Only you can answer that question.
So, are you?
In the early days, I answered this question with an immediate yes. As a new believer being free was what it was all about! That is what drew me to Christ in the first place, freedom from the sin and shame I’d walked in for so long.
But as time went on my immediate yes, became a partial one. It became I’m free, but…
I’m free but.. I still struggle with that one sin.
I’m free but.. shame follows me around as closely as ever. The enemy constantly taunting me, “If you confess your deepest darkest struggles to your brother’s and sister’s in Christ they’ll judge you.”
I’m free but…people pleasing.
I’m free but.. I don’t belong. Again the enemy, “Nobody else struggles like you do.” “If they knew, they’d reject you.”
You see, the enemy understood that although I knew I was free, I didn’t believe I was free. And friends, that distinction makes all the difference.
What does God’s word say about our freedom in Christ?
“For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”Galatians 5:19
“It is finished.”John 19:30
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”John 8: 32
“The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”John 8: 32-36
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”2 Corinthians 3:17
God’s word is filled with the promise of freedom to those who abide, and yet so many of us find ourselves back in the chains Jesus set us free from again and again. Why is that? How do we find lasting freedom?
Thankfully, our good good father provided us the answer to that tough question as well. We find lasting freedom when we abide in the Holy Spirit. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.” Praise the Lord! The Spirit dwells within all of God’s chosen ones. All we have to do is abide.
Abide: obey, observe, follow, keep to, hold to, conform to, adhere to, stick to, stand by, act in accordance with, uphold, heed, pay attention to, agree to/with, consent to, accede to, accept, acquiesce in, go along with, acknowledge
Abiding in the Lord is an active choice on our part. It requires that we draw near to Him and be willing to be obedient to promptings of the Holy Spirit. Whether that be to do something that makes us uncomfortable, let go of something that keeps us comfortable, or shine God’s healing light on the dark places in our hearts. But I love God’s promise to us. When we are faithful to partner with God in the work it takes to crucify our flesh so that Christ can live fully in us (Galatians 2:20), our joy will be full.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing…These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”John 15:5,11
Our joy may be full. Oh my, what a sweet promise!
Lately the Lord has been repeating this phrase to me again and again: not hope deferred, but hope restored.
He is reminding me that fullness of joy is His promise for me today, if I abide in Him, not just for when I see Him face to face one day. That truth is what has been driving my fight against the enemy and my own flesh lately. I desperately want the fullness of freedom and joy that Jesus died for me to have, not just once I get to Heaven, but today.
Our God is so so good! He longs to bring us out of the confines of our sin and shame into a spacious place.
So, now that we’ve been reminded of the truth – we are free. Let me ask you…
Do you believe you are free?
I want to leave you with a picture the Lord gave me the other day. I believe this picture was for me, but also for each of you reading, and for every woman out there who is doing their best to live their life for the Lord but feels more beat down than free.
The enemy wants us to believe that God is shaking a disappointed finger at us, but that is not who our Father is.
He is kind, loving, filled with grace and mercy, tender towards His children, and he is inviting us to walk (or dance!) through this life with Him. He is promising to guide us, be near to us, never leave us. He is asking us to take His hand and follow His lead, promising fullness of joy.
This is the picture He gave me for us-
It was of Him in a room full of women who loved Him and who He loved, but the women’s eyes were downcast for one reason or another. He was walking around to each of them individually, stopping and taking each of their faces in His hands. “There is nothing about you that offends me.”
Forehead to forehead, he spoke, “I love you.”
Eye to eye, “I delight in you.”
Stroking her hair, he comforted, “All of the weight you are carrying, the burden to perform, it is not from me.”
A gentle brush of her cheek, “Lay it down, my child.”
A kiss on the forehead, “It was bought and paid for by my blood.”
A smile, and an outstretched hand inviting her to stand, and dance with Him, “My beloved, you are free, and you are loved.”
With tear stained cheeks, and a hesitant smile, she took His hand, and He pulled her to her feet and into true freedom.
“Let’s dance.” He said.