“It is for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”Galatians 5:1, NASB
The more we draw near to God, the more He draws near to us. When God abides in us, His light exposes all the hidden areas of our hearts and minds, expels all darkness, and we are laid bare before Him. This can be quite uncomfortable, but if we allow Him to walk us through the chambers of our heart, He will bring us to a place of freedom we’ve never thought possible.
To a person on the verge of accepting Christ, it can be daunting to think about all the things that need fixing. It can feel overwhelming and be a bit frightening; what if I mess up? What if I’m not good enough? What if I can’t do it? But, it is important to count the cost. There will be things God will require upon accepting His gift of salvation, but He will provide the strength to overcome through His Son. All we have to do is surrender to His will and He will help us to become all that He has planned. We can’t do it on our own. We would never be good enough, and we will mess up. But, if we surrender to Him and truly invite Him to live in and take over our heart, we will overcome. Surrender is key.
Even for a seasoned Christian, surrender is tough. It should be easy in light of all God has done for us through His Son on the cross, but our will is constantly at odds with His. We can want desperately to hold on to anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, our past pains, old habits, and patterns we’ve developed over the years. We have to decide daily to die to those things, putting away all those former ways to move forward with God. He will not force us; we must surrender of our own accord.
Believe me, there are some hurts that I have loved holding on to. I have loved being bitter and hateful, even vengeful toward those who have hurt me in the past. There are sins and habits I have loved entertaining. But all of this isn’t real “love,” I realize. As I read the Word and meditate on God’s love and forgiveness for me, I can’t help but ache for my former (and even very recent) self, knowing there’s a much better way.
My past was full of slavery – chained to my sin, my pain, my victim mentality, my choices and the fallout from them, my unforgiveness and hate, bitterness and envy, pride and despair; my life was nowhere near free. But God in His wonderful patience and care for me, opened my eyes to hope and the possibility of a new and better way of living. He is carefully leading me step by step to the abundant life He came to give me as I submit to Him. It is uncomfortable, but He never overwhelms me when He brings me to a new level of obedience. As I continue in Him, I have a choice: move forward or stay put. If I choose to hold on to what He wants me to let go of, there is always consequence. The initial pain of obedience, I find, is so much less than the pain of the consequence of disobedience. And yet I still sometimes find myself being unyielding.
It’s hard sometimes to let go. It’s hard to trust that He will repay, redeem, and avenge me, even though I know He’s already done that work on the cross. What I’m realizing, though is His thoughts are truly higher than mine. His ways are better. I think I know what I want or need, but when I give it to Him, His way is always better and the outcome is always far greater than what I would have been able to bring about.
It is for freedom that He set us free. He wants only the best for us.
Are there still areas of your life you haven’t experienced freedom? Some past hurt you can’t seem to get away from? Is there some sin or habit you can’t seem to break free from? Is there any anger, hatred, desire for vengeance in your heart? We all have those things. I do not pretend to have it together, or to be totally free yet. So, let’s take a few minutes together today to ask God to help us hand those things over. It’s hard, but it will be so worth it for the freedom He can provide and the peace He can give. Let’s pray.
Father, thank You for knowing me and loving me so deeply. Thank You for the sacrifice of Your Son on the cross for me. I’m sorry I haven’t given You my whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. I so want to, but sometimes I have a hard time giving up my own will. Help me let go. Help me lay aside every weight and trade it for the life You envision for me. You know best. Forgive me for thinking I do, and for doing what I want instead of surrendering to Your perfect will. Please come into my heart and lead me into all truth. Give me a thirst for Your freedom. Set me free, Jesus. I love You, Amen.