As soon as I left for college, I was FREE! I stopped going to church – my excuse was that I didn’t like the church in my college town – but I didn’t bother to go “church shopping”. I had better things to do on Sunday morning – like getting over a hangover from Saturday night! I was FREE to party hardy and I did. I seriously don’t know how I survived my college years. Many a morning I’d wake up and not remember how I got home the night before – but somehow, my car was safely parked in the parking lot and I was in my bed unharmed. (Albeit with a nasty hangover – until I discovered that I didn’t get a hangover with Southern Comfort and 7Up – I could drink those all night and be right as rain the next day.)
It wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I started my spiritual journey back to a solid relationship with God and Jesus Christ. And it wasn’t till last year (35 years since I first left for college), when I realized that the FREEDOM that I thought I had was really keeping me in chains.
I was watching The Truth Project and Dr. Del Tackett read this passage from the Old Testament:
“…You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God.’ ” ~ Numbers 15: 39-41
It was like God had slapped me upside the head. (He does that sometimes when He really wants to get our attention. Too bad many times we ignore Him.)
“…not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes.” The phrase “prostitute yourselves” can be replaced by “sell yourselves out.” Isn’t that what we’re doing when we have sex outside of marriage? We are selling ourselves out to hopefully obtain someone else’s love and affection. People, it’s not worth it. (Good Book: 60 Things God Said About Sex by Lester Sumrall.)
I finally realized that I was a slave to my “lusts” – and not just sex, but money, power, food and drink – the “lusts of our own hearts and eyes.” There’s a phrase for when we fill our plates with more food that we can eat:
“Your eyes are bigger than your stomach”.
We overeat and overindulge because it’s free – or we think it’s free. We’re paying by the consequences of our actions. God gave us FREE WILL. We are free to make our own choices, but that doesn’t mean we are free to sin to our heart’s content! God gave us FREEDOM, but he gave us rules to live by. He gave up His son, Jesus, to die for us so that we would be FREE from sin.
But there are times when that “freedom” of sin is too appealing. Oh, it’s not so bad. Once won’t hurt. If it feels good – go with it. Go with the flow.
A wise man once said, “The best way to resist temptation is to avoid it in the first place.” (Scott Pixler, First Christian Church of Phoenix).
God knows what’s good for us and he laid it all out in the Bible. He drew boundaries and we must trust the protection of those boundaries if we are to be truly FREE from SIN.
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE. Jesus paid for our FREEDOM with His LIFE.
Sin’s lure may look like freedom
But in its grip we’re bound;
It’s when we’re bound to Jesus
Real freedom will be found. —D. De Haan
(from Our Daily Bread – June 25, 2009)
So, before we do something that’s “iffy” we need to ask ourselves, “Would God be pleased with my actions?” If the answer is NO – DON’T DO IT! It’s that simple. And guess what? God’s FREEDOM is the best FREEDOM in the world!
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7
If you have not found the FREEDOM that God offers, all you have to do is sincerely pray this prayer:
Pray. Just talk to God no matter where you are. He doesn’t care what the words are, just that they are sincere.
Read the Bible everyday to learn about Jesus and how to live that pleases God. Start with 1 John, then the Gospel of John, the Philippians.
An important part of helping your relationship with Christ grow is to tell others about Him. Demonstrate God’s love and be active in telling others about Jesus.
Find a bible-based church and become active getting to know other Christians. Find one with a singles ministry or groups for people your age. Many have groups for different interests. Shop around, but commit yourself to finding one and joining a church family. (Read the Benefits of a Church Family).
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