I’m kicking off the study of freedom by looking at its spiritual dimension: what does it mean to be free on a soul level? No other kind of freedom is as important or influential as this one. You could be free in every other way and be miserable for eternity. What does someone gain by winning the world and losing her soul? The most significant piece of determining how spiritually free we are is recognizing what role Jesus plays in our lives. If He is one of many god options (or isn’t in the equation at all), there is no possibility of being free spiritually.
When you worship other things—relationships, wealth, popularity, past wounds, beauty, drugs, whatever—those things rule you at your core. You belong to them, and they always promise but never deliver. Jesus, on the other hand, sets you free to serve Him. Funnily enough, freedom can only be found when you become a slave to Christ. Reality shows that we all belong to someone or something. Every other master apart from Jesus is a cruel one with a single ending: destruction. But the Lord loosens our bonds and brings us out into the open air where we can breathe deep and live full.
Adding Jesus to the top of our pile of other things that we hope will satisfy us (also known as gods or idols) like the cherry on a banana split won’t set us free, either. He demands all of us, and He does so for our own good. As Kelly Minter says in No Other Gods,
“When we try to house both God and gods, we are left with half-hearted living. It is painfully ungratifying. And I believe it’s possibly one of the reasons why so many of us—including me—have been stuck. Basically, we have edged God out. We have left Him with little room in our hearts. Our false gods have taken up our most treasured spaces; we leave God no place to show Himself strong on our behalf.”
The Spirit draws, the Father calls, we respond, and then Jesus enters and cleans house. The closets of our hearts get ransacked, drawers are purged, dirty beliefs are thrown out of the window.
It’s time for a heart checkup. Take some time to really think through the following questions, allowing the Holy Spirit to gently but honestly speak into each one.
- Do you have a relationship with Jesus? (Not do you know a lot about Him, or do you think He’s neat, or do you go to church. Do you personally know one another? Have you given your heart and life over to His control?) If not, please contact me—I would love to step you through that.
- Have you let anything creep into your life that you are desperately clinging to besides God? (It doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It could be good, but if you’ve learned to depend on it for your personal identity and security, it’s been turned into an idol.)
- Is there anything God wants you to give up in order to live a freer, fuller life with Him? (Idols, sin, thoughts, hurt, whatever?)
- Is there anything God wants you to start doing in order to live a freer, fuller life with Him? (Be discipled, get counseling, plug into a Bible study, whatever?)
- If Jesus were to sit down with you right now and give you a talk about your relationship with Him, how do you think it would go? (Remember—He is full of grace, so He wouldn’t be condemning, but He’s full of truth, too, so He wouldn’t let you off the hook when things need to change for you to be healthy.)
Galatians 5:1 says, “Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.”
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