Today’s Quote: “You have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters.”-Galatians 5:13
Today’s Song: “Yours To Take”- Jimmy Needham
I hope that yesterday helped you to feel more aware and able to better put your finger on a lot of what you are fighting against in this world.
With the mindset of our culture today, even just the acknowledgement that there are very real forces of good and evil can be such a big step.
Yesterday we talked about how scripture calls Satan “the Prince of this world” because of his vast influence here.
One of the most widespread and venomous ways to recognize his deception in this world, is through the views that most people have about Christianity.
So much of what people think about Christianity is so backwards!
One widespread presumption is that it is a lifestyle of restrictions.
That there is no real fun and freedom involved.
We tend to see the externality of doing whatever the heck you want, whenever the heck you want, as freedom. The less that weighs a person down (responsibilities, stubborn viewpoints, etc) the more free they are.
But is it possible that we are mistaken?
And that what we a lot of times call freedom is actually just us being controlled by outside forces and fleshly desires, without a fight?
Because the truth is that there is something much deeper at work inside of us.
Something of morals and responsibilities, guilt and bondage.
A deeper law at work within all of us that knows that no matter how much we can do what we want on the outside- we are missing a much more real sense of freedom on the inside.
One that brings all things (our talents, how we were made, what we care about, etc) together and works them for the good.
It is Christ.
It is the freedom that only Christ can offer.
Remember, God came to save you of this world, from your flesh, and from your enemy. He wants to be your savior. Not your condemner, your savior.
There is real freedom in Christ.
And as a Christian I can tell you that the reason that I don’t do a lot of the things that people in this world do is not because I’m not allowed to (“All things are permissible for me, but not all beneficial”-1Cor 10:23)
But because I want to do things that are good for myself.
And God has given me vision to see more clearly what’s good and what’s not. It’s as simple as that.
But when we’re looking at oppression as a matter of circumstance, rather than a matter of our soul, it becomes very easy for us to blame our problems on people and situations.
I’m sure that you, like I, could fill in these blanks several times over:
__________ did ___________ to me, so I just can’t be okay.
____________ happened to me, so I can’t ____________.
Now a lot of this has to do with forgiveness and allowing God to cut those strings of blame and hurt in our lives once and for all. (which we will talk about soon).
But for today I want to start to just peel back those ideas that we have about who and what is to blame for our issues. And I pray that God will reveal to you that on a much deeper level, on a much more real level, that the wellness of your spirit parallels one thing only.
Your closeness with Him.
God is able to heal and restore all things in your life, no matter how monumentally you have been affected. Because He does it through His strength and abilities, not our own. All we have to do is seek and draw close to Him, and everything else will follow.
“Seek Ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”-Matthew 6:33
The best way that I know how show this is through an illustration.
This isn't a dazzling sketch but please take a minute to study it.
The more distant we sink from God, the more our souls will harbor the things that are dark.
The closer we live to God, the more our hearts will abound with the things that are of Him. Goodness, light, etc.
But did you notice how the pieces in the short-term section were a bit different from their long-term counterparts?
And how at a short-term kind of glance, being distant from God is probably more appealing than coming closer to Him?
This is what gets us every time!
What gets us to move away from Him, instead of closer. We are so shortsighted that we just so easily slide into being distant from God.
It’s just more appealing at first.
But while sin definitely does have it’s season of pleasure it will always eventually give way to it’s long term consequences.
On the other hand, drawing close to God does not appear to be so immediately gratifying. Because it usually requires a hard choice, or a real going against of our own will, especially when we are first starting out.
And this is where faith comes in.
Girlfriend, it takes faith for us to trust that if we give our lives to Him, that he’s going to be there to meet all of our needs. All of those areas that we’re use to handling in our own ways.
It takes some faith to do the right thing when the wrong thing is so much easier and more appealing.
Faith, girlfriend. If we’re gonna do this thing, we need faith.
Faith that He is who he says He is, and can do what He says He can do.
Do you believe that?
Oh sweet girl, if you only knew how available and just how simple God has made freedom for you! It's why He died for you!
As much as you are tempted at times to believe that closeness to God means a life of restrictions- you need to know that it is the only means to real freedom.
Without Christ, no man or woman can escape the confines of the enemy,
and the flesh.
Maybe for brief moments of time in concentrated areas- but nothing of the sort that is available to us in Christ.
God’s price on the cross was paid so that we can have freedom and eternity in Him.
“He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing his good deeds.” - Titus 2:14
Life in Christ equals freedom… “and everything else thrown in.”
Today’s Dare: Today I want you to spend a few minutes looking at that chart again, and think of an area of your life that testifies to it. Something that started off seeming innocent and fun, but that has now sunken you into a pit of ugliness, guilt and confusion.
Write about the experience of it in your journal, and when you are finished rip it out and tear it up- leaving a clean, fresh page upon which to begin writing the next part of your story.
I dare you to make the decision today to start over in that area. Ask God to help you to push through the initial “withdraw” phase where abstaining or doing things God’s way might seem lonely or unfulfilling. Ask for faith.
And don’t forget your POFU time! That’s the only thing that will make any of this a reality!