My last post probably didn’t seem to be an encouragement for most people. In fact, it is always interesting to see which posts people actually “like.” It always seems to be those that appeal to the more “easier” side of a Christians walk than the “harder” side. Dealing with our hard hearts is not fun. Being reminded of our sinfulness is typically not what Christian’s focus on during this season of joy, laughter, friends, and fellowship as they place baby Jesus in the manger. However, the journey God has me on does not leave me in a spirit of depression over my hard heart, but one that leads to so much more. Alex Aronis in his book Developing Intimacy with God gives this insight when we are dealing with our sin:
“…God reveals to us our sinful tendencies so that he can reform our lives. He does this by brining us under conviction, leading us to repentance, forgiving us, giving us a sense of freedom and joy along with sadness, and giving us the courage and strength to change.
Do not make the mistake of attacking yourself for your weaknesses or failings. That is not helpful. Seek conviction without condemnation. Godly sorrow is good, but not feelings of worthlessness, or obsessive thoughts about sin. God loves us in spite of our sin.” (Alex B. Aronis in Developing Intimacy with God, 34)
As I mentioned at the end of Avalance Part 1, there is something only forgiven sinners can experience. When one seeks to truly deal with one’s hard heart and the sin within, it is then that the forgiven sinner is able to experience..
The problem is that as believers, we tend to buy into the fact that since Jesus died for all our sins and we have already accepted His forgiveness at the point of our salvation we no longer need to ask Him to forgive us. Remember what Ronnie Floyd said in his book How to Pray?
“Repentance does not end at salvation. Repentance begins at salvation.”
What this means as a believer is that we don’t take for granted the eternal salvation we have with the Lord. We should not be satisfied with just fire insurance. We should not keep on sinning so that grace can abound (Romans 6:1). Rather we should seek to draw closer and deeper into the presence of God. This can only happen when we are willing to have our hearts broken and softened by Him. Through this process we find the chains and bondage of sin broken and releasing us to experience the freedom that God gives to us so graciously.
It is such an overwhelming experience that we come to the place of never wanting to leave for fear of having the chains that held us clamp back down on our hearts. Satan uses this tactic to immediately place us back in bondage to the sin that entangled us to begin with. When in reality we are free and God encourages us to not submit again to the chains but to walk with an attitude of love for what has been given to us and to share that with others. It has taken over a year to come to the point of being able to read the following verses and truly comprehend and receive them as the gift God intended for me to receive.
“Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery…
You were running well. Who prevented you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from the One who called you. A little yeast leavens the whole lump of dough. I have confidence in the Lord you will not accept any other view. But whoever it is that is confusing you will pay the penalty…
For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another.” Galatians 5:1, 7-10, 13-15
Do you see it?
Christ liberated us to be free.
We are called to be free.
We are to have confidence in the Lord and not accept any other view.
We are to use the freedom to serve others through love.
Alex B. Aronis has an excellent definition for what freedom means as we meditate on Christ’s work in liberating us to be free.
“Freedom means that you are liberated from dependence on and obligations to false gods that drive you toward an ever-increasing appetite for greed, praise, and power.”
(Alex B. Aronis in Developing Intimacy with God, 32)
It takes awhile for the snow to settle after an avalanche and there is no guarantee it won’t build up again, but if we continue to seek daily repentance from God, we can prevent the snow from building up as it melts under the light of God’s grace and mercy. We no longer have to be chained to the false gods, but can have true freedom to move about and walk in His Spirit to do His work through love.