In a prayer meeting one night, God impressed a question in my heart. “Why are you praying like you’re living in sin? Like you’re unrighteous? I am faithful to forgive your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. You have been forgiven, but you live on the sidelines like you’re not allowed to enter the game. Walk into your freedom because it is yours.”
And what happened next was the most powerful move of the Holy Spirit I’ve ever experienced in my life.
There was something about the freedom of God that I didn’t understand until that night.
The freedom of God is not dependent on a pattern of good behavior.
My head knows that when God forgives, He forgives completely, but even after I’ve asked for His forgiveness, I was acting like I was still on God’s bad side. Not that He has a bad side, but I felt like I wasn’t on good terms with Him, like I hurt Him and I had to make it up to Him somehow.
I wasn’t living in His freedom. I harbored the feelings of guilt and not-good-enough until I’ve had a few good days. Until I’ve proven to God and myself that I was living in righteousness, I didn’t allow myself to enjoy my relationship with God, didn’t believe I can have His promises, and didn’t worship Him from the deepest honesty of my being.
Because I didn’t think I deserved to. I punished myself by withholding the freedom I already have from myself.
Do you ever set rewards and goals for yourself?
I have a gamer side, and when the Sims 3 came out, I wanted it so badly. But I was in the middle of a lot of responsibilities and knew that if I bought the game, I would enter the gamer haze – this cloud where nothing exists but me and the game. So I set goals for the things I needed to get done, and when I finished all of them, I bought the game as a reward.
The freedom of God is not a reward for good behavior. It is a by-product of salvation. (Tweet that!)
It’s ours and we get to live in it as children of God. And in His freedom, we get to enjoy a powerful relationship with Him. We get His promises and blessings.
We don’t need to first establish a pattern of good behavior or have a series of good days in order to live in the freedom of God. We also don’t need to withhold it from ourselves because we messed up.
Have you heard about cheat days? Some people who diet and exercise or athletes with strict regimens would have cheat days, one day when they don’t have to restrict their diet. It’s a day when they can eat carbs or sugary sweets. If, however, they messed up in the week by not sticking with their diet or exercise or regimen, they lose the cheat day.
We don’t lose the freedom of God because we mess up. It is in our messes that we need the freedom of God so we can run back into His arms. It is in our darkest moments that we need to live in God’s freedom, to find our way out of the lies that we’re still guilty, unforgivable, or too messed up.
I think it’s the shame of what I did that stops me from living in the freedom of God. That stops me from running back into His arms. I would rather run back to God with a peace offering. Instead of a lamb without blemish, it’s a week without blemish.
By living that way, however, I was undermining the sacrifice of Jesus. As if I was saying that His sacrifice was not enough. Jesus’ death on the cross was all the offering God needs to save us. It’s a one-for-all type of offering. Jesus covered everything. His sacrifice was enough to give us a way to the Father. It was enough to buy our freedom.
Easter is coming up soon. I challenge you to walk into your freedom. It’s been yours this entire time. Let go of the guilt and the shame. Stop trying to come up with a peace offering. You don’t need it. Just run to God. Run into His arms. You are free to do so.
PS. Freedom also happens to be my one word for 2015!