconcile what I had seen. I had read it and knew it and had surrendered my life to Him as my Lord, but actually seeing a depiction with my eyes was altogether life changing.  He was perfect, in every way, yet He died the most awful of deaths… FOR ME! I knew that He had died for my sins, but for the life of me, I just couldn’t understand why! It’s the craziest thing, isn’t it? It’s truly the most beautiful story ever told.

I’ll be honest; I had not thought of this night or this movie in many years until now. As I pondered the cross, the crown, and the nails, and all the things I could write about here, I couldn’t help but to hear one word over and over in my mind: FREEDOM.

Fourteen years seems like a lifetime ago, and in some ways it is. I have now walked with Jesus much more intimately that I had then. Things I said I’d never do (like going on an airplane and living outside the United States), I’ve done because He asked me to. Things I never imagined (like nearly dying at age 28) have happened, yet I continue to worship Him because He revealed His goodness to me in the midst of my deepest fears. I’ve seen and come to trust His sovereign hand on my life, although at times, it is difficult.

What my young Christian self couldn’t reconcile then was this truth: He died to set me FREE of my sin so that I could live FREELY for Him!

John 10:10 says, ““The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Friends, He came to give us LIFE, and life more abundantly! Let that truth sink deeply into your hearts. However, does that mean life any way we choose it to be? Some false teachers would tell you yes, have your best life now, claim it and live it. But that isn’t why at all.

Second Corinthians 5:15 tells us, “and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Jesus died and rose again so that you could live for HIM. His death and resurrection have FREED us from our sins so that we can live lives that reflect Him, in every way. The Holy Spirit dwells inside of us and empowers us to live “abundant” lives, lives of obedience and grace. He asks us to trust Him, and not doubt Him. I think of Thomas, who doubted His resurrection, but upon seeing and placing his fingers in His nail scarred hands, he proclaimed, “My Lord and My God!” (John 20:28) and later, went on to take the Gospel to India and be martyred there.

But are we doing that? Are you doing that?

As you gaze upon this nail, ask yourself, “Am I living a life, FULL OF FREEDOM, for which Christ died?”

Carry it with you and let it be a reminder to you that He died to set you FREE of your sin so that you could live FREELY for Him!

“Love so amazing, so divine, demands my life, my soul, my all.” –Isaac Watts, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross