Friday, December 08, 2006

Having Freedom

“The journey to freedom is paved by the substance of our character.” ~ Erwin McManus; Uprising

To be free! Is there a more natural desire of our hearts? Everyone wants to control their life and be able to go in the direction which they choose. That is exactly what God gives us. He has not forced us to obey Him, but He has given us a free will to choose the way we want to live.

Here is the problem: we believe this is freedom. “To do what I want to do;” is how many people define freedom. In the process of living these “free” lives we have chosen a life of slavery. A guy wants to be free to party, and in the process he becomes chained to alcohol. A girl wants to be loved, and now she find herself in the midst of another broken relationship. The couple just had to get married, now a year later they wonder if it was the right decision.

When we wake up and discover we are slaves, it is not because the world is oppressing you or God doesn’t love you. We are slaves because of the choices we have made. The prisons of addiction we are in were constructed through our choices. The chains of debt and a pointless life were put on by our own free will. We are slaves because we lacked the character to do what is right.

While at the beginning the way of God may seem to be the way to slavery, because of the Laws God has given, it is actually the way to freedom. We are not smart enough to understand all the consequences of our actions. We don’t always realize what seems like fun in the moment can lead to life changing circumstances. Only God has the wisdom on the best way to live. God’s Laws are not intended to restrict life, but to guide us to the best possible life. That means what we need isn’t more knowledge, but the character to surrender our lives to God.

Character begins with humility. We need to realize who we are and who God is. When we seek to live life on our terms we are turning our backs on God and telling Him to mind His own business. We elevate ourselves to lord of our lives. A person of character realizes that God is God and He alone knows what is best. Humbly they bend a knew and declare themselves to be servants of God.

Character continues with discipline. When we lack discipline we become slaves of pleasure and entertainment. While entertainment has its place in our lives, it can never satisfy. Entertainment is all about a moments pleasure, a distraction from life. Only a life of discipline can achieve the lasting significance our hearts crave. Discipline to God’s Law gives us the strength we need to overcome the weaknesses we have when confronted by temptation.

Character ends with hope. When we lack hope we give up. We either sell out, trying to experience all we can before we go, or we slowly remove our selves from society. Either way hopelessness robs of the strength to experience the life God has for us. When we have hope we are able to do God’s will regardless of the consequences. We have joy because of the relationship we have with God.

Character is the way to freedom, because character helps us to avoid the pitfalls that ensnare so many people. A person of character bases their lives on what is right, not on seems the best at the moment.

If you are in a life of slavery and desire to experience freedom I have good news for you. You are only one choice away from turning your life around. No matter how many bad things you have done in the past, no matter how many consequences are piled up at your door, you can experience freedom. All you have to do is start living a life of character. It begins with surrendering your life to God. Things won’t magically change, but as you continue to live a life of character you will begin to understand how real freedom isn’t found in doing whatever you want, but in doing God’s will.

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