This morning, after a fresh round of hearing about people’s lives…pain from past abuse, perpetual sins, emotional issues springing from both, complacency (settling for a mediocre “life in Christ”)…and the list could go on, the Holy Spirit brought this passage to mind:
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.” Romans 12:1-4 (the whole chapter, yes, the whole BOOK are so good!)
I asked myself the “why” question: Why do we live life like this, when Jesus offers freedom? Whether it’s sin done to us, or sin we “waller” in, why don’t we get free? For some, to ever get free seems impossible. Some who were sinned against live a life-time filled with pain and the repercussions of that other persons’ sin. Our own sin can seem impossible to beat. Sometimes we’re lazy. Sometimes we get so tired fighting we give up. Sometimes we don’t even know where to start.
I no uncertain terms I have to tell you that God is not a liar.
Yes, go ahead, recoil at my statement. “Of course He’s not!” Then why do you live as though He were, in fact, a liar?
“God is not man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” Numbers 23:19
God’s Word is full of promises that He wants to set us free, He has the power to set us free, and that He died to set us free?
Now, I must make this statement: your freedom from the “stuff” in your life will be harder to achieve than you wish, but much easier than it should be. Truth be told, it’s not even possible for us to be healed of past hurts, or free from our sins, without what Jesus did on the Cross. At times our deliverance comes so easy, God seemingly “does it all.” At other times, it’s a fight. Jesus has certainly provided the way for us to get free, but our will must join His goal of getting us free. You must decide you really want this.
This will not be a complete “how to” on how to get free. There are entire books on that. This is more to ask the question, and stir you to action. For myself, and for you, I want us to get up out of “this is how it will always be” land, and begin to fight again. That said, here are a few things you can do that are proven effective in getting the stuff out of lives:
1. Tell God you want to be different. Ask Him to help you want that more than food or air. Ask Him to change your heart. Ask Him to NOT let you slip back into complacency. He will do all these things, but not if you don’t ask. He’s not going to force Himself on you! Give Him permission to get all up in your business.
2. Get prayer. Find some people you trust, and who know how to “get ahold of God” and get prayer for your issues. Not once! This is not a one time event at some spiritual retreat. Pray with them often until this stuff is out of your life for good!
3. Get accountability. Prayer partners can be accountability partners. In the case of perpetual sins, almost no one beats those/overcomes without an accountability partner. You need at least one.
4. Old and worn out: SPEND TIME WITH GOD. Don’t expect to change your mind about your sin, or get free from hurts, if you’re mostly feeding on the garbage of the world. Hurt people learn coping mechanisms. God is not into “coping” – He wants you free. So ditch those old ideas and come to an even older one: set aside a special time with God each day, and then also stay in His presence throughout each day. The Word, the Bible, “washes us.” It cleanses your mind, and resets your thoughts and emotions. The more time you spend with God (not just reading what He wrote, but hanging out with Him), the more you KNOW Him. The more you know Him, the more you trust Him; the more you know what He can do; the more you understand how He thinks. This alone is the single most important thing.
Yes, I know, people have said that for generations. Well, you can’t tinker with perfection. Go find out why people have said this for generations. Take a “fast” from TV, internet, Facebook, Twitter, your books, video games – or whatever you’re living in that has kept you from knowing God…whatever has been your coping mechanism…and put your full energy into knowing God, learning His ways, and getting set free!
If you take my challenge, you really have no idea what’s coming! But I hope you will. Revolutionary changes in your life, and joy, elation and peace like you’ve never known. Give God everything, and watch Him work.
5. Counseling. If you’re wounded, often you will need a godly counselor to help you get fully free. This does not have to cost, though paying is one option. Some of the best ones I know just love Jesus, know His Word and His ways, and are happy to help you get free…for FREE!
So, pray that prayer in #1 above, get up and get going. Lay aside the weight of sin and shame, untangle your feet from that sin which ensnares you, and “run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus”!
Take Jesus at His Word and get free!
(I pray for your full deliverance.)
——-A note to missionaries:
This blog is done primarily for missionaries, and those going into missions. Though this post could help just about anyone, I ask you to take a good hard look at your life.
Are you on the field and still living as a prisoner? Then you already know how your “stuff” has been magnified to produce more trouble in your life, lack of effectiveness in your work, at times a poor testimony for the Lord in front of the lost. So many have “lost it all” returning home in shame because of the stuff left simmering in their lives.
It’s never too late to deal with it. It’s never too late for a fresh start. Bridges may be burned with your mission or with some people, but God is NOT through with you! He’s the original recycler. He never throws anything away! He restores and makes new. You are yet very useful to Him!
New missionary/missionary in training: may my words above be very sobering to you in this phase of your life. You are not yet on the field. It’s a time of preparation. Believe me, you don’t even want to “look down the barrel of this gun”! If you think your issues are “manageable” now, while you’re home, or if you’re thinking, “I can get by” – don’t do it! Get free now. You’ll save so much trouble and regret. Go out strong.
Are the best missionaries perfect? Are the best ones free of any and all issues? No. God is your judge. His opinion of you is the only one that matters. None of us go out to serve “perfect.” But we should go out released and empowered by God’s Holy Spirit, knowing that our lives are in Christ and we can serve freely.
So, are you ready to go? You’re not perfect, but are you able to serve effectively with your imperfections? That’s a complicated issue. Ask the Lord for His guidance, talk to your pastor and other trusted leaders and run with that.
The Lamb is worthy! So very worthy!!!