The Path of Freedom

The Bible says: “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”(II Corinthians 3:17)

It also states, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how say you, You shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever commits sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abides not in the house for ever: but the Son abides ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”(Matthew 8:32-36)

So let it be known that the Bible, in no uncertain terms, tells us that the children of God are free, while the children of this world are in bondage; they are slaves. It matters not what race or gender or ethnic origin, whether young or old, rich or poor, if you do not know Jesus, you are a slave!

Someone made the point one day, as we were discussing certain things about Christianity, “God doesn’t want us to be robots. That’s why He gave us a choice.” That statement is true, and it is a valid point, and I hold this person in very high regard.

The very reason that God did give us a choice is that He does not want us to be machines that love Him because we have no choice but to love Him; He wants us to love Him willingly. But in the thinking of many, they get the connotation backwards. In fact, most of this world and for all time looks at the situation backwards.

All throughout my life I have heard and gotten the sense from the attitudes of people the idea that if you are a Christian you are a slave to God. They feel that if you become Christian, you will have a boring, never-smiling, never-having-any-fun kind of life, and that you will never get to do anything that you want in life; you’ll never get to experience the things in life that you want to experience; you’ll live a wasted existence. Nothing could be further from the truth, and those are just some of Satan’s many lies that have kept untold millions from being saved.

First, it should be understood that God and religion are two different things altogether. In fact religion is the opposite of God. Religion is the keeping of laws, rules, regiments, formulas, methods, etc., with the understanding that one will make oneself better in some way by doing so. Christianity can be summed up in these two laws: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. And “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.(Mat. 22:37&39) And it could be further summed up by saying that the difference between religion and Christianity is Love.

Most of the religious world and even most of what calls itself Christian fails to separate the two—religion and Christianity. They believe that the way to love God and others is to keep rules and laws. That will never work. That is the opposite of love. Now you are a robot; because you are trying to love God and others out of obligation. In other words, you are trying to force yourself to love God and others, and whether you realize it or not, you are doing it for selfish reasons. You are bringing your good works to God and man and expecting something in return. And let it be said, if you do for others expecting something in return, that is not love; it is a business proposal. You-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours kind of thinking.

Love is the first of the fruits of the Spirit as Paul outlines them in Galatians(Gal. 5:22&23). And the truth is that sinful humanity is incapable of true love, no matter what one might claim. The only way that true love can even be a part of us is for the Holy Spirit to develop that fruit within us, and He will only do that based on our faith in Christ and His sacrifice. The Holy Spirit is ever trying to mold us in the image of Christ; to make us more like Him, and Jesus is Love. And so the Holy Spirit is not trying to make love something that we do; rather He is attempting to make love what we are.

The second thing that should be understood is this: if you do not know Jesus as your savior, you are living a wasted life. I know that may sound like a harsh statement, but it is the truth. Everything that we do in this life that is not done for God will one day be lost forever. It will not belong to us anymore, and in fact it will not even exist anymore. That means all that you work to build and own and love in this life will one day be gone forever. Every experience that you have ever had will be no more, and because if you end up in hell for all of eternity, all that you have ever done and experienced in this world will no longer matter to you. The only thing that will matter is the never ending torment.

I am being blunt, but I mean to be. Stop living your life for nothing! The people of this world settle for nothing when they could have everything; they settle for death when they could have life; and they will one day settle for eternal hell when they could have eternal glory. That should put it into perspective, but let me reiterate … if you are not living this life according to the will of God for you, then you are a slave to Satan, a slave to sin and a slave to death, and one day there will be no more chance at changing that direction.

As for Christians, I know how confusing this Christian life can be. I know what it is to pray and to try to live a good Christian life, only to find that it seems like God is not helping me at all. He seems to do things for others; He seems to answer the prayers of other; others seem to be living a joyful, peaceful, Christian life, while I am praying and trying with everything in me, and God doesn’t seem to be doing anything for me. Why?

The answer to that question is simple to understand but not so simple to believe. The Lord has told me over and over again, the problem is not with God or His will, the problem was always me. In one way or another, if God doesn’t seem to be helping us or answering our prayers, the fault is never with God, and so the fault must ultimately be with us. And I don’t mean for that to sound condemning, but if we will just stop and think about it for a moment; all who ever came to Jesus for healing in the gospels were healed. When the leper came to Jesus and made the statement, “Lord if you will, you can make me whole.” Jesus’ answer to that was “I will; be thou whole.” That leper knew that Jesus had the power to heal him; he just wasn’t sure that Jesus would be willing to. But Jesus settled the question for him and for all of us. He is willing! Jesus never had any difficulty performing miracles for anyone, and He never turned anyone away. God is able to do anything, and so if for some reason He is not doing something for us, it is not because He is incapable, and it is not because He is unwilling; it is simply because we are not coming to Him in the right way. It is because we are not going where He wants us to go, and we are not doing what He wants us to do.

And please try to remember: God does not need us for anything. In fact, He doesn’t need anyone. He is all sufficient within Himself. And so the very reason that God has a will, a calling and a purpose laid out for each one of us is not for His benefit, but it is for our benefit. He has given us a place in His Kingdom; because we would be doomed otherwise. Jesus came and died on Calvary for us—not for Himself. He did not need us; we needed Him.
So God is not in a position of needing us to do something and thereby obligated to give us His blessing. We, however, are in a position that if we do not obey the will of God, we are doomed, but if we do obey His will, and go where He wants us to go, and do what He wants us to do, His blessings will come automatically to us; because His word promises, and because He will always bless a right direction.
God does not owe us anything. He has already given His all for us. We owe Him our lives; we owe Him everything.

All too often, the problem is that we think we are trusting in God, when truthfully we are trusting in ourselves and trying to force God into our plans. We set out to figure out what we are supposed to do with our lives, and we set out to try to figure out what we want to be in life, and then we expect God to help us be what we want to be; instead of being what He has intended for us to be from before we were even born. And as I have stated in other posts: if you get on the path that God has laid out for you; if you start living the life that God has created you to live; then you will find that this life begins to become easier and easier, and blessing seems to not only come to you, but it overtakes you, it outruns you, and it becomes a blessing poured out that you will not be able to receive for the abundance of it. It will spill out onto other people around you, to such an extent that you will literally become the blessing.

And I maintain that sometimes the best thing for us to do as Christians is to just stand still and wait for God to take us to the right place in life. I know that that statement goes against nearly everything we have ever been taught by this world. The world teaches that if you want to get anywhere in life, you’ve got to work hard and apply yourself and believe in yourself. But the Bible teaches just the opposite. “If you would be my disciple, you must deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow me.” “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” “Be still and know that I am God.” “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” And scores of other passages.

You can spend the next several decades of your life, bouncing from one thing to another, trying to figure out what your destiny is, only to find that you have wasted so much time doing nothing that will last into eternity, or you can just simply ask God and seek His will and follow the destiny that He has for you. And I promise you that you will not be a robot or a machine or a computer or a slave, but you will be truly free.
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”(Matthew 8:36)

God will never help us to go in a wrong direction, and so quite often His help comes to us in the form of Him trying to get us to turn around and go in the right direction. When God wrestled with Jacob, the scripture says that the Lord could not prevail against him. Obviously, the Lord could have destroyed Jacob in an instant, but He was not trying to destroy Jacob; He was trying to help him. Jacob’s problem was that he was trying anything and everything to make the promises of God come to fruition in his life, when all along he was fighting against the very help that God was trying to give him. He was trying to do it, rather trusting God to do it. And God had to wound Jacob in the flesh in order that the power of the flesh might be broken.(Gen. 32:24-30)

In this we see Jesus, for He was wounded at Calvary’s cross, once for all, “that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Rom. 6:6, 8:1&2) The flesh had to be broken in order that we may truly walk after the Spirit unto life, and this Jesus settled once for all of us when the Father wounded Him in our stead.

 

Then at the last, Jacob clung to the Lord and declared: “I will not let you go, except you bless me.” At that moment, Jacob understands that God is the only one who can bless Him, and He is determined to hang on to God until he gets that blessing. And this is the reason for the difficulty in God blessing us and answering our prayers. God is able, and God is willing, but we don’t seem to realize that we are wrestling with God and literally standing in the way of Him blessing us. We are trying with everything in us to find and make and create our own blessing; instead of trusting God to give us that blessing, which is in fact the only way we can ever get it.

The problem most often is that we think we are doing what is right, but we are not doing what His will is for us. We are on the wrong road in our lives, and we need to get on the right road if God is ever to bless us. And He wants so much to bless us, but He cannot bless us; because we are fighting Him every step of the way.

Stop trying to figure out what the right place is for you in life(as the song says, “trying to find my place in this world”), and start asking God what His place is for you in His Kingdom. And in fact, ask Him to take you to where you need to be and to where He wants you to be. Stop trying to live your life the way you think is right, and start living your life the way God says to live it, and then He will bless you automatically; because then you will be on the right road.

He will answer your prayers, and He will help you, if you get on the road that leads to life. He will not help you to go down the road of destruction. He would be cruel if He did.