Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Real Freedom

Recently I was pondering the word freedom. What does it really mean?  While thinking about this I began to think about how I could encourage you to walk in true freedom. Let’s look at a few principles below that will show us where and how we can know true freedom. This is just a brief overview. There’s so much more I’d like to share, just not enough space here.
Freedom is found in God’s presence
     “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  Psalm 16:11
     Whether you’re in worship at church or in your own home in prayer before God, while in his presence you can gain freedom in your life. A few minutes in the presence of God will often do more for us than any counselor or medicine could ever do. Now, I am not against counselors or medicine, just stating that God is far more powerful.
Freedom is found in obedience
     I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments. Psalm 119:45NLT
     We must make a decision that we will choose to walk in obedience to God’s ways. How can we do this?
Obey God’s Commandments – This verse shows us very clearly that freedom can be obtained when we obey God’s commandments. Sounds simply enough, eh? No, it’s not always easy.  In Galatians 5:17 it tells us that the flesh wars against the Spirit. We’re in a spiritual battle. Satan’s time is short and he doesn’t want to face eternal judgment alone. He is determined to take as many of us with him as he can.
Repent – If you haven’t obeyed recently or in the past, don’t give up. There is hope through repentance. Look at what Acts 3:19 says. “"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…” Repentance brings refreshing and newness into our lives.
 Freedom is found in forgiveness
     “31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
     I won’t spend a lot of time on this because it was covered in a previous column last year. However, I will say that forgiveness is one of the most powerful principles for freedom in our lives. If we spend our lives carrying grudges and hurts from five, ten, 20, thirty years ago; we’re only wasting our lives. Unforgiveness deeply affects us spiritually, physically and emotionally. Friend, trust me… If someone has hurt you forgive him or her. By not doing so you’re hurting yourself more than you’re hurting them.
     My next point may step on some toes. I share it not just from my own experience, but also in accordance with the Word of God.
Freedom is found in the Holy Spirit
     Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom.”  2 Corinthians 3:17NLT
     Regretfully there are many churches that are doing their own thing, setting their own agenda and putting God in a box. When a congregation refuses to allow the Holy Spirit to be in control of their services, they lack true freedom. The scripture we just read makes that very clear.  Self is one of the biggest hindrances to walking in the freedom Christ has provided for us. One preacher said; “Oh if only I could forget self.” An evangelist responded with – “You would if you were more taken up with Christ, and you would be more taken up with Christ if you were more fully in the hands of the Holy Spirit.”
Allow me to share one last point.
Freedom is found in moving forward
     Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1
     In other words, if Jesus has set you free in a particular area of your life don’t allow yourself to get in situations that will draw you back into it. If he set you free from drinking, drugs, anger, depression, homosexuality, etc. The devil will try to put you in places to bring you down. So how can you fight this? Look what James 4:7-8 says’
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
      In closing, my friend, if you’re feeling defeated and hopeless, don’t give up! Real freedom is available, but it can only be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Find a pastor or Christian friend and ask them to help you pray to give your life to the Lord. I promise you will not regret it!
   If you struggle with anything, addictions, shame, fear, anger, divorce, grief, etc.  Let me know so that I can pray for you and encourage you to pursue to freedom God has for you.