Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sweet Freedom!


"Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.  But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”  Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. " - Galatians 4:3-8

There remains to this day a great misconception that to be a Christian takes away all your freedom to do as you please.  You can't do this - you can't do that!  But that just isn't the full truth!  The full truth is that the desires of a true Christian are not the same as they once were.  The change begins with a new heart.
In Ezekiel 36:26-27 God speaks of that new heart and says, " I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them."  The new heart will hold His Spirit, which leads you, and will CAUSE your life to change.  Becoming a Christian releases you from bondage, being chained to a desire to sin, which comes with a feeling of shame and guilt. 

Jesus came to release us from that slavery, to allow us freedom.  But the thing is, you'll never realize how precious that freedom is while still a slave.  A man who has been in prison his entire life knows no other way to live.  He gets used to the routine of waking with the crowd, pursuing time, eating his meals without choice of what he eats, living with the anxiety and fear of those that surround him.  He doesn't miss freedom because he doesn't know what freedom is.  Paul says he is "under the elements of the world" - UNDER - controlled by - like a puppet on invisible strings.  Your heart, your mind, your desires, your aspirations are all controlled by sin and the things you will not give up.  James 1:14 says we sin because we have innate desires to sin.  It's in our very nature.  To remove that nature, a new nature must be given, which is the Spirit of God in the new heart.
Freedom from those desires is found in believing in Jesus and allowing him to be your Lord, your ruler.  When you receive that new heart, the Holy Spirit begins to guide you, change you, remove the past you and sanctify you.  This is the beginning of freedom - the exchange in our own desires for the desires of the One who lives within you.  In John 8:34-36 Jesus says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.  And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.  Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Ah, sweet freedom!  Believing in Christ and trusting Him with your soul means that He will change your desires, and release you from the grasp of sin.  You no longer drink to numb the pain.  You don't self-medicate to escape the stress and anxiety.  You don't seek revenge and hold grudges, but love those around you through that love He plants in you.  You don't live in fear of the future.  You don't feel the condemnation and weight of shame because He has forgiven you. 
Joy grows where freedom abounds, and His Spirit resides.  You live in bondage to sin out of your own desire to do so.  Jesus saves all who call upon His name with a repentant heart and believe He is the Son of God.  So the question you want to be free?  

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