As a kid growing up, I learned early on that if my parents could trust me to do what they had taught me, I would enjoy freedom. When I broke that trust, my freedom eroded quickly. Funny, there were times when I got caught doing the wrong things and my freedom was evoked. But as the years went by I became aware it was the natural consequences of doing wrong that brought the most loss of freedom.
I have seen this pattern with my own children. The more they stayed within the boundaries the more freedom I gave them. But I also saw this when I told them “no.” “You don’t trust me,” they would scream. Usually they were right. But sometimes it was others I didn’t trust.
Trust is the gateway to freedom. Bad choices forfeit a multitude of privileges. When I chose to not practice sports, I fell behind others who worked hard. When I lied, the loss of integrity ate at my heart even if no one else knew. When I didn’t invest in relationships they deteriorated. I think you see how this translates into adult life.
When we know the boundaries, we are able to operate in greater freedom. While driving in Alaska, we came upon a dirt road. It wound its way around the mountain. There was a 400′ drop just past the shoulder with NO guardrail. When I met the many double decker buses, I was white knuckled as I slowed down and hung as close to the center line as I dared. Had there been a guardrail, I doubt it would have kept our motorhome from plummeting down the cliff, but I would have known where the edge of the road was. I could have taken advantage of the whole lane.
Trust is a funny thing. It has to run both ways for there to be real freedom. In the parent child relationship the child has to trust the parents know best while the parents have to trust the child to make wise choices from what they have learned.
In our relationship with God, this trust is seen best when we yield to King Jesus. Yielding brings freedom. Yielding demonstrates we trust that the One, who created life and lived the human experience perfectly, knows what is best for us. His commands are not rules to control us but directions on how to navigate this life.
When I began my research, my first premise was that obedience brings freedom. But obedience is the outward expression of the reality of what transpires in the heart. The Bible teaches us that sin happens when we yield to the desires of our sinful nature (see James 1:14-15). Jesus said on multiple occasions that sin happens in the heart before it is played out in our actions (see Matthew 5:27-28).
To experience freedom, we have to yield to King Jesus. Here is a simple process for training our selves to yield to our King:
Y – say YES to Jesus. Freedom begins when we choose Jesus. The Good News is not “no you can’t do that, but yes I can do all things in Christ!”
I – Jesus must INCREASE, I must decrease. Jesus must sit on the throne not just on earth as it is in heaven, but in your heart. The Kingdom of God is not a physical place. It is wherever Jesus reigns. He has to reign in your heart.
E – EXAMINE your heart. With the help of the Holy Spirit, take captive every thought that is not in alignment with the principles and precepts of the Word of God.
L – LISTEN. Prayer isn’t just telling God what we want and when we want it. It is about listening to His direction and joining Him where He is already at work.
D – DECIDE. Life Transformation follows a decision to act by faith. Do what you see Jesus doing and there you will find freedom!