In the beginning, It was the same with my walk with Christ ... it was not an instant conversion as you hear a lot of preachers talk about. I have grown in my relationship with God one step at a time. It has been a process of confusion, failures, doubt, anger, lack of faith ... and the list goes on ... yet still He has brought me through each step. As I dealt with the issues I have gone through, He has increased my faith and set me free.
Isn’t that what we all desire in life ... to be totally free? Are you totally free? Are you free of anger ... impatience ... addictions of any type, whether physical, mental, emotional ... free from all the things which hamper you from having a relationship with Him as He desires. Is there something still holding you in bondage? Give it over to Him. In John 8:31-36 (NKJ), it says, ”...’If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’”. ... They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will be made free?’” Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed’.”
Abraham’s descendants felt like they were free already and had no bondage in their life. Jesus basically told them we all have sin in our lives. Some more than others, but we are all sinners. Romans 3:23 (NKJ) says, "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". We have to be set free from sin daily. I believe there are types of bondages we need to work on to get rid of ... we need assistance to be able to overcome. Oh how I long to be set free. The Bible says in Romans 6:18, “And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” How awesome would that be? I want to be a slave to righteousness and serve Him wholeheartedly.
You may say to yourself, “I do serve Him wholeheartedly”! Do you really? If you are hiding a sin which is holding you back from being truly free ... whether a physical addiction or an emotional addiction ... or the inability to leave a bad relationship ... or whatever it is you may be a slave too, then you are not as free as He desires you to be.
You think, “I have a great relationship with Him despite the ‘little’ things I know I do that He does not approve of.” And, this could very well be true. I have an AWESOME relationship with Christ. I cannot imagine how it could get any better. Nevertheless, I know it can and it will once I rid myself of this addiction. I get excited just thinking about it. What I have now with Him is awesome, but then it will be even better. I am no longer content with just enough ... I want more! I am no longer content with where our relationship is ... I want to go higher. I want all of it! I am selfish! I want all of Jesus I can get, and He desires to give me more.
You think to yourself, “Why do I struggle as I am? If God delivered me from one thing, then why does He not deliver me from this thing that holds me back?” You say to yourself, “He knows my heart. He knows how much I desire to be free of this addiction. Why does He not just take the desire away from me, or if it is a different type of addiction, then why doesn’t He remove me from this situation or from this person.” This goes back to instant conversion which I mentioned earlier. God delivered me from some pretty heavy stuff when I first came to Him. I thought, “Wow! This is awesome. This is enough though ... I want to hold on to the rest for awhile." Then one day we mature in our walk with God to the point where we are ready to release the other ‘things or people’ which hold us in bondage. We pray and we pray ... God please remove this person because they are the issue ... God please get me out of this abusive relationship ... God please take these desires of the flesh away ... God please hear my cry and wave your magic wand and let it be gone! Please change my circumstances which disable me from changing. We think He should do just that ... wave His magic wand and we will wake up free.
If we did not have trials and challenges in our lives, how would we ever increase in faith? If He instantly took away all of our issues in life, then how would we ever believe Him during difficult times such as the loss of a loved one ... or any type of major loss!? BUT, when we give Him the little things, it prepares us for the bigger things. Each time we hand it over to Him, He delivers and our faith grows stronger.
You say, “Well, this is not an issue I am having. It is a physical addiction. Why can He not just remove the desire?” It goes back to our faith. I have been walking with God for over 16 years now. He has handled things in my life ... both small and large! He has pulled me out of situations I felt for sure He would leave me in. He has healed my broken heart during times of loss. He has given me favor when I did not ask for it. I could go on and on, but what I am trying to say is that my faith has increased ... trial by trial! Because of those trials, I now have the faith to know He will hear my cries again and deliver me. When I struggle with this challenge I am going through, I have enough faith in Him to know if I keep my eyes on Him ... though I still struggle ... He will pull me through. God’s Word tells us exactly that! We say we cannot overcome, and He says we can. He goes so far as to promise us victory if we will only endure ... trust Him ... cast our cares ... have faith in His Word. We keep doubting even though He delivers every time. When you doubt Him, then you doubt His Word. If that is the case, then tell me, “Who is the liar ... you or God!” When He said He would deliver us from anything, though we may struggle, He meant it! God is not a man that He can lie. Hold on to that truth and it will pull you out of the miry mud you are in. It is us that holds back. We do not believe wholeheartedly that He can deliver us. We reach points in our journey when our skin starts to cringe from the desires of the flesh and we turn back. Why turn back when we have gone so far? It is because we do not like to suffer. We have the mentality, “God does not love me or He would not allow this.” So wrong! He is right there beside you and He is allowing your faith to grow. He is making you stronger so you can endure for the tougher battles that lie ahead. Yes, there will be tougher wars you will have to go through. You cannot live in the world we do and not suffer. We, whether by choice or not, have allowed so much sin in this world it would be impossible to escape without enduring loss or pain or suffering of some type. If we do not allow Him to give us victory in the small trials of life, how will we ever rely on Him for the tougher battles?
I do not have total victory as of today. Though I have not really suffered up to this point, I know it is coming. I have been there too many times to think it is not. I am prepared. I have finally realized what it is to put on my full armor when I enter battle. I only came half-dressed before, but I am prepared for battle today. You ask ‘what is the armor’? Romans 6:10-18 (NKJ), “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one, and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end...”
Are you fully armored today?