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Freedom

By Michael Lane, Executive Director, Delve Christian Ministries
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"Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls." - Matthew 11:29

"All of my
ambitions, hopes and plans,
I surrender these
into your hands.
For it's only in
your will that I am free"


-Robin Mark, All For Jesus

In the last devotional, we touched briefly on the idea that we are prisoners whom Jesus has come to set free. In this devotional, I'd like to expand on that idea and explore what it really means to be free.

I wondered briefly if we could call freedom the absence of all responsibility, conflict or suffering. I think that's close, but I imagine that a life with no conflict of any kind would be shallow and insignificant and would prohibit any kind of spiritual development. Freedom has more to do with an absence of unfulfilled desires; never having something we want yet which for whatever reason, is always beyond our grasp. I believe this is what William Wallace meant by "freedom" in the movie Braveheart. The liberation of Scotland was his unfulfilled desire, and each cry of "freedom" reminded all his men what they were fighting and dying for.

Wallace's pursuit of freedom was noble, but most of us are consumed with less righteous desires for pleasure and enjoyment, fame and fortune or status and recognition. Oh, how these unfulfilled desires cause us no end of anxiety! How will we ever find the money for that vacation? I don't want to do this assignment, but I'll fail if I don't! When will they notice me at work and promote me? What can I do to make her love me? I want to have an affair with that co-worker, but I'll lose my family!

This tension robs us of so much peace and joy. One of the great lies of our age is that peace comes from fulfilling each and every desire at any cost, for we suppose that eventually we will fulfill that final desire and achieve the elusive freedom we so long for. People chase satisfaction with such single-mindedness that they don't seem to notice that every satisfied desire provides only temporary relief, for it is immediately followed by another longing which demands our attention. The net effect is that our lives seem to spin out of control as we try to make sense of all the directions in which we're being pushed and pulled, trying to resolve our responsibilities to our jobs and families while also keeping ourselves entertained and contented. Christians are by no means automatically exempt from this, and it can leave us wondering, "Where is the peace which Christ promised?"

The truth is that peace comes from eliminating our desires, not chasing after them. I'm not talking about asceticism or temperance. True freedom comes not from suppressing desires, but by being liberated from them.

What if we could pursue one single, unambiguous desire which would forever quench all others? Let me paraphrase what Jesus is trying to tell us about peace and freedom:

"You're trapped in a prison of unfulfilled desires. You think you can just work harder and harder and that will fulfill more of your cravings until finally you will be free. But that's a trap! You will never find peace that way, only a bottomless pit of worry and disappointment. You think to yourself 'I've got this under control' but you know that's a lie. Let me make you a deal. Surrender yourself to me completely. Stop worrying about everything in your life that you cannot control and simply focus on me. Put me above all else in your life. I will take care of you. I won't promise that you will not have suffering or pain, but I will promise that you will never have to worry about anything ever again because I will be in control. You can trust in my love for you and my ability to care for you. If you will do that, you will have greater peace than you have ever known. But, you have to let me be in control - you have to let it all go and stop chasing after anything but me."


Can it be that we find freedom by giving control to another? Yes, absolutely! Can we be free when our only desire is to submit to the will of another? Certainly! William Wallace did not want anarchy, nor were his unfulfilled desires about maintaining control for himself. His desire was for wise, benevolent rulers over Scotland whom he could trust and follow. Freedom is not about being in control, it's about no longer having to struggle every day to satisfy our desires. The ultimate freedom comes from the knowledge that our desires will be fulfilled by a God who is in control.

Therein lay the peace and freedom which Christ promises, but we have to take it for ourselves. We have to decide to lay down all other desires and take upon ourselves a single desire, which is an intimate relationship with Jesus. We must surrender to Him in every way, and we must do it daily. By doing this, all other desires disappear except the one which never disappoints, and that is when we become truly free.
 

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Comments


Awsome message!
Thank you!
6/28/2008 12:57:08 AM - Ignited~Faith, Member of Delve into Jesus since 2/20/2008


After reading this devotional ,I had peace in me . I have been worrying about many things in my life.I now know I have to cast all my cares on Jesus and let him have control of my life.
6/28/2008 7:01:21 PM - anonymous


I heard a speaker once say he followed a "three thought rule". It was fine to think about some matter that was of concern once or even twice. But if he thought about it a third time, that was a sure sign he had something that he hadn't turned over to God. He was trying to control it and not allowing God to be in control.
6/30/2008 4:13:36 PM - anonymous


Whom the Lord sets free is free indeed
Calvin
7/3/2008 10:42:02 AM - anonymous


When you always had to be responsible in your childhood it is very hard to let go and let God. You pray and pray and things get worse, sometime He has to remove things (people, husbands) from your life in order that His purpose may be fulfilled.
Pray for me. Elaine
7/3/2008 1:11:38 PM - anonymous


Elaine,
I am praying for you now...

7/3/2008 3:21:45 PM - Ignited~Faith, Member of Delve into Jesus since 2/20/2008


I had a friend once tell me about a car accident she was in with her family.
They were going on Vacation, and had not been driving that long really.
They stopped for lunch at McDonalds. On the road again, she decided to nurse the baby in the back. (Other kids were in the other seats.)
Husband fell asleep at the wheel. They went through a path in the trees, down down down they flew into the River. (They landed on a shallow spot!)
They were able to get everyone out alive. (They had a hard time finding the baby, he was thrown and landed up between the front seats.) Witnesses said; "It was as if Angels carrried the Van through the trees and set it down in the River!"
Later they found out that just a few weeks ago, another family had an accident in the same spot, their car ripped through the trees (which was now my friends clear path) and their car sadly ended up in the deep part of the River, and sank, and I believe she said the family was killed.
My Friend said that while her "dish size bruises" were healing,
she thought about her life. She always thought that she was a
"good person" and in total control of her life...
The accident was an eye opener. She realized that she actually was
Not Ever in control of anything. Only God is.
7/3/2008 3:40:18 PM - Ignited~Faith, Member of Delve into Jesus since 2/20/2008


Bad things happens to good people too.I do not know why.
I do know this ,trust in Christ Jesus all the times any trial you will go through,He will direct you path.
Jesus is sure insurance that He will be there, all you who call on him. He did for me.
Remember, This too shall pass.
His Love never fails.
7/4/2008 11:53:35 AM - anonymous


What a blessing! I choose to read this devotion because of today-JULY 4th - America's Day of Independence. So many times, I worry because of our country has turned from God. It is nice, as always, to be reminded that he is still in control.
7/4/2008 11:33:38 PM - anonymous


Thank you so much! This is what I needed desperately in my life. I always worry and try to figure out how to do things...I am going to let go and let God!
7/9/2008 5:38:02 PM - anonymous


BRAVEHEART IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES BECAUSE OF THE SACRIFICIAL LOVE FOR FREEDOM AND JUSTICE. WHEN I PUT MY TRUST IN JESUS MY INSITE FOR LIVING BECOMES CLEAR, "FOR ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST AND TO DIE IS GAIN" (PHIL. 1:21). WHEN WE ENDURE FIREY TRIALS THAT PROVE OUR FAITH THE REWARD IS GREATER THAN OUR TEMPORAL STATE OF AFFAIRS. WE MUST REMEMBER THAT GOD'S PROMISES NEVER FAIL AND THAT JESUS WILL NEVER LEAVE US OR FORSAKE US. FREEDOM IS NEVER FREE. REMEMBER THE CROSS AND GOD'S GREAT LOVE FOR YOU. THE BRIDGE THAT JOINS HOPE AND FAITH IS GOD'S PROMISES. "NOW FAITH IS BEING SURE OF WHAT WE HOPE FOR AND CERTAIN OF WHAT WE DO NOT SEE" (HEB. 11:1). REMEMBER "GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME." ;>) DR.
7/10/2008 1:51:20 PM - Drxovr, Member of Delve into Jesus since 5/28/2008


thank u so much
7/19/2008 6:01:57 AM - anonymous


I need prayers, as I want to listen to God tell me what he wants me to do. I have so much education and skills but feel like I lack ability. I led a sinful life and now want to change myself for God. The quote by R. Marks really strikes me in the heart and I just want to hear my father speak and guide me.
7/21/2008 11:02:30 AM - anonymous


i defiately agree with that message ive just started doing that recently myself before i read this and i can say that it truly does work since i have been doing this i have indeed felt mutch more at peace and so mutch more free and want to encourage others through my testimony that this devotion is right on point and to anyone reading this comment whos read this devotion definatly try it out and i can promise you that if you do it, it will work and you wont be let down and you will definatly feel more free and at peace
7/28/2008 1:49:08 PM - anonymous


It really is amazing how much of a sense of humor God has. If you want to live in Christ, die to yourself. If you want to be first, put yourself last. If you want to be free... surrender everything.
This is exactly what I know I've needed to hear, and I'm sure I've heard it already in one form or another, but each time I have pushed the message away. I even read almost the exact same message about chasing desires in a prologue to C.S. Lewis's IAbolition of Man/I. I know that my nature is to want to be in control... I've even been blessed with above-average intelligence and abilities. That's why this is my battle... to give up control, because in my eyes I have so much to lose.
And yet, knowing all this, knowing it is the truth, I don't want to do it. Odd, isn't it? How we can face the truth, accept it as true, and still reject it or postpone accepting it. I truly hope that I will soon make the step I need to take, but I know my desire is to remain in control. I don't even think I'm really that alone in my struggle. If you read this and care, please lift up a short prayer for me, because I sometimes doubt my own are strong enough, even though my head knowledge tells me that it's not a matter of strength, but of faith.

Duncan
8/1/2008 11:06:52 PM - anonymous


Duncan,
I will pray for you.
To me this verse says it all.

"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: FOR WITHOUT ME YE CAN DO NOTHING.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."
John 15:5-6
(All caps mine.)

(Please read all of John 15)
8/2/2008 7:29:32 PM - Ignited~Faith, Member of Delve into Jesus since 2/20/2008


At a time when my wife and I had retired and were looking forward to traveling we find ourselves moving to another city to help take care of our grandsons due to divorce in our family. While I wanted to help, I was somewhat bitter. I read his devotion by accident (or maybe not) and it helps to free me from my bitterness.
8/3/2008 9:39:25 AM - anonymous


I am very glad to see the kinds of things being discussed here in this forum. More people need to reach out to our Heavenly Father and let Him lead. I am going to ask all who read this to pray for me. I have a very serious task to accomplish and with God's help I know I can make it through. I do trust in Him and ask Him often to lead and guide me. A long while ago, He taught me just how wrong I had been living. Now, I seek His help and guidance and when I do life is so much easier. However, sometimes I forget myself and try to do it on my own. Never happens to come out right until I go to God in prayer. Thank you for this message and this wonderful devotion. Sandy
9/11/2008 1:12:01 PM - anonymous


Sandy,
I am praying for you.
(I pray this verse blesses you.)
"My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:
For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.
Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:
So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones."
Proverbs 3:1-8

9/12/2008 8:38:21 AM - Ignited~Faith, Member of Delve into Jesus since 2/20/2008


Thank you for the encouraging devotional this morning! I really appreciate the open sharing and the additional scriptures on the comments. I find myself dissappointed with some of the sugar coated, feel good about yourself daily readings I find online because they don't deal with the issues/ desires of our hearts. Your devo has substance, "I want to have an affair with that co-worker, but I'll lose my family!" This a very real struggle in my life and something we don't like to talk about because it exposes the evil desires of our hearts. James 1:14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
This devo hit on some great points and I agree 100 that we have to surrender our will and fight for that relationship with GOD. Being honest about our thoughts and feelings, as ugly as they can be, will help bring these into the light and allow GOD to work (Hebrews4:12-13)to keep us from spiritual death. - GOD bless you all, Joe in Northern California
9/13/2008 2:31:52 PM - anonymous


I am going through a situation in my life today in trusting God to work things out for my good in the relationship I am in now, and to let God's perfect will come to pass in this relationship... to Let go and Let God, as Elaine mentioned... I realised that God is interested in the minute detail of our lives and He knows what He saying because He has predestined our lives before the foundation of this world. I was searching for something to help me to encourage my self in the Word and I read this scripture where David encourgaged himself in the LORD when everything was against him (I Samuel 30:6) and I realised that I needed to allow God to work and perfect Himself in Him and so I am blessed and encourged by this devotion and even more so by the comments made by the readers. I pray that God will give you all your hearts desires and strenghten you as you delight yourselves in Him... Blessings, Caroline
10/20/2008 4:00:07 AM - anonymous


Thank you!!
12/10/2008 7:19:50 AM - anonymous


Thank you for all your sharings. I wonder if every Christian should have peace and joy once they truly believe in GOD. I have been struggling with minor depression for the past 5 years. I tried very hard to pray for GOD's heal. I feel guilty as I can no longer feel the peace and joy from GOD, something which are promised by God to every Christian. I always think there must be something wrong with me as I am sure there are no mistakes from GOD so if it is not GOD's wrong it must be mine... but now i realize that maybe GOD just want us to learn to let go and know that HE is the GOD.....does anyone of you ever feel the same? Shall I just think no more and truly let go? I just want to know that I am not alone...
2/8/2009 10:30:34 AM - anonymous


Thanks Jesus for the Freedom you gave me in my life. Though most was out of tough. From myself before My niece and sister and the Chruch I serve now came in my life to let me know What Jesus can do for me.
From a life of hell to this life now. I do not hate any part of my life! Actually I learned from it! So one day soon I can teach another soul life is a wonderful thing. I love my christian music helps alot and the songs that top off the devotional. Would be Casting Crowns Set Me Free the lyrics are powerful in this song. Be Strong,Don't Be Afraid Of Them, The Lord Your God Will Never Leave Nor Forsake you.
Of all people in the world I never thought my niece nor I would be serving the Lord let alone have this freedom is beautiful and whole new life.
I can say this it was a challenge and well worth the effort.
2/26/2009 3:21:30 AM - anonymous


Prayer is great that's what Jesus want you to do Jesus hears you and love's you. It take's time for thing to fall in place. Don't give up even if things get tough; bible study and services is best in christian church. I have nothing against religion. That's where I am comfortable.
It's most powerful when being around other believers and being prayed on for healing... The pastor said Prayer don't alway's happen right that sec.
Never give up praying or believing.
3/6/2009 11:12:35 PM - anonymous



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