The Bible says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). Paul wrote this warning to the church. The phrased “burdened again” indicates that he knew it was possible for believers to become bound. We live in bondage to sin and have become slaves to our own bad habits and emotions.
Unfortunately, many Christians don’t know that they are captive, until God begins to set them free. It’s important that we don’t go back to slavery. Christ gave up everything so we could become free. Now, nothing can hold us back without our permission. God did not set us free to live the rest of our lives in self-inflicted bondage. In order to find freedom, we must be alert so that we don’t return to captivity.
Here are seven ways to find freedom in God’s commands.
Cultivate Your Affection for God
The first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me” sets the tone for the first four commandments. God is inviting you into a relationship of mutual love and loyalty. That’s what the first commandment is all about. You can’t begin to follow this command until you are persuaded of the love and mercy of God. For believers, the first commandment seems like a natural response of gratitude to the Grace of God in Jesus Christ.
If you want to pursue a life of loving loyalty to God, you must first cultivate your affection for Him. This involves thinking about Him, appreciating Him, honoring Him, desiring Him, fearing Him, trusting in Him, hoping in Him, delighting in Him and giving thanks in Him. Your enjoyment of God’s love and the renewing of your love for Him will sustain you in following the first commandment.
Declare the One True God
In a society where some political and religious leaders want the name of Jesus silenced, the challenge to embrace the one true God is made more difficult. Many Christians are being told to let people embrace God any way they wish – not as He is. The thought of many is that it’s ok to believe Jesus is God’s Son, but we should keep that to ourselves. As Christians, we should be willing to believe Jesus is God in the flesh and declare Christ as the only way to God.
We can expect opposition to this, but others will begin to see Christ through your words. Those around you will consider the words of Christ and because of your declaration and the Spirit’s power believe the no-holds-barred words of Jesus: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Love God as He is
The first commandment calls us to embrace God unconditionally. The second commandment calls us to embrace Him as He is. God is not like a lump of clay that we can shape into and form that is pleasing to us. God is who He is. He is a God to be loved and worship, not a resource to be used. Our God is a God of love and His love is very different from human love. God’s love is unconditional and it’s not based on feelings or emotions or how He’s feeling in the present moment. He loves us because He is love. Love God as He is.
Keep the Sabbath Day
Blessings come from rest. We are called to set aside time for God-centered rest. Attention is to be directed by God in a way that is more concentrated and steady than on ordinary days. Rest is the enjoyment of completed work. That’s what God did on the seventh day. Having finished His work of creation, He rested because it was completed. As Christians, we are called to follow His pattern by keeping the Sabbath day holy. God is calling us to make one day different from the rest of the others so that we can savor the joy of what has been completed.
Cultivate Your Love for Christ
Jesus came into the world to redeem you, forgive you, restore you and to lead you on the path of purity. If you’re pursuing this path, you must first cultivate your love for Christ. Your ability to triumph over temptation will be dependent on the strength of your love for Christ. If you’re in a place where you’re constantly saying that your temptation is no big deal, you will never change.
But once you come to the place of saying, “This matters to God so it matters to me,” then you will be able to stand even under great pressure. When that love begins to flourish, you will see your temptation in a new light, and you will be within sight of victory.
Open Your Heart Up to Forgiveness
You can find freedom when you open your heart up to forgiveness. As Christians, we are called to forgivr. The Bible says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13). Forgiveness allows us to overcome feelings of anger, bitterness or revenge.
It also helps to heal spiritual wounds and bring the peace and love that only God can give. Unforgiveness stands between you and God. It is through Grace God has forgiven us and see us as righteous. If God can forgive us for all the awful things we’ve done, than we can forgive others.
Act in the Power of the Holy Spirit
When it comes to our battle with temptation, God doesn’t tell us to simply pray about it, but to take action against it. The great thing about Scripture is the fact that it is always active, particularly when it comes to the struggles of temptation. God calls us to put up a fight. We are called to, “put to death the misdeeds of the body” by the power of the Spirit (Romans 8:13).
The apostle Paul reminds us that the grace of God teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passion, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives. Many Christians believe they can do nothing more in the face of temptation except admit their own helplessness and submit to the Lord. But we are told in the New Testament that we are provided spiritual armor in which we can fight back against the Devil and all of his empty promises.
When you begin to do these things, you’ll discover areas of your life that are out of sync with His will and you’ll begin to receive wisdom for living with greater love, strength and freedom in Christ. When you truly trust God, you can begin to find freedom in His commands.
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