Our God uses our freedoms to teach us what true freedom really is. When we freely choose to live our life God's way He changes our heart and we have peace, joy... .
This is not accomplished through the effort of our own strength and will. If it is, it leads us into legalism and duty instead of the joy in life through our relationship with the Living God. If in our heart we want to live our life His way, He changes us to become willing.
If we are willing He enables us to make forward progress through our hearts desire leading us. Depending on our background and hardheadedness for being willing to change this can occur sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly. To encourage us we can trust that our God is bigger than our ability to be stiff-necked and stubborn and if we are willing for Him to lead us, we are being transformed. Even when we can't see it those around us who know us can.
As we mature in our walk with God we grow in our knowledge with understanding of what living life "God's way" really is. This is not a knowledge we attain through an intellectual understanding, rather it is developed through our personal relationship and applying the "Living Word" to our daily life. In other words, our growth and understanding come out of our experience and the renewing of our mind working together not separately.
It is the consequences from our freedom of choices that teach us that true freedom is a state of being and is not related to our outward circumstances. Take some time this week to review some of the choices you make regarding your lifestyle and how you treat others. The goal is not to give us a guilt trip. It is to expand our thinking and awareness of some choices we take for granted.
Jesus told the Pharisees that they should "love their neighbor as them self." In this, Jesus, is using the worlds language so those listening can understand what He is saying. Start with your understanding of what love is. This is just the beginning...
Later, when alone with His disciples, Jesus taught them that they were to love others "their neighbors" as He has loved them. What He is wanting us to understand is that we are to use the intimacy of our personal relationship with Him to really understand how to express godly love toward our self and everybody else in a fallen world.
This definitely raises the bar, however, with the Holy Spirit dwelling within us this is possible. The more we remember to invite our "best friend" Jesus to participate in everything we do; the better we become at living this out. In the Apostle Paul's letter to the Colossians, chapter 3, he gives us a better understanding of how to reflect Jesus as we live our everyday life.
Father God, today may we truly seek all of You in the choices we make. Deliver us from our selfishness in seeking the benefits of having You in our life over the pursuit of knowing You in all 3 persons. Lord, we know You always meet us where we are at and not where we think we should or could be.
Let us no longer buy into the self-deceptions that help us to ignore the true value of the life that You are wanting for us. We accept that we can NEVER achieve this on our own. However, with Your help, all things are possible, regardless of how impossible they seem. May our hope always be in You and not in our own abilities as we walk humbly with You. Amen