Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Battling for the Freedom We Have

Here is a thoughtful article from the July 2, 2011 issue of World magazine.   I found the magazine opened to this article today as I was cleaning off a cluttered area of my desk!  I take it as providence; it encouraged me and thought it would encourage you also!

Within reach

Christ has given us the means to take back our minds and gain freedom in Him | Andrée Seu
Illustration by Krieg Barrie
Jesus called us to be free: "For freedom Christ has set us free." From Paul's writing in Romans 7 I see that the freedom Jesus means is freedom in the mind—where the real battle is. Francis Schaeffer wrote, "This is where true spirituality in the Christian life rests: in the realm of my thought life" (True Spirituality).
What a favor we can render a brother in Christ when we know this freedom firsthand, and exactly how to walk in it! The knitted brows in the pews are not generally over globalization or polar ice melt. Someone around you is quietly sinking in addiction or despair. If there is a way to fight the demons in his head (James 3:15; Galatians 5:17; 1 Peter 5:9; 1 John 2:14), he needs equipping. He needs to bridge the gap between theology and reality.
Most of us are "good" on the positional gifts in Christ: imputed righteousness, forgiveness, adoption by His perfect Atonement. Is there any concrete help for the time between conversion and rapture? Our conversion was an important date but now it's over. "Let us . . . go on to maturity" (Hebrews 6:1). What is that "fullness" of which the Word says we have all received, the "grace upon grace" (John 1:16)?
Is it not the potential to be free in our minds? Potential, because not all Christians are free. As Schaeffer put it: "A man may lack in sanctification all that God means him to have in the present life because even though Christ has purchased it for him upon the cross he fails to believe God at this place and raise the empty hands of faith moment by moment."
My friend Leslie, extremely devout, said she wanted to hear from God, and refused to budge from her sundeck all day (except to go to the bathroom) until she got a message: "You don't believe me." Leslie later told me: "It was the Lord, so I had to receive it." The Spirit instructed her to start reading at Matthew chapter 1, and to stop when she got to a verse she didn't believe. She was distressed by how soon she had to stop.
The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8), and it is a progressive dismantling that begins now. In heaven we will not have the chance to put Satan to rout by faith; all that will be finished. Christ gave us the means of conquest in Ephesians 6 and elsewhere, so that we could take back our minds.
Once we believe, the sky is the limit. The confidence that we can get out of the darkest pit, and the vise grip of emotional bondage, is key. The means are there (prayer, the Word, the Spirit). All that's needed is a shift in our spirits to believe that overcomings are possible—that ours is not only the hope of heaven but the riches of His glorious inheritance, and the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe (Ephesians 1:18-19).
I was in the attic sorting clothes, and suddenly letters beckoned to me from a box I was storing for someone. I got the idea that I would like to read those letters; no one would be the wiser. It didn't feel right, but an oily, unctuous voice said it was of no consequence, and that the Lord would forgive me because He knows I'm just a sinner. (The 19th-century poet Heinrich Heine said, "Dieu me pardonnera; c'est son métier": God will forgive me; it's His job.)
It seemed like a mild desire until I decided to put up slight resistance. Even with the weapons of prayer and stern reasoning with myself from the Word, it was all I could do to get out of the attic intact.
But you are never the same person after you say no to the devil. It is hard to describe, but you are stronger. And you have something else too—a testimony. Some person you know who has normally rolled over to every suggestion dropped into his brain from the Enemy will be encouraged. People want to be free. They just need to hear it can be done.

No comments:

Post a Comment