Freedom. What comes to mind when hear or see the word “Freedom?” This week, this word has never hit me so hard on my head. You see, I’ve been a slave. I have had a stronghold. Oh, I could blame it on my 7-ness on the Enneagram Personality Test or the four letters that I can’t remember on the Myers-Briggs Assessment. Yes, my assessments on those are pretty accurate, but it doesn’t mean I have to be okay with it, settle with it, or say “That’s the way I am, so, let’s roll.” I am in need of freedom from things like impulse shopping and/or impulse eating. Freedom from two particular places that seem to just pull my car to them supernaturally. Has this happened to you?
So, I’m telling my peeps over at Lane Bryant and McDowell’s (I mean, McDonald’s; if you’re from the 80s, you’ll get it). Lane Bryant is basically the only place I shop. You know why? I have a credit card there. I can’t tell you the last time I actually paid cash for clothing there. The temptation comes when I get the notifications of the sales or I get sent those fun rewards checks (yay! free money!). And then, when I enter the store, there’s something about it. Something almost magical. I browse. I look around. I don’t try stuff on anymore because this is my place, I know my size to the tee. Up goes the credit card bill and up goes my guilt.
You may be familiar with the crazy cycle life can take us on. You do something, you have remorse, you feel guilty, you do another something that isn’t so healthy, you dislike yourself, you feel guilty and on and on and on. Along with the guilt from shopping, I have been a glutton with my friends over at McD’s. Y’all. French fries and vanilla shake? #lawd That is my guilty pleasure. My “I’m gonna have that on the way home, hide the bag, and still eat dinner, so nobody will know” guilty pleasure. This occurs once or twice a week. On top of my regular meals, mind you. I have just about made myself sick on some days. I don’t know what causes me to go through that drive-through. Remember what I said earlier? Impulse. That supernatural pulling of the car leading to places we shouldn’t be going?
This week I’ve been diving into scripture, been journaling, and praying a lot. I’ve repented. I’ve confessed to my husband (although he knows this is a weakness of mine and is full of grace). The thing is, now, instead of just confessing, I’ve asked my husband to really hold me accountable. I believe in regularly confessing my sin to my person. To Jesus. This is all part of sanctification process in our walk with Jesus. He is continually making us new, sanctifying us, resurrecting us, and making us free. Free from the things we find ourselves slaves to. Free from the strongholds. Free from the addictions. I thought I’d share what the Word of God showed me just today.
Paul tells the Galatians, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery…For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Chapter 5:1, 13). This hit me between the eyes like a hammer on a nail and here is the reason why. Christ has set us free, free from our sin when he willingly got on that cross and died for us. All of us. All of our sin. We can’t leave it at just that. We can’t sit there and say, “Ok, I’m free, now what?” When we do that, we leave ourselves to the temptation of falling into the same routine, the same slavery. We are to stand firm (Remember the last few posts on the Armor of God?) and not submit to the yoke of our slavery. You know what a yoke is, right? This is a wooden crosspiece fastened over the necks of two animals, such as bulls or cows, attached to a cart or plow, enabling them to pull together a load of some sort. And slavery? This is anything that we are enslaved to or captivated by that takes us away from the Spirit and presence of God. We could become enslaved to modern day idols such as, food, shopping, drugs, alcohol, sex, Netflix, make-up, diet, image, materials, or possessions.
This freedom given to us, has been gifted to us so we don’t have to remain or even submit again to that yoke of slavery. Paul goes on to tell us that we were called to freedom, yes, but to use that freedom not as an opportunity to the flesh. Our flesh is our desires for the things or modern day idols I listed above. These are the things that might give us a temporary feeling of satisfaction like a new outfit (or two, maybe three), an indulgence like French fries and a vanilla shake, or another episode on Netflix, because you’re nearing the end of the season, even though you’ve already watched five hours of the show. What are you a slave to?
God instructs us through Paul, that this freedom we have, is to be used to serve others. When I read this, it was as if I read it for the first time. I was literally telling myself, “Ouch.” I quickly learned that the freedom I can have, and do have, from my strongholds, my peeps at Lane Bryant and McD’s, I can use that to serve another. To serve others. I can use the money I spend to serve others. I can eat better treats to take better care of my body, so I can serve God and others. I can rely on the Holy Spirit and his power to help me stay free from the impulse-type things in my life. It turns out I wasn’t even consulting him when tempted with these things in the first place. It’s like I’m a zombie on a mission. I pray this is the end of this for me. I pray this is the last time I break up with LB and McD and whatever else tries to get my attention or heart or taste buds. Even if I fall short again, God’s grace is sufficient. And man, am I thankful. He continues to sanctify me, to make me new, to grow me, to mature me, to love me, to support me, and to give me his new mercies every day.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
YOU are free, my friend. You have been given this same freedom the day you decided to commit your life to Jesus. That freedom is still available if you have fallen off the path a bit, just like I have. And if you don’t know Jesus, the Son of God, I encourage you to get to know him. Get to know this God, that gave up his one and only son for you and for me, to allow him to die, willingly, for our sin, our past sin and our future sin. It didn’t end there though. Jesus rose from he grave three days later and left a helper for us, the Holy Spirit, to help us in times like this. That’s the beauty of it. That’s the wonderful grace. As we are being groomed, sanctified, we get to know Jesus in more personal ways, and he continually reminds us of this freedom, not in our worldly flesh, but the freedom we have to love. To love ourselves and keep us from that self-sabotaging talk to ourselves, and to love others as we love ourselves.
Yes, breaking up is hard to do but it is so worth it because we are set free by Jesus Christ. No more chains. No more shackles. No more slavery. No more idols. We are to “live as people who are free” (1 Peter 2:16). What will you do with your newfound freedom? What are you doing with your freedom? Are you using that freedom to serve God and his people? What do you need freedom from?
Hugging you so tight,
#tamsthoughts #coffeemugsandbighugs #slavery #freedom #setfree #free #nomorechains #nomoreguilt #impulseshopper #impulseeater