What Does True Spiritual Freedom Look Like?
Most of us are very aware of what it looks like and feels like to be in bondage. Whether it’s spiritually, as in fear, stress, rejection, guilt, and bitterness; or physically, as in diseases, disorders and infirmities. We are all familiar with some form or another of bondage in our humanness.
Jesus came to offer an opportunity for us to be freed from bondage and from the curse of sin and death. He says this in His Word:
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. John 8:36 KJV
What many of us are unfamiliar with is freedom. What does that even mean? What does it look like? And what is it not?
The word ‘Free’ in this scripture as defined from the original Greek text is this: unrestrained (to go at pleasure), i.e. (as a citizen) not a slave (whether freeborn or manumitted), or (genitive case) exempt (from obligation or liability):—free (man, woman), at liberty.
If we are to walk in freedom we need to understand who or what we are being freed from and who our deliverer is. Then we need to understand who we are in the state of being free.
Romans 6:16 says:
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? Romans 6:16 KJV
We need to understand that as long as we serve sin in any area of our life, in that area, we are in bondage to sin and death. However, when we choose to follow God’s heart and His ways, we are submitting ourselves to His righteousness through obedience. This is the key to freedom.
Often times, when we hear the words, ‘righteousness’ or ‘obedience’ we are triggered into a pattern of drivenness and performance to do things right and correct even unto perfection. The enemy can be tricky because he can use even Godly principles and turn them into a form of bondage.
Romans 8 is a powerful example of the difference of walking in righteousness according to freedom or according to bondage. We can do the right thing in the wrong spirit and still be separated from God.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:1-6 KJV
God knows, according to Romans 8:3, that as humans, we are weak in the flesh to fulfill the law. So rather than coming to put His foot down and rub our faces in our weakness, He provided a better way, a more excellent way.
Not only did Jesus come to represent the truth to us so that we could be made free but He came to provide a way for us to destroy the works of the enemy in our lives and to overcome him. He put the keys in our hands so that we could choose to walk away from the bondage of the enemy’s camp and back into our Father’s house where we can find peace and safety.
In Luke, Jesus defines His purpose for coming to us by referring to a prophecy of Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. Luke 4:18 KJV
When He left this Earth to go up to Heaven to sit at the right hand of His Father, He said that He would not leave us comfortless. So Father God sent us His Holy Spirit. This was like Him giving us an open phone line straight up to the throne of grace.
If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. John 14:15-18 KJV
This wasn’t some hapless thing that He threw at us, hoping that it would help every now and again. The Holy Spirit was intended to be our lifeline; to bridge the gap between our physical dimension and God’s spiritual reality.
The enemy can be tricky because he desperately fears the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Therefore, he will do whatever he can to sever that lifeline and to keep us focused on our physical reality. He can bring feelings and adverse situations. He will try to rob us of our hope and our joy and try to bring in fear, guilt, shame and whatever else he can. He will try to make anything and anyone other than himself seem like our enemy so that we will get caught up and be separated from God, others and even ourselves. This is how he tries to put us back into bondage.
But in John 14:15, it says that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. So not only does righteousness work by the leading of the Spirit, it works by love. If our agreement with the enemy causes separation from God, ourselves and others, love is the glue that brings us back to and holds us in the Kingdom of God. In fact, the Word says that in love the whole law is fulfilled.
Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned. 1 Timothy 1:5 KJV
This is not something that we can force or fabricate, but it is a work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts as we line ourselves up with God and His Word. This verse encompasses the completeness of spiritual freedom in God our Father. The word ‘charity’ directly translated from the Greek is actually love. The phrase, ‘faith unfeigned’ means undisguised or sincere faith. We cannot always lean on our own understanding of what this looks like, but we need to look for the real fruit that comes out of a pure heart.
How do we get a pure heart? By submitting ourselves to God, being diligent to remove the enemy when we recognize his influence in our lives and by being teachable and open to God’s forming us more and more into His image.
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 KJV
So what is His image? What should we look like? Galatians 5 and 1 Corinthians 13 have clear insight into the nature of God that should be forming in us by a work of His Holy Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 KJV
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Charity never faileth… 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 KJV
The Word says that God is love so that’s what we should be too. 1 Corinthians 13 defines for us what that love really is. This is the love that God already has for us that He wants to form in us so that we can represent Him to others and walk in the fullness of freedom.
There is an important element in the definition of the word ‘free’ and that is, “(as a citizen) not a slave.” This is where our identity comes into play in this whole picture. When we accept Him, and we begin to walk according to our calling and our new identity as children of God. We are now considered honorary citizens of His Kingdom and not only that but members of His family.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8:15 KJV
Jesus also said that He calls us no longer servants but friends. So we need to look at this circumspectly. If we are acting according to performance and drivenness, or fear, are we acting as a child and a friend or are we acting as a servant and a slave?
Conversely, if we walk in confidence of who we are as accepted and beloved children of God, if we can accept ourselves as humans who make mistakes and get messy every now and again yet are still teachable and willing to take a spiritual shower when necessary and if we have a desire to be more and more like our Father and to walk in love and relationship with Him, then we are acting like children and friends of God.
We need to not let weapons of the enemy like fear, guilt, shame, and condemnation have power in our lives. We need to learn how to recognize them and know how to overcome them. We must also learn how to pick ourselves back up again if we fall because we know that God does not define us according to our failures, but according to the person that He created us to be from the foundation of the world. We can then be the head again and not the tail that is wagged by the enemy.
Psalm 103 is a beautiful glimpse of how our Father in Heaven sees us and deals with us:
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. 10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. 14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we [are] dust. Psalm 103:8-14 KJV
Can we receive that level of forgiveness from Him? Can we forgive ourselves and others and leave the past in the past and move forward into a new future; one that doesn’t need to be defined by any sort of evil from our pasts? Can we have that same sort of mercy for ourselves and for others that our Father has for us already?
Freedom is not perfection. It’s being open and pliable to the Holy Spirit to shape us and form us more and more into the image of our Father. Freedom is not a feeling or an event. It’s a state of being. It’s not passive or something that happens once and we’re “good to go”. It’s actively pursuing our Father’s heart and overcoming those areas in our life that are not from Him.
Freedom is no longer allowing the enemy to push us around but having a firm foundation established under our feet so that we can stand our ground against the enemy and overcome him. Freedom is being who you were created to be, the most normal you, who receives God’s love and, in turn, loves God, loves yourself and loves others. Freedom is the joy of experiencing the unfeigned fruit of the spirit as it flows from your heart that has been made pure by the washing of the water of the Word. Freedom is the absence of bondage.
Freedom is a treasure to be pursued. Yet it is not something that just happens overnight. We have to grow up into it. God can strengthen us and mature us in it. We need to develop strength and endurance in this race. We may even run through different layers of freedom as we walk out of more and more bondage.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Hebrew 12:1 KJV
So, dear brothers and sisters, will you choose in this moment to grab ahold of your Heavenly Father’s hand and allow Him to lead you as children so that you can grow up into this? If freedom is your desire, will you pursue His heart and His righteousness with your whole heart?
Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalm 37:4 KJV
The Be in Health® Team