We were created to know God, to glorify Him, to find satisfaction in Him, to believe Him, to experience His peace and to enjoy His presence. We can come to a place of maturity and freedom in our lives where life is good and where we can enjoy life. Jesus came to give us abundant life (John 10:10). Follow me as we discuss some obstacles that hinder us from living the abundant life that Jesus came to give us and look at how we can get free from them in order to walk in the freedom Christ came to give us (John 8:36; Galatians 5:1).
As we see in Luke 4:18, Jesus came to set the captive free (to deliver people from spiritual bondage), to heal the brokenhearted (to provide emotional healing) and to open the eyes of the blind (to heal people spiritually and physically). He was manifested to take away our sins and that He might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3: 5, 8). God is a God of infinite grace and He wants us to walk in freedom and victory! He loves us and He is for us. He isn’t mad at us. Freedom does not come from the law, but only by God’s grace and His love for us (Ephesians 2:4-7; 1 John 4:9, 10; Romans 8:38, 39; John 15:9). Grace is the truth that Jesus Christ came to give us (John 1:17; Ephesians 3:7).
Jesus loves us and willingly laid down His life for each one of us on the cross to deliver us from the bondage of sin and to give us victory, favor, good success and abundant life. He has gone before us and is reaching out to each of us no matter what we have or haven’t done in the past. Have you received Jesus as your personal Savior? If not, you can do so right now by asking Him and begin your journey to freedom!
Your Word says that whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved. I ask You to forgive me for my sins. I repent and turn from them and turn to You. I am calling on You and ask Jesus to come into my heart and be Lord over my life. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for me. I believe in my heart that You raised Him from the dead and He is alive today. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me the Holy Spirt to live inside of me. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and Your healing power in my life. I now belong to You. Help me to live for You and obey You all the days of my life.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
Christ sets us free by the power of His Spirit and then He helps us to maintain our freedom as we learn to live day to day with Him by the power of His Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our Helper who guides us into all truth; testifies of and glorifies Jesus; brings to our remembrance what Jesus has taught; shows us of things to come; confirms that we are children of God and helps us to pray (John 14:16, 17, 26; 15:26; 16:13-15; Galatians 4:6; Romans 8:14-17, 26, 27).
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:17 (NKJV)
“This is the Word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6 (NKJV)
It is important that we realize we have been established in the righteousness of Christ once we have received Him as our Savior (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:22). A definition of righteousness is the quality of being morally right or justifiable (able to be shown right or reasonable). Being moral is concerned with right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of character. God is always righteous/right and just based on behaving according to what is morally right and fair. We have been justified or declared/made righteous (morally right; virtuous) in the sight of God by grace through faith in Christ, therefore we are completely accepted by God. We can’t do anything to make ourselves more loved or accepted by Him and nothing we do can take that away!
We must receive His righteousness as a gift paid for by Jesus’ shed blood on the cross which gives us right standing with God through Him. It is the key to overcoming sin and reigning in life and will determine how we respond to the voice of accusation from the enemy. If we don’t believe and receive it by grace through faith, it can affect our ability to receive the blessings of God we have in Christ i.e. forgiveness, healing, provision, etc.
“In righteousness, you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you.” Isaiah 54:14 (NKJV)
“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the LORD. Isaiah 54:17 (NKJV)
We should start declaring over ourselves that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus instead of being conscious of our sin and failures. Satan tries to get us to focus on changing ourselves and our behavior instead on cultivating our spiritual health and wellness in Christ. He tries to deceive us with his lies about ourselves, our destiny, and our identity. What we believe is powerful. It affects our behavior. I agree with what Joseph Prince states that right believing will lead to right living.
By getting into the Word of God, asking the Holy Spirit to bring us revelation of the Word and how to apply its truth to our lives it will produce conduct that is honoring and pleasing to God (Titus 3:5). The Word renews our minds and the Holy Spirit helps us (Romans 12:2). The Word is a lamp to our feet and it illuminates our path (Psalm 119:105). When we believe the Word, it will change our thoughts and emotions which lead to a change in our unhealthy behaviors. We need to be exposed to the truth of God’s Word! It washes and cleanses us (Ephesians 5:26). Jesus is our Good Shepherd who protects us and only leads us to good places (Psalm 23). The more we hear about how good He is and how precious we are to Him, we will begin to believe this.
The Holy Spirit who now dwells inside the believer helps us to grow from the inside out. This process is called sanctification (which means to set apart or declare holy; to consecrate). We are to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in this process. Once we are born again, we have the ability to hear His voice as He speaks to our spirit (John 10:1-3; 14, 27; 16:12, 13) and should heed His promptings by following after peace which is where He leads us into.
That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24 (NKJV)
What do we do when we find ourselves in trouble and not living right? We look to God to find the answers. He is our Deliverer! (Psalm 34:15, 17, & 19).
One of the greatest strategies Satan uses against us is to tempt us to reject God’s Word and follow after our own self-will or way. He uses deception and unbelief, so that we don’t realize we have fallen into the snare of the enemy. Anything that God asks or requires us to do is for our own good. It is His love that lets us experience consequences to our disobedience or lack of self-control to draw us back to Him and the good path and plan He has for our life. He will not force His will on us. Sometimes our paths of disobedience and out of control behavior (i.e. anxiety, panic, rage, relationship struggles, work problems and psychosomatic problems, etc.) can be a result of our not setting limits on our own behavior or possibly influence from the enemy that leads to captivity.
What does the Bible say about allowing our out of control behavior to rule us?
Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls. Proverbs 25:28 (NKJV)
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32 (NKJV)
Drs. Cloud and Townsend in their book “Boundaries” state that we need to identify the symptoms of out-of-control behavior and recognize them as our problems by asking God for insight into what areas in our life is out of control, i.e. eating, spending or how we use money, how we use our time, what we say, our sexuality or alcohol and substance abuse, etc.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God;” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. James 1:13, 14 (NKJV)
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)
Identifying the cause or roots (i.e. distorted need, unmet emotional hunger, covering emotional hurts, etc.) of these problems will help assist us in understanding where we contributed to the problem (how we have sinned), anything from our family of origin, childhood or past (where we have been sinned against) and any significant relationships that may have contributed to the problem.
It is important to take ownership or responsibility for our out-of-control behavior. When we don’t take responsibility, we suffer consequences and losses i.e. medical and social difficulties, debt and bankruptcy, loss of promotions and bonuses, loss of friendships, etc. that hopefully we will learn from. Some behavior patterns may be directly traceable to family problems, neglect, abuse, or trauma and even though they may not be our fault, they are, however our responsibility.
It is necessary to address our real need, because often these out-of-control patterns disguise themselves as the need for something else or to numb the pain we may be feeling. We need to address the underlying need before we can deal with out-of-control behavior. We need to deal with the real problem (i.e. rejection, pride, low self-worth, etc.) and not just the symptomatic problem (i.e. addictions, pleasing people, etc.).
We can’t work on these issues in isolation so admitting our need for others and connecting with others will be very important. Begin by developing safe, trusting, grace and truth relationships with others; join a church or support group (i.e. Celebrate Recovery; Alcoholics Anonymous, etc.) that focuses on these areas; and draw close to Jesus. He knows what you’re going through (Hebrews 4:15, 16; 5:8).
It’s ok to allow yourself to fail. Part of the maturing process is learning how to embrace failure instead of trying to avoid it. Getting feedback from others you trust and that care for you can help.
It is possible however, that we have allowed the enemy to have footholds and strongholds in our lives that give Satan legal grounds to influence our lives.
What are the steps we need to take to become free from these?
First, we need to know who we are in Christ and believe that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Second,we need to believe by faith that Jesus can and will set us free! Jesus came with God’s authority (Mark 1:27; John 3:35; Colossians 2:9, 10; Ephesians 1:22, 23; Matthew 28:18). He spoke the Word and worked the works of God. Jesus passed the authority the Father gave Him along to us (John 20:21; Luke 10:19; Matthew 18:18-20). He came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).
Third, we need to identify any personal hindrances to living the abundant life Jesus came to give us.
Stay tuned for next week’s blog when we will identify any personal hindrances to living the abundant life Jesus came to give us and how to get free from them!
Cloud, Townsend. (2002). Boundaries: Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.
Morris, Robert. (2015) Truly Free: Breaking the Snares that so Easily Entangle us. Nashville, Tennessee: W. Publishing Group.
Prince, Joseph. (2013). The Power of Right Believing: 7 Keys to Freedom from Fear, Guilt, & Addiction Audiobook. Hachette Audio.