“This is rest; give rest to the weary; and this is repose”; yet they would not hear. And the word of the Lord will be to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little, that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.” Isaiah 28:12-13
I asked my nine year old the other day a question. I asked him, “What is liberty?” His initial response was to say, “Freedom.” So I asked what is freedom? He looked at me and said, “Well, it cant mean I get to do whatever I want.” I responded with, “Well that’s the truth, even though some would say so.” After he sat there a bit, he said this, “I think its when we are not a slave to anything.” My eyebrows went up and just out of curiosity I asked, “What are we a slave to? In one of those really fulfilling moments when you know your child is coming into an understanding of something, he said, “sin.”
Over the next few weeks, I want to talk to Christians who struggle. I want to talk about the things that exaggerate our struggles and keep us from living the lives that we are called to live. I want to talk to those who really want to experience the freedom that is ours in Christ. That want to do the hard work of being honest with themselves. Because that’s what it takes. Truth in our inmost beings.
“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:11-13
However, when we are in a struggle, truth seems illusive. We go to the scripture for answers, but how we interpret the scripture is key to finding our rest. Some naturally are rules followers. These people like to know the framework of which to operate. Getting clear marching orders and establishing clear cut boundaries make them feel safe. However, they can tend toward perfectionism and legalism. Perfectionism and legalism only lead to one place – bondage. I think most of us understand that we have been saved by grace and that not of ourselves but it is the very gift of God. And yet the broken places in our lives keep us bound trying to find the very thing that we truly have been given, we just don’t see.
The enemy of our souls uses many lies to keep us from really knowing the truth that we are completely accepted in the beloved and that Our Heavenly Father truly sees us as His child in whom He loves. Those lies direct us in one of two places – either keeping us from believing that what God says about us is who we truly are in Christ, or that God is not who He says He is. In order to walk in freedom, we need an accurate account on both fronts.
He is tricky however, because we don’t always know that we are believing lies. He usually exploits a need in our hearts. Once exploited, we tend toward our particular struggle. Feeling the weight of it, we scramble to get free only to find the controlling tug will not subside. We are then given to condemnation which just increases our sin consciousness. If we live in perpetual awareness of our sin – we will then begin to believe that our sin defines us which leads us to despair and hopelessness. That’s not freedom!
What keeps us there? Our own legalism. The law is meant to do something. It is meant to increase our awareness of sin so that we might come to the One who can set us free. If we stay in the strivings of trying to please God through our works, we will never experience His rest.
Two things, dear one, that I want to ask you to do today, if you are in a struggle. First, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the root of your struggle. It is usually different than you think. Once you begin to see clearly the lie that you are believing, ask the Father to give you a revelation of Himself in that particular area. He will. He sent His son to secure your freedom. It is His heart’s desire. If you are willing to be honest with yourself, He will make Himself known.