Most unbelievers think that God does not want us to be free because He gives us rules to live by. I’m starting a short series about Freedom in Christianity because I want to challenge that idea.
The right to freedom used to be one of my arguments for living a life of sin.
“God loves me either way. God is so big that He doesn’t restrict us with rules because He gave us an internal moral compass. Haven’t you heard of empathy? It’s what makes us relate to others, you know, the golden rule. As long as I’m not hurting anyone or stealing, then it’s not wrong.”
These assumptions are biased because they excuse us from reflecting on our behavior. They also entitle us to create our own version of morality. Pretending the world revolves around us is fun but it’s time to come down from that high horse.
“Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
Earlier this year, I went to counseling because I needed help getting grades excused. The grades were never excused but I did learn that I have a depressive tendency. My counselor gave me a few solutions; here’s a simple one…
When your anxious/depressive thoughts begin to arise, think of 5×5 positive things:
- 5 happy places
- 5 people who love you
- 5 favorite things to do
- 5 good qualities about yourself
- 5 moments of achievement
My immediate thought was:
“Well if I’m depressed, how the #%@! am I supposed to think of good things?”
Look at me being a smart aleck. She was giving me a way to regain control over my thoughts because they were wrong–they were hurting me by preventing me from living. She was showing me how to exercise power over my mind by changing the thought. Then showing me how to heal my mind by replacing the negative thought with 25 positive thoughts.
I didn’t understand at first. My response was proof of my enslavement: I believed that my depression had more power than I did. But when I realized that I am FREE to think positively, I began changing my thoughts and healing wounds.
If we never look at God’s point of view, we will never know where to apply revision in our lives.
And that’s how we truly become free, by revising, by understanding the consequences of our choices and improving our decision making skills. In a psychological perspective, we free ourselves from thought disorders by confessing our problem habits. Then we maintain this peace by replacing the negative with the positive. It’s change.
Spiritually, the only way to do this is to ask for forgiveness and repent. Confess your sin and turn from it.
Repent | re•pent | verb
1: to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life
“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,
but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
To clarify: By doing wrong and hiding, you will not prosper. By admitting and changing, you find mercy. God gave us free will, it is up to you!
God still loves us through our weak moments… He loves you, He loves me. That’s why he forever gives us mercy. It’s our choice whether to accept it.
His love is so great that He presents us with the opportunity to start fresh and do better. Just like my psychologist did with me.
But God does have rules, just like I had 25 things to mentally search for. Without her instruction, my mind would lead me into suffering. Without God’s directions, we live in chaos.
Chaos becomes stressful when our lives have no structure, routine, or balance. Tired of not being able to find that thing you’re looking for every time you need it? Tired of skipping breakfast because you’re late every morning? We crave order and routine when we have to confront the inconveniences of disorganization.
This is why order matters. Can you think of moments in your life when you desperately craved order? It’s that inner urge to make a to-do list and cross everything off by nightfall.
That’s how God works. He is the inner instructor helping us get our lives together. He gives us order so we can find success, we need it!
Just as most people don’t skip laundry because they want to be messy, most people don’t sin because they want to be sinners. It happens because giving into that dark voice is easier than claiming your authority against it (e.g. it was easier to let my depression consume me than draw up 25 new thoughts).
It’s like eating one cookie, then a second, and a third and then the whole box. Now, you’re sick. Comfort zones can become chaos when you don’t think about the consequence. It’s easy to admit that you lost something in the mess you made but it’s not so easy admitting that your major life pains are the result of your own actions. That lack of responsibility means you are not your own master.
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”
Still feel free in your sin?
You might say, “I’m not sinning because I’m not hurting anyone.”
Sin hurts God because it separates you from Him. Therefore, sin hurts you and those people around you. A lack of spiritual discipline creates a divide between you and the Person who wants to save you. Being distant from God means being distant from protection and close to danger, close to downfall.
“There is a way that appears to be right,
but in the end it leads to death.”
Realistic Examples of How Sin Hurts:
1. White lies: corrupt your sense of integrity, make you an untrustworthy person, lead you to live in falsities
◊ When one lie becomes compulsory lies, relationships are ruined (double lives).
2. Intoxication (alcohol/drugs): weakens your sense of reality, damages your physical body, takes time and energy away from purposeful things
◊ When one drink becomes five years of alcoholism, lives are literally at stake (liver damage or drunk driving).
3. Premarital sex: removes your need for commitment, drains you of spiritual energy, tempts you out of lust rather than love
◊ When one sexual partner becomes multiple, you’re at risk–if not physically, than psychologically (disease or low self-esteem).
Just like the cookies, sin starts off as a choice and tumbles into an uncontrollable habit or lifestyle. This enslavement becomes so strong that it usurps your thinking mind and you become blind to the fact that you’re hurting yourself.
Ignoring the little angel on your shoulder starves its voice. The other shoulder’s little devil becomes louder and louder, so loud that its voice will start to sound like your own. When we’ve thrown out the real moral compass, God’s Word, the directions we take lead into us into our own demise. We are in darkness without God, and you can’t see where the voice comes from when the lights are off.
1 Corinthians 15:56
“The sting of death is sin…”
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
By choosing sin, you are giving up your power and distancing yourself from your divine purpose. A purpose that can only be revealed through a relationship with God.
I don’t say this to condemn anybody. I had my battle with insobriety plus I’m single and pregnant! I’m saying these things because I can relate and because there is good news. Amazing news. I’ve found life through Christ and want to share it! I have no more shame, depression has no power in my life and my old ways have no hold on me.
When we repent, God forgets all of our wrongdoings and renews us. The light is turned on! We can now follow His perfect path for us by hearing AND seeing Him speak to us.
The Holy Spirit will lead you to change in the ways that are specific to you. You won’t be attracted to your old habits anymore. He will remove your desires for alcohol and sex. The chains of slavery will be broken. You will be satisfied with just one cookie. That’s freedom.
“And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.”
Romans 6:22 (MSG)
“But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way!”
Next, comes transformation. You’ll see ~