On Christmas day I received a metal circular necklace with the words "Free Bird" engraved onto it. For some reason, despite the fact that I normally never wear jewelry, I was drawn to this necklace with these words and I began to ponder the meaning.
My first thoughts were that I didn't want to be free to sin but I wanted to become a slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. So I thought- maybe I shouldn't be saying "I want to run free and be free".. because I can't do whatever I want. If I choose to follow Christ I make myself a servant under my Masters hand. Is that freedom? Is that freedom from the law?
But as days passed, the Lord brought images to my mind of what a life of the flesh looks like and where "freedom" often leads people: to sneak out and get drunk be wild and crazy, to say whatever they are thinking at the moment which often ends up hurting many people severely, and I just saw some scary images of sin and how ugly sin really looks when it is manifested. Then I thought about how easy it is to become trapped in the cycle of sin and manipulated by the Devil. For example, with pornography or with anxiety, even with pride, the devil is constantly trying to control our minds. For he knows that "as a man thinketh in his heart so is he". So we are being controlled by the Devil- we are not free- that is His biggest lie in that he makes us think we have freedom when really we are slaves of a much meaner and deceptive Master.
Yet the opposite happens when we surrender ourselves to the Lord. We think we are choosing to follow a new Master- but that Master adopts us as His children and we are no longer slaves nor captive to manipulation. But God says now you must choose this day who you will follow. God does not ever force us, trap us, bribe us, or control us in order to get us to serve Him. He says you must choose again and again each day, who you want to serve, because I am a God of love and I want your actions to be motivated by love.
As we follow God, our heavenly Father gently shows us ways we have been held captive for so much of our lives. There are so many lies we believe that are false and those are from the Devil himself. Any thought that is not pure, that is not God glorifying, that is not positive, is not of Christ. So as we surrender to God daily, he reveals to us this way that you view yourself is wrong. He shows us what we believe and he teaches us the truth and sets us free.
It is our choice if we want to accept His freedom or not. And what does His freedom look like you might wonder? Freedom to not worry, not to stress about each thing, but he offers joy despite the craziest circumstances. Freedom to love someone who has deeply hurt you and to forgive them despite the fact that they have done some evil things. Freedom to believe the best about our brothers and sisters in Christ and freedom to believe in an identity as a son and daughter of the King. Freedom to run from sin and power to crush the Devil. Freedom to prophesy in the name of Jesus. Freedom to love in ways that change lives. Freedom to heal, freedom to perform miracles in the name of Jesus.
And you may say this is great, but I don't feel free. I feel trapped in myself, in this world, in my problems and I want to follow God and experience His joy but I don't know how.
To which my response is brothers and sisters, Satan is the deceiver and the King of all lies. Yet Christ is the one who can do the impossible and transform everything in our bodies and free us from His chains. How do we let God set us free? We choose to be ruled by a new Master. We choose to give everything we know (every fleshful way) up to God and we say "take my all" and set me free.
I love Matthew 11:28-30 where it says "Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." It is tiring to work day by day under the bonds of Satan or to strive aimlessly feeling the need to impress or to achieve. Yet the Word of God continues "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
It may seem at first that when we begin following God and experience Him asking us to give up things that He is asking a lot of us. It may seem hard, scary, overwhelming. We may say "No God don't mess with that area of my life." Yet we will come to a point where we will have to choose who we are following and it will cost everything we have. We will either deny Christ and remain slaves to ourself and our own selfish desires implanted by the Evil one or we will say "No matter what the cost God I will give you everything I have and will take your yoke upon me."
And when we do give it up, we will experience the most beautiful freedom and peace in the world knowing that we have no worries, we have no guilt, we have no problem that the Lord Almighty can not handle. We have no bondage. We have the power to think pure thoughts; we have the opportunity to arise up from victims and become love's hero's. Truly we have freedom- this day when we surrender all.
John 8:36 says "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
I hope you embrace the power of the Lord to set you free from whatever burden may be weighing you down. I hope this freedom makes you run and dance thru life with passion and purpose. That on a good day, or on a bad day, you have a Savior, you have a King, and you have a calling to go be love.