The paradox of freedom, is the power to choose that to which we subordinate our lives.
I didn’t consider the “important” things in my life to be distractions until I found my true purpose. My hobbies, pursuits and passions seemed so worthwhile, even noble at times, but they were the very things that held me captive. Vigorously I pursued work, family relationships, fitness and causes; but mostly just work. My obsession with work often left me physically and mentally depleted and I struggled to find balance. As it turned out, even balance was just another thing to distract me from the truth. Then one day, while reading from the book of Ecclesiastes, a light went on — everything was vanity. Everything that is, except the pursuit of God. If I wasn’t pursuing God first and foremost, following his law, learning his ways, then I was missing the big point of life.
It wasn’t that my pursuits were bad, though some certainly were; but anything that I preferenced above God was idolatry. I foolishly put my trust and hope in things that were inferior. Everything that wasn’t fully subordinated to God’s will was a problem. Trusting anything more than God was potentially idol worship. Idolatry.
We can choose to devote ourselves to idols: self, money, sex, power, causes, enterprise, even religion. We can construct our awesome theories about how the universe works, perhaps even striving to yield our lives in brilliant transcendence to some impersonal force or power that seems to be behind everything. Then we might even say we have found God and we are spiritual, and perhaps we have and we are. Alternatively if we intentionally pursue the knowedge of God we can experience real power, and true hope, in a relationship with the personal, living, eternal God who is the creator of everything. This is the same God whose truth and wisdom is written on our hearts and revealed through our prayers; and in the understanding of God’s Word, which is also found in the Bible, He is revealed!
We will always choose something to worship — we were made to worship. When we choose to put God first, all other things in our lives find their rightful place. Some are purged while all others find their order in the prioritities of God’s will. For most of us this can only happen when we ask, seek and knock. Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened… (Mathew &:7-8)
As I began to trust God, placing Him instead of me on the throne of my life, everything else started to work out. Not all at once, and not always how I expected — but always perfect. Looking back, this became easier to see and understand. I had found real freedom from trusting God, from yielding my ego and intentionally following Jesus Christ. He is, and was, and is forever the messiah, offering everyone freedom in the deliverance from the fear of loss, death, abandonment, humiliation and scarcity. I learned that the Lord gives and takes away with purpose and love. And the more I prayed, and read God’s word, the more I learned about God. The more I learned about God the more I changed.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28).
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1John 4:18).
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the spirit of sonship. And by him we cry Abba Father. (Romans 8:15).
I was no longer bent on constructing my own imperfect reality. No longer trying to become the master of my kingdom built upon the sin of self worship. I was no longer seeking out personal glories and pleasures which had become the broken records of my disappointment.
As I read and prayed and listened, I found ears to hear, and the futility of “doing it my way” (no disrespect to Frank Sinatra but…) was revealed, and in its place I discovered the truth of the freedom of righteousness. I had been a prisoner to sin. Now I would become a slave to righteousness, and in that glorious bondage I finally found real freedom.
God I pray that I would never be a slave to sin again, and that I would continue to discover the depths and abundant blessings you have bestowed upon me in the incredible freedom offered through your amazing grace and by the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.