It’s a common human failing to add extra layers on our faith in order to feel good about our relationship with God. Unfortunately, that destructive habit leads to bondage rather than the freedom for which we long. From the book of Galatians, Barb Roose — author of Breakthrough: Finding Freedom in Christ — shares six freedom principles in this episode that will take your breath away and breathe freedom into your walk with God. Freedom may be elusive, but it’s not impossible!
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- Barb’s website
- Blog post: “Are We Responsible for the Empty Seats in Our Churches?“
- Breakthrough: Finding Freedom in Christ
- What extra rules have you put on yourself that erode freedom from your relationship with God?
- What would change if your faith was Jesus + nothing?
- Which of the freedom principles shared in this episode was the one you needed to hear most?
Featured Guest — Barb Roose
Barb is a speaker and author who is passionate about teaching women to live beautifully strong and courageous so that they experience God’s great adventure of faith and purpose for their lives.
Barb is the author of five Bible studies including Breakthrough: Finding Freedom in Christ (April 2021), Surrendered: Letting Go and Living Like Jesus, Joshua: Winning the Worry Battle and three books including Surrendered: 40 Days to Help You Let Go and Live Like Jesus.
Transcript — scroll to read here (or download above)
Grit ‘n’ Grace — The Podcast
Episode #229: How to Find the Elusive Freedom You Long For
Note: This is an unedited, machine-generated transcript that is 70-80% accurate.
Cheri Gregory 00:00
So for as much as we trash talk perfectionism on this podcast, we can still find ourselves. Okay, I’ll just speak for myself, Amy, I can still find myself living back in the middle of perfectionism without intending to. And without even knowing how I got there. Why is this?
Amy Carroll 00:21
Well, I’m sure I have a wise answer for you. That I can’t really think of it right now, because maybe I’m like that, too. Now, it is my default for sure. And I’ve come to think of it actually, is my besetting sin.
Cheri Gregory 00:34
Oh my, well, that went serious really fast.
Amy Carroll 00:39
They really did. But it’s, it’s true that perfectionism is not the setting sensor. I just have to be super aware of it.
Cheri Gregory 00:46
Well, okay, it’s a good thing, then, that we have Barb Roose back on the podcast today. And she’s going to be sharing six powerful freedom principles that I was thinking of tattooing, okay. I mean, stenciling on my wall, but maybe you need the tattoo.
Amy Carroll 01:03
I think I do probably on my forehead so and backwards. So every time I look in the mirror I can review.
Cheri Gregory 01:09
Well, this is Cheri Gregory.
Amy Carroll 01:12
And I’m Amy Carroll
Cheri Gregory 01:13
And you’re listening to Grit ‘n’ Grace—THE PODCAST that equips you to lose who you’re not, love who you are, and live your one life.
Amy Carroll 01:21
Well today we’re talking with Barb Roose, author of Breakthrough: Finding Freedom in Christ. Barb is a speaker and author who is passionate about teaching women to live beautifully strong and courageous so that they can experience God’s great adventure of faith and purpose for their lives. Barb is the author of five Bible studies, including breakthrough surrendered and Joshua. She’s also written three other books, including Surrendered: 40 Days to Help You Let Go and Live Like Jesus.
Cheri Gregory 01:50
We’re about to talk with Barb Roose about some topics that we both have some strong feelings about — topics like perfectionism, performance based religion, legalism …
Amy Carroll 02:04
deep sigh. I mean, I have done the big swings back and forth between actually living in those places, and having them leveraged at me and in ways that were very painful. So the strong feelings, of course, are towards those other people who are trying to use those things against me.
Cheri Gregory 02:22
Oh, my goodness, I love it. I love it. Well, you know, here’s, here’s what I’m finding myself. Barb defines legalism as human effort to gain God’s favor. And my first reaction when I read that was, well, I would never do that. Of course you wouldn’t, and neither would I. Yeah. But then I went on, I kept reading. And she said, legalism is when we focus on what we’re doing for God, rather than on what we’re receiving from him. And I was like, Oh, wait, I do that all the time.
Amy Carroll 02:52
Barb, we’re thankful you’re here. Help us. Barb, welcome back to Grit ‘n’ Grace!
Barb Roose 02:58
I am so excited to be back with you. And Cheri, hello, everybody out there. Oh, I’m so happy to be here.
Amy Carroll 03:05
Friend. We cannot even keep up with you. You are such a prolific writer. And we love every word that drips off your pen. So today, we want to know about your newest study breakthrough. What led you to write it
Barb Roose 03:19
Breakthrough the subtitle is Finding Freedom in Christ, and actually was just inspired by a memory that I had growing up in the black Baptist Church. And I was just remembering how my grandmother and her friends they used to wear these giant hats, these fancy hats, and did they have these super sharp suits on and I remember as a kid, remembering that my grandmother and her friends, they used to put all kinds of bobby pins in those hats, because when the music started getting good, and they started shouting, they needed to keep their hats on their head because there was a secret underneath those hats. You happen to know what that secret was no detail. Well, so my grandmother and her friends, they did not comb their hair underneath those giant fancy hats. They were on point everyplace else. They were on point. And the reason why I wrote the Bible study was because I remembered that often growing up in the church what I saw was that as long as you look good on the outside, it didn’t matter what was happening on the inside.
Amy Carroll 04:27
Hmm, I might resemble that remark. All right, Sherry, please speak.
Cheri Gregory 04:36
I’m just needing to breathe for a moment at the truth the truth, like just received here. All right, well, bar we do hear a lot about having freedom in Christ almost to the point that it’s a cliche. So what does that actually mean for a Christian?
Barb Roose 04:52
Cheri? I’m so glad that you brought up kind of the cliche Enos because the fact that people go Oh, you must be free in Christ forever. Anybody who doesn’t feel free, then we feel like failures. Yes. And so I had to think about it from my life I went, Jesus died on the cross for me, why am I struggling? So in the Bible study I’ve defined freedom in Christ is living free from fear, and fully alive in God’s great adventure of joy and purpose. And so freedom in Christ has two parts, this part where we receive what God is doing. So he breaks us free from fear. But then we’re also fully alive in this great adventure of God’s joy and purpose. And that felt more tangible to me. And it also helped create this picture that I needed God’s power to do it in my life that I couldn’t do it on my own.
Amy Carroll 05:43
That is good. Well, and I love that definition. Because with that definition, you can be living an imperfect and yet free life. So that’s fantastic. Now you know that we’re checklists, girls, we love a list, and you have six freedom principles. I can’t wait for this, I saw this question coming. And I’m like, Barb always brings the good stuff with the list. So go tell us what they are.
Barb Roose 06:07
Well, these freedom principles were a reflection of Paul’s letter to the Galatians, which the breakthrough Bible study is a study on the book of Galatians. And so I have the six freedom principles. But I also have six breakthrough observations to help us see where God is working in our lives. And so we can get to that in a moment. But these freedom principles are how we live free from fear. So the first one is freedom Principle number one, that the gospel is based on God’s perfect promises, not our performance. This is for those of us who get stuck in perfectionism, those of us who feel like we have to live by the checklist, but that the gospel isn’t about us. It’s about what God has already done. And so number two, then means the freedom principle as a relationship with God means we receive from him, rather than following the rules to be in this place where God wants to give to us. And the only thing we have to do is wait with open hands for what he wants to do with us and through us. And so there’s a number of other freedom principles. But my favorite is number three, freedom Principle number three. And it’s this, that your freedom in Christ cannot be shaken or taken away by anyone who chooses not to live like Christ. Wow.
Amy Carroll 07:29
That’s a truth
Barb Roose 07:30
bomb right there. Because as believers, we are imperfect people. And how many of us who faced the Bible study talks about church hurt, we talk about hypocrisy. These are all things that Paul covers in the book of Galatians. But I know that my freedom in Christ cannot be taken away from me by anyone who doesn’t choose to live like Christ. My freedom in Christ isn’t dependent upon how other Christians behave. Can I get an amen?
Amy Carroll 07:58
Oh, amen. Yes,
Barb Roose 08:02
good news is good news, especially when we are feeling hurt or vulnerable. And so actually, that I’ll share one more freedom Principle number six. And this is the most precious to me, because I wrote this as I was going through my divorce and really struggling with just feeling like God’s daughter. And so freedom principle is the sixth is this, that you are God’s beautiful, lovable, capable daughter, you are confident in Christ, and worthy of God’s best. Wow.
Cheri Gregory 08:34
We could spend all day unpacking each one of those, those are powerful. Alright, so Barb, you said, breakthrough is a study of the book of Galatians. And so let’s get a little nerdy here. Why do scholars consider Galatians to be one of the most significant books in the New Testament?
Barb Roose 08:50
Well, the nerdy answer is also the most important answer for all of us, because Galatians is all about the gospel. And as I was sitting down to write the Bible study, especially for seasoned Christians, mature Christians, I was like, you know, what, what they just go, yeah, the gospel. We’ve heard that before. But the Apostle Paul, he recognized that the believers in the Galatians church, especially the ones who have been believers, for a minute, they had begun to get swayed by people who said, you know, if you want to be a super Christian, you should do X, Y, and Z. And I realized that in our culture today, especially amongst Christians who’ve been following Jesus a long time, anybody else, Amy, Sherry, anybody else like to have that super Christian status? Sure. And so we we begin to layer on some things that we say we’re doing it in Jesus name, but we really want to be super Christians. And so Paul wants to break all of that down and come back to the foundation that the gospel is about God’s promises, not our performance.
Amy Carroll 09:54
So good, what I believe and Galatians that Paul is also kind of dealing with two people groups, right. And we are finding that diversity in our own culture has been very hard to navigate in the last year. So oftentimes are hesitant to start hard conversations about diversity at the risk of offending someone or making the situation worse. So what are some of the ways that we can start and continue discussions with the correct heart Eve model? This really well, online? Barb, let me just say, but I want you to answer the question. But for our listeners, you need to go follow Barb on Facebook.
Barb Roose 10:30
Well, Amy, you beat me to the punch, because I was about to say that you have done this beautifully in admirably. And I have celebrated you for how you have championed this heavenly perspective of unity and diversity. Thank you. And if we had to drill this conversation down to a word, it’s really about listening. It is about the decision to invite people who look differently than us to share their stories. And for me listening, it starts with simple questions like, would you tell me about your life? Or how does your family celebrate holidays or what’s been hard for you lately, and these conversations are where we get a chance to learn from each other. I was reminded of the early church in Acts two, when they met in each other’s homes, to break bread, to fellowship, to worship, in those moments, they were finding out about each other. They were getting to know each other’s lives and and they were building community through listening. God listens to us. We can listen to each other without trying to fix someone else’s perspective. We can love through listening
Amy Carroll 11:44
beautifully said well, and that’s a big takeaway for me, too, is I always thought that listening meant that I agreed with people if I didn’t talk back. And it doesn’t mean that it’s exactly what you just said, listening is equal to love. Period. Amen.
Cheri Gregory 11:59
All right. So that leads to another sticky question. For those of us who are recovering perfectionist, how can we be more supportive rather than judgmental Christians, especially with a friend who’s fallen into sin?
Barb Roose 12:12
Whoo. You know, this is one of those important questions. Because I have heard from so many believers, I was on staff for 14 years at my local church, I was a longtime staff member in spiritual growth and development. And we had a large number of people who would come to our church, and I’m from the mega church world. And so we had about 10,000 or so people on the weekends, and so many people had stopped going to church years before because their hearts had been hurt from the church. And the thing is, is that we all make mistakes, we’ve all sinned. But in Galatians, Paul teaches us that our role as believers is to be gentle and humble. When we approach those who have fallen, generally gentle and humble. Aren’t the two words that Christians use? I don’t know. Can we think of some words that Christians generally use? I don’t know what something that come off the top of your head share here, Jamie? Well, I’m
Amy Carroll 13:08
just a truth teller. Right? That’s the big one. Because then that you have a spiritual gold star. Yes, you do before you bring down the velvet hammer on top of somebody’s head. done it had it done to me.
Barb Roose 13:22
Yes, me too. Me too. And so the best way that we can love people is to come alongside of them. We don’t want to add to their guilt. If we believe God’s promises, if we believe that God is at work, we can be present with someone and point them to God’s promises, and trust that God will do the work. I think sometimes we’re afraid that God won’t do the work. So we want to do the work for him. So when we do come alongside of someone who’s fallen into sin, to be present, to let them be where they’re at, to pray for them, and to continue to point them to Jesus, and trust that God is at work, we are not responsible for someone else’s spiritual journey. We are not responsible for someone else’s sin, and we are not responsible for someone else’s repentance. God can take care of that without our help.
Cheri Gregory 14:12
So good. That right? There is a very freeing perspective.
Barb Roose 14:16
Yes, ladies, I can’t even get myself straight. So why do I think that I can get somebody else who has gone off into a ditch spiritually? So yes, it is freeing for us to not be responsible for people’s repentance.
Amy Carroll 14:33
Okay, so can you give us Barb some examples of legalism that hold us back from our own freedom? That’s that question with the lab. Cuz I’m like, how long is the list I could make?
Barb Roose 14:49
Want to hear your answer. You know, I was speaking at an event back in us before the pandemic. It was September of 2019 and Susie Larson and I We’re speaking at a retreat now never forget, I met a young woman and her mother in the young woman had been sober from drug addiction for six weeks. And she had recently come to faith in Christ. And we stayed in touch via text message for many, many, many months. And so a number of months ago, while I was writing the Bible study, she called me one day and she was just discouraged. She had been in Bible study, she had been going to church, she hadn’t been using drugs. I mean, she was really she was praying, she was excited about her faith in Christ. But then she said, Barb, I kind of feel like a bad Christian. Just like you know what I see. And I said, Why? And she said, Well, I see other Christians, and they’re good Christians. They read their Bible, and they don’t swear, and they never miss church. And she goes, Well, sometimes I forget to read my Bible, and, and I still smoke, and I just, I feel like a bad Christian. And in that moment, I felt the Holy Spirit prompted me to say this, and I’m saying this to everyone out there, who has ever felt like a bad Christian. If you’ve ever felt like God is disappointed to you, this is what God put on my heart to say to her, it’s this, that you can’t mess up God’s love for you. That there is freedom in knowing that we can’t mess up God’s love for us. legalism teaches us that we always have to do more, do better to do for God. And God to say my love for you is on changing. That is a step toward freedom when we can believe that. Oh, good.
Cheri Gregory 16:33
Oh, okay. I didn’t bring Kleenex I should have, okay, a topic that will make me want to cry, or punch a wall. It seems like since the pandemic began, that people in general have become more and more argumentative, and staunch in their opinions over just about everything, even related to how the local church handles certain situations. So what does Galatians teach us about agreeing or disagreeing together?
Barb Roose 16:58
I am so grateful that Galatians is perfectly timed for where our church culture is at now. I remember well, again, as somebody who was a longtime church staffer, I still serve at my church. I also work with lots of churches, and I had lots and lots of pastors contact me over the summer over all the racial, the civil rights movement of 2020. churches were deeply divided on how to handle it. But that’s not been the only issue. churches have been deeply divided in how to handle issues such as homosexuality, how to handle the issues of women and leadership, how to handle you name it, the church can fight about it. However, I have a dangerous theory. And the dangerous theory is that what if we believed that the gospel was enough? To answer our issues with racism, sexism, poverty, family dysfunction, and everything else? If the gospel is the answer for all of those, then what kind of influence could the church have if we believe that the gospel was the answer for all of that? And so Paul, he wanted to address the power of the gospel for the believers, because they were still they were struggling with the exact same issues that we were struggling with today. There is nothing new under the sun, they were struggling with racism, they were struggling with sexism, they were struggling with sexual issues, they were struggling with identity and gender, and the gospel is still the answer, to recognize that we needed to be rescued, that God’s promises for us to receive, and that we respond to God’s work in us after we receive from him.
Amy Carroll 18:36
so so good. And that is such a powerful insight for me, a woman who for years wanted to manage people’s behavior, instead of just leaving them to Jesus and letting him take care of it. So that is some powerful stuff. So Barbie, you’ve been with us before. So you know, our our listeners are fantastic friends, and they gave us some great questions for you this week. So buckle your seatbelt here we got it all say the first one is, how do you know the difference between things you really shouldn’t do? There are some black and white is right. So tell us about that between things you really shouldn’t do and things that are just ingrained in you from legalism. She says now that I’m mentally free from having the burden of having to do things now I don’t even know which things are good and which things are just burdens that was so insightful. When
Barb Roose 19:31
you step into freedom. It’s very well campy, that is I want to apply that reader for the question. Paul does address it because part of the conflict in the galatian church was that the Judy icers they were afraid that people would think that freedom in Christ was freedom to do anything. There’s a pastor called easy believers. But Paul Rosso writes about licenses and licenses. We do get to do whatever feels good. However, when we experience freedom in Christ, freedom in Christ is living fully free from fear, but fully alive in God’s joy and purpose. So when we look at our freedom, part of what Paul writes about is a freedom to love, like Christ. So as I’m thinking about my life and walking in freedom, I have all kinds of actions and choices out there. But as we live by the leading of the Spirit, there are some things that I do not feel the freedom to do that other believers do. And so there’s not a one size fits all answer, because we’re all being individually led by the Spirit. There are some believers that they have no issues or problems watching our rated movies, other believers know that that’s just the way that their heart is set up that that’s not good for them. There are some believers who they can have alcohol in the house. And it’s not a problem. There are other believers that the Spirit is like, just for whatever reason, for me, there is a particular spiritual discipline that I have done for the last six years that I write about in the Bible study weekly. But I know that not all believers are called to do that discipline. So this idea of what are we free to do, in many ways is driven by our connection to letting the spirit lead in our lives. Does that make sense? Yeah.
Amy Carroll 21:21
Oh, so good. And you know, that is harder, but so much better than just following a set of rules to actually engage and follow the spirit
Barb Roose 21:32
very much. So one of the game changing parts of the Bible study and we’ll get to the other questions is every week there’s a spiritual breakthrough exercise. And when I looked at how I learned how to receive from God, I had to think through and go, what did that look like? Because I’m a Dewar, I’m an achiever. I’m a checklist, girl. So I had to be really intentional about how do I see where God is working. So part of learning how to let the spirit lead me was to be able to go Okay, what kinds of ways do I see God working in my life, and it’s in the Bible study, I call them lightbulb moments, butterfly moments, Rainbow moments, the busted brick wall moment of the line in the sand and the split the rock. And so each week as a woman does the study, she gets a chance to think through and go Where am I seen God working in my life, and she can attach those moments to one of those six observational tools. And when I started doing that, it reduce the pressure for me to have to start doing things to legitimize my spiritual growth, I had language to identify where God was working and where the spirit was leading.
Cheri Gregory 22:46
Wow. Oh, okay. So I cannot wait to go through those I feel drawn to having tools that don’t sound like a rigid system. So that I love. Now the next question is almost the flip side of the first question. The first question was very, very personal. This one is a little more theological. This person said, it seems like every time I turn around one woman’s sound theology is another woman’s legalism. Add the fact that at times, the Holy Spirit calls one of us to a season of stricter adherence to a particular principle for our own growth, which you just acknowledged. So given all that, how do we tell the difference between legalism and sound theology,
Barb Roose 23:22
one of the most important learning points for me in studying Galatians was seeing the consistency of who God is through the Scripture. One of the foundational parts that we miss on often as believers is that God’s promise to us began with Abraham. And so Abraham got into this covenant with Abraham. And I love reading this story. Because when God told Abraham that he would have more descendants more than the stars in the sky, Abraham was asleep at the time. So that was that covenant that God made with Abraham, the law was given there was kind of this handoff to the law. And so the law was this system of being able to demonstrate God’s holiness in his character. And then the law then moved into the new covenant in Christ. And so for many believers, it does feel confusing, because the Bible does outline these principles for godly living in the context of what we go between sanctification, just like so it can be confusing. So there’s two things that I want to say the first is, is it it’s very important for us to understand God’s consistency and character from the old testament to the New Testament. That’s very helpful for our theology. The second thing is that when we look at the daily Christian life, what’s most important is to keep our eyes on our own hula hoop. Because it’s really easy for us to get swayed by somebody else’s theological interpretation when really got to saying, Don’t make this so hard, wake up, see where I’m working in your life and respond to it.
Amy Carroll 25:10
That is good. So Barb, what closing words? Do you have to motivate our friends who longed to have this breakthrough and walk in freedom in Christ? Well, I
Barb Roose 25:21
want to say first, I always love having a conversation with you. And the ladies who sent in questions, thank you. And my encouragement is, if you have ever felt like you aren’t doing enough for God, if you felt like you were a disappointment, or you’re wondering how in the world to how do I break free from feeling like I have to just keep doing more. And really, it comes back to you cannot mess up God’s love for you, that God has made his promises to you, that he is faithful to those promises, and for their spaces in your life, if you are struggling, if you are feeling like you’ve got to earn God’s blessing in favor today, I want to tell you to take a deep breath and relax Philippians 161 of my favorite verses that says and then God who began a good work in you will carry that work on to completion until Christ Jesus returns, that is a reminder to all of us that we are not going to get it right, and God is not going to give up on us and that he is going to be at work within us. So be encouraged, and keep following after God.
Cheri Gregory 26:35
You cannot mess up God’s love for you. Hmm,
Amy Carroll 26:39
well, both of us just adore Barb Roose. And I think one of the reasons that I love her so much is these sticky statements, these sayings that she has that just really do mess with you because they stay with you. She’s the best at those,
Cheri Gregory 26:56
you know, I’ve got her newest Bible study Breakthrough. And it is just chock full of these sticky statements. These either one liners or these carefully crafted sentences that are just, they’re profound. They hit you at the head level and at the heart level. And I really am looking at it. Yes, it’s a great Bible study. But it’s also like a reference book to keep going back to like, what was it Barb said, Okay, I really am trying to memorize them. But for the days that I can’t, it’s nice to go flip back and find it right there in print.
Amy Carroll 27:30
I love a great visual so but also I was thinking about Barb’s Bible studies, you know, Cheri, both you and I have written what the industry calls trade books that we write their Christian nonfiction. And so we did have Bible teaching in our books, but they’re not really Bible studies. They’re lots of stories, lots of examples, those kinds of things. But you know, one of the things in my own Christian growth is that time and time again, I have to put down the trade book and go to a true Bible study. And this this study that Barb is just told us all about is a true Bible study on the book of Galatians. We need to do that on a regular basis to make sure that our plumb line is straight. So true.
Cheri Gregory 28:15
Well friends, We sure hope you’ve enjoyed listening to Episode 229 of Grit ‘n’ Grace—THE PODCAST as much as we’ve enjoyed making it for you.
Amy Carroll 28:24
And we want to say a big thank you to Barb Roose, author of Breakthrough: Finding Freedom in Christ and her publisher Abingdon Press for making this episode possible. Check out our web page at https://gritngracethepodcast.com/episode229. There, you’ll find this week’s transcript, a link to order Breakthrough: Finding Freedom in Christ, and a link to Barb’s website, which has some great resources related to her book.
Cheri Gregory 28:49
So we got an email from a listener A while ago, and I just loved it so much, literally, her subject line of her email said “thank you for being me.” It turns out she’s an enneagram … I can’t remember if she’s a two wing one or a one wing two, but she just identified with so much of both of us. And she ended up saying “Thank you for being a representation of how I sometimes find myself thinking and feeling and for reminding me that my personality type is God given and that I need to trust he will use me for the purpose he created me for.”
Cheri Gregory 29:22
Friends, we just love hearing from you, whether it’s by email, whether it’s in our Facebook group, and we really love these things called reviews. Yes, indeed. So we would love it if you would take a moment to leave a review of grit and grace the podcast and we’ve even made a little video showing you how you can find it at https://gritngracethepodcast.com/review
Amy Carroll 29:47
Next week we’ll be discussing what we learned from Barb Roose, author of Breakthrough: Finding Freedom in Christ and how it’s impacting our lives.
Cheri Gregory 29:55
For today, grow your grit,
Amy Carroll 29:58
embrace God’s grace.
Cheri Gregory 30:00
As God reveals the next step to live your one life well
Amy Carroll 30:04
we’ll be cheering you on. So TAKE IT!