As I read the biographies of amazing Christian heroes, I see something in them that is often missing in myself and in many Christians around me. I see a certain mentality. It is an attitude of freedom.
We desire to buck against legalism, knowing we are not entrapped by the law any more. Yet, we still seem to make our decisions based on doing what is right. What if we were to base our decisions on an attitude of freedom?
Let me give you an example.
My children do something that angers me incredibly. I want more than anything to lash out at them, letting them know the full extent of my frustration. That is my inclination based on emotions and what I think will get the point across to them while making me feel better.
In my head, though, I know that I am not supposed to last out at them. So, the battle rages between my heart and mind between what I want to do and what I know is right. Do I follow the rules or do I follow my desires?
Unfortunately, right doesn’t hold much power for me on so many occasions. Why? Because I know I will never be good enough. Ever. I just can’t be right all the time. It takes an energy and a power I do not possess on my own. Even if I divide my emotional desire between wanting to lash out at my children and wanting to please God with my actions, I still lack the strength to fully accomplish what I want in conjunction with what is right.
But, what if I change that whole argument around just a bit.
When I lash out at my children, I am strengthening the bonds of slavery to anger. They are bonds I could never weaken on my own, but Christ has already taken care of them for me! He not only weakened them but also completely eradicated them. So, when I give in to my anger, I am wrapping back around my ankles the shackles He permanently removed. They have no power to hold me, but I allow myself to be held by them.
When I choose to interact with my children in a peaceful manner, pointing them to the Word of God, I am not trying to do something outside my own strength. Instead, I simply live and walk in the freedom paid for by Christ’s death! Meanwhile, I also show my children how to stop reforging chains of slavery. I show them how to walk in that same freedom, the freedom they received when they accepted Christ’s sacrifice and lordship.
Do you see the difference? Suddenly I am not choosing my emotions over the impossible. Instead, I am choosing to remain free instead of returning to slavery. I am choosing to stay where I already live.
I have been a Christian for thirty years, yet I still know the bondage of slavery. I still cling to those chains in far too many areas of my life. I also know the taste of freedom in Christ. I know how it feels to walk through a crisis free of worry – even in the very moment when stress and tension are weighing down on me. I know the freedom of following the command of Philippians 4:8 instead of burying myself under the weight of lies. I have felt the incredible lightness of choosing to walk away from anger, keeping myself and my loved ones free from those unnecessary bonds. The more I taste freedom, the more I hunger to step free of the bonds Christ has already removed. They only remain on me because I choose them instead of freedom.
What difference would it make for you to choose freedom today? Not to choose to follow the rules, although walking in freedom will look very similar to following the rules. Not to battle between the right choice and your emotions, although walking in freedom will be right and will fill your heart with unimaginable joy. But to make choices simply based on remaining where you already are – free.
Will you choose freedom today?