17 May FREEDOM – What If Christians Actually Lived Like They Were Free?
Our fast-paced world is rampant with compulsive activity. Many of us compulsively pick up our phones when there’s a dull moment. Or we use coping methods we may not even realize, like shopping, eating, working, escaping, or controlling. These things may seem harmless, but if we are acting out of compulsion, we are essentially slaves to those habits.
Take a minute to think about what your heart’s desires may be. Do you grasp for control, comfort, power, approval, material possessions, social status, sex, achievement, or something else? The desires of our hearts may not be sinful in themselves, but if our actions are self-serving, they are holding us back from seeking the Lord. Paul says “‘I have the right to do anything’ —but I will not be mastered by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12)
How does Paul speak with such confidence? He knows he has the power of the Holy Spirit on his side. Don’t ever forget that you have the very same power living in you! If you have trusted in Christ, the moment you surrendered your life and will to Him was the moment you were set free from slavery to your desires, habits, and sin. Acts 13:39 says “Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin.”
YOU ARE ALREADY FREE!
Take off that orange jumpsuit, run out of that jail cell – if you have Christ living in you, YOU are free! “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1) Christ did the work to set us free, but this verse says we carry some responsibility too. It takes action and perseverance to overcome those old ways of coping.
Can you imagine a prisoner staying in a jail cell after the warden has unlocked the door? That’s exactly what we’re doing when we keep allowing our desires to dictate our actions after we’ve been set free. We’re labeling ourselves as Christians, but our lives don’t look much different than the rest of the world’s. We are still plagued by anxiety, grasping for control, seeking approval, working for the weekend, and hiding secret sin, while the outside world looks at us with wonder. They wonder why they should believe in a God Whose followers appear to be just as lost as the rest of the world.
What would it look like to master your pet sins instead of allowing them to master you? Start with prayer. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17) Ask the Holy Spirit to act powerfully in your heart as you face your struggles head-on. Maybe it’s taking a break from your phone one day out of the week, finding a verse to quote out loud when you feel like lashing out in anger, or asking a friend if they will hold you accountable to stick to your budget. Sin is not ranked on a scale from bad to worse, so don’t treat it like it is. Be relentless as you root out any little thing that pulls your heart away from God.
Freedom is found when His desires replace your own. Those old compulsions will lose their grip on you, and His power will become evident, as you are free to love others more than yourself. When you take His hand and courageously step out of your old, familiar jail cell, the onlooking world will look at you with wonder. But this time, they will be in awe of the freeing power of your great God.
Things to think about:
- What are some of my heart’s desires?
- How do I behave when I’m grasping at those desires?
- Which Christ-following friend can I confess these struggles to, and ask for accountability?