Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.psalms 51:1
The Psalms is a great place to go and find words that sound like the cry of your heart in your anxious moments, in pain, in sickness, in the dark moments of depression, to moments of unending joy and praise; deep words that hold everything from someone who has sinned to someone seeking protection from danger, to someone giving praise to the Righteous One. But how often do we remember what it took to get past the shame, guilt, and anxiety to come to repentance and then freedom?
In the book of John chapter 6 verse 44 Jesus reminds his disciples “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them”. The elder reminds us in Hebrews chapter 4 verse 7 that “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts”. A reminder that God calls us to Jesus and if we believe, then we will be saved. There isn’t anything we do other than believe. In this belief, our faith in Jesus we are given freedom when we repent of our sins and forgive others their sins, and submit our lives to Jesus; in this we find true freedom. Not freedom by our own might, but the freedom given to us in Jesus Christ.
Those of us who have tried our hand at freedom, in our own strength, learn a hard lesson the elder, Paul speaks of in his letter to the Ephesians 6 verse 12; “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms”. By trusting in our own might, wisdom, strength (flesh) instead of the Lord we can easily be misled into committing perverse acts, even in the name of God.
I have to remind myself each day that I am no better than anyone else and can be led to doing or saying things I should not. The freedom I have been given by Jesus, with careful living allows me to see that Jesus is the key to living well. Even if I believe I’m making the right decision I’m still asking him because I know He will guide me to the right decision. The right decision to some may not be the decision that makes one look strong or smart. But the way the Lord works out the details allows me to enjoy what happens when I finally understand what happened.
Freedom is an interesting thing. While we believe we should be able to say and do what we want to at any time we want to; we should consider carefully before we do and submit it to Jesus and allow him to work out the details. Personally I can’t say I did this or that to be free of sin and anxiety and things we consider maladies. My freedom was won for me and given to me and instead of timidity and anxiety I now have a “Spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”, as testified to in 2nd Timothy 1:7 – Jesus’ love set me free in a way that allows me total freedom that has allowed me to understand that to fear the Lord and consider how my freedom effects others and how the Lord directs my path, is better than anything I can gain with the freedom and knowledge given to me.
It used to be that when I asked myself about freedom, I saw all the things I could gain if I just used my own wisdom to unlearn and relearn and do this, that, and the other. Today I know that to fear the Lord is wisdom and to shun wicked actions is best according to Job chapter 28:28 – so freedom used to live in the way of the Lord is better than freedom lived in opposition to God.
Now a free heart, a truly free hearts seeks love; to find love. No, not smooches and romance, but love that can’t die. Love that uplifts and love that convicts, love that allows the heart to run free in a way that my own freedom will not cause someone else to lose their own freedom, even those who choose to the farm over the pasture. Love that forgives, love that blesses, love that walks down the street smiling at everyone it passes. That to me is freedom. What about you, what’s your version of freedom?
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