Freedom in Christ is a very strange topic to me! I've heard it said once that people change when they've learned enough to want to or when they've hurt enough to have to. Admitting that I often prefer staying in my discomfort is painful. It brings feelings of condemnation. How dare I desire to be free if I don't want to accept the freedom or let go of the chains? But to change, to walk into the unfamiliar territory where I completely trust God, is frightening. It requires giving up my control of life and facing my fears of rejection. Much of my pain is based on the perception that I am never good enough. To admit that I still trust so little means admitting that once again I am not good enough. I have not lived up to the standard I thought I had achieved or could achieve.
But something about this seems incorrect to me. Jesus Christ does not condemn. He would not heal a person and then remind them sternly how little they had been without him. Even in reminding people of who they had been before, he always emphasizes the fact that now they are set free. All that matters now is his love.
I sometimes fear that being set free means giving up things I want or, worse, things I need--and things I happen to think are very basic to the experience of happiness. And isn't happiness a right? I do live in America. Why should I lay aside my hopes and dreams for some abstract being who apparently cares so little about my life and so much about His own agenda? Yet I see this question written down and am completely appalled that it has come forth from any part of me. How could I doubt His love for me? How can I not see how He has been faithful to me through all of these years? How dare I question whether He cares about the details of my personal life?
Yet I have been hurt quite a bit, and those hurts are apparently the fuel for the fires set about by the doubter in me. I've tried quieting the doubts, going on as if they did not exist. This got me nowhere except further into the feelings of bitterness and hopelessness. All I can do now is confess the doubts and ask, "Help me with my unbelief," knowing that He is merciful and did not refuse anyone who came to Him with an open heart.
Being set free by this kind of God doesn't mean bitterly sacrificing my needs. It means willingly sacrificing them because God knows what I need and would never leave me foresaken, even if He did allow me to be tested. The hurts of the past would cease to be signs that He had refused to show His love for me and would become opportunities for Him to fill up my emptiness with His love and to transform me by His grace before the eyes of a world that expects me to be as bitter as the next person.
What keeps me from accepting this freedom? What kind of failure am I afraid of that leads me to believe it is just easier to remain in the confines of the current spiritual state?