Have you noticed that most of your unrest comes from yourself? We get stuck ruminating on the things we can’t change or control. Unforgiveness stops us from moving toward healing in our relationships. Pervasive negativity prevents us from enjoying the moment. Exhaustion keeps us functioning as only a shadow version of ourselves. Excuses keep us trying the same things that aren’t working and stop us from changing. Guilt and shame stop us from accepting God’s free gift of grace.
Our unhappiness lives in our souls and finding peace starts as a process of Holy Spirit-led self-discovery. How many of us spend our lives turning a blind eye to our own hangups? In our stubborn blindness, we refuse to consider that maybe the rhythm of frustration we are up against could be something that we have the power to change. It’s so much easier to blame our surroundings. To point out the sliver in our neighbor’s eye, all while avoiding our own planks. We so often live stuck. Thank God he is patient with us!
How, then, do we get past our blindness and grab onto the gracious freedom that God promises each of us?
1. Freedom comes when we abandon pride.
The path towards freedom begins with a surrendering of the pride we each hold that claims we have what we need to fix ourselves all on our own. This pride tells us to be ashamed when we don’t live up to our own internal standards. It relies on rules and religion rather than grace and a relationship with Jesus. Step one towards freedom and making peace with the people God created us to be is to abandon our pride. The Bible teaches that pride comes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18), and the humble find wisdom (Proverbs 11:2).
2. God’s wisdom teaches us how to change.
Wisdom helps us change. It’s only through God’s miraculous truth that we can see the way past the same thought processes that keep us trapped in our own fears, shame, and bitterness. James 1:5 prompts us to ask God for wisdom when we don’t have it. He gives it freely when we have a humble heart. When we read God’s word, spend time in his church, and seek Him through prayer, we discover what godly wisdom looks like. Proverbs 1:7 instructs us that wisdom is found in the context of community. We have to be willing to accept advice and instruction when we are stuck and looking for a new way forward. Proverbs 3:7 tells us that wisdom turns away from evil. If our patterns get us stuck in sin over and over, then wisdom moves us away from that evil temptation that keeps tugging at our souls.
3. Freedom points us towards others.
Interestingly God gives us the internal power through the Holy Spirit to find spiritual freedom, not so we can just enjoy ourselves better. Even though a free you is a happier you and is a you that you can be confident in and enjoy. The purpose of this Christ-purchased freedom is that we can serve others. Isaiah 61:1 tells us that God’s spirit in our lives gives us the ability to bring good news to the poor, assist the brokenhearted, and set free those imprisoned in this world! We are set free, so we can help others find that same freedom. When we find ourselves stuck in our own frustrations or even upset with others in our lives because their sin nature is making our lives harder, we are invited to draw on God’s spirit to see new ways to love and serve others.
4. God’s spirit sets us free.
2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” There is a mysterious element to spiritual freedom. Freedom is an indescribable moment or journey that can take time where Heaven meets us here on Earth. An area I’ve sought freedom in has been anxiety and depression. For me, this freedom journey has taken years, but God has been my faithful teacher and sustainer through each up and down. Other times our freedom is like a dam breaking all at once. The old life is washed away in an instant, and a new one is ready to begin. Why does God work one way in my life and a different way in yours? That is part of the mystery of the Spirit. God is relational and not a rule-based God, which is why each of us has a different spiritual journey. One thing the Bible does tell us is that if we want to find freedom in our lives, we have to seek his Spirit.
John 8:36 says, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Jesus came to Earth, so we could not only escape death and join his family, but so we could experience freedom in our lives here on Earth. I am so thankful that he has not left me as I was. He is always renewing my mind and spirit. May you, by God’s grace, take steps toward spiritual growth and freedom today.
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Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.