But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:16-17 NLT
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When we hear the word freedom, most people think of “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” Essentially being able to do what we want, when we want, no rules, etc. Another definition of freedom to consider, one that is often overlooked, is “the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.” I want us to specifically think about this from the viewpoint of our mind. Approx 18% of the US population of adults suffers from some type of anxiety disorder (including depression). That number increases to 25% in children. Another 15% of the population is determined to have some type of personality disorder, including OCD, narcissism, antisocial, etc. These numbers seem high but are not surprising. Probably higher actually. I wonder if they include people who never actually talk to a doctor or get diagnosed. Like, do these numbers include people who are holding onto anger and bitterness? Do the numbers include people who sit in jealousy and envy? Do the numbers include those who loath in self doubt and insecurities?
And we should be concerned.
Too many of us are not free, in our minds, because we have created this reality (false reality) that keeps us imprisoned and enslaved to ourselves. We can’t progress, reach our goals, maintain relationships, jobs, etc. because we are stuck.
In 1992, R&B group, En Vogue, sang a song “Free your mind”. One line always plays in my mind – Free your mind and the rest will follow! Grant it, when I was 7, the song was just catchy. All these years no one explained to me it’s true meaning. The song was targeted towards racism, in hopes to get people to think differently. The premise, though, is clear, and valid – If you free your mind, you can expand your thoughts. You can be open to other perspectives. You can see things that you have never seen and experience things you have never experienced. But only if you let go of preconceived notions and internal inhibitions.
We have to get to a point of freedom – so we can progress personally and spiritually! How can we expect to help someone else when we can’t help ourselves? How can we be effective in ministry, on our jobs, with our families, if we are mentally trapped and tormenting ourselves?
We trap ourselves because we don’t feel adequate. We compare ourselves to others instead of having confidence in our own lives and faith in God’s purpose
We enslave ourselves because we hold onto the past. How someone treated us. How things used to be. Then we become angry and bitter because we haven’t dealt with the changes.
We imprison our lives because we do not equip ourselves to move forward. We seem to have stable jobs and families but we haven’t done the internal work.
We are not free because we say yes to things we should say no to. And we say no to things that we should say yes to, because we don’t have time, because we say yes to the wrong things.
We are stuck in redundancy, not able to move in purpose because we are holding onto guilt and shame. Even though God’s already forgiven us.
I’m sure we have seen signs of this mental entrapment. Either in ourselves or in others. Anger. Bitterness. Inconsistent. Unhappy. Rude. Messy. Etc. And unfortunately, people don’t seem to be bothered by this dysfunction. Society even plays into it! Reality TV is ever popular. Clap backs are encouraged. Tension and attacking others is expected. Here is the part we miss though: it appears to me like there is a direct relationship between this this dysfunction (entrapment) and our relationship with Christ (or lack thereof)…The reality is that the numbers I quoted above are on the rise…while church attendance and Christianity are on the decline. We claim to not need organized religion, we can be spiritual on our own… the results and evidence are showing us otherwise though.
But there is hope…
The key text reminds us that when we come to know God, the veil that keeps us from seeing falls away. Coming to know God by spending time with Him, listening to Him, connecting with His people. Trusting Him. As we grow in relationship with God, there is should be a sense of actual freedom. The veil is torn, the entrapment is released. Because I am in relationship with God, I don’t have to be angry or bitter. Because God loves me, I don’t have to be insecure or feel inadequate. Because God made me, I can walk in confidence, freely moving in purpose. Even when I may not be clear on His will, I can trust that God is in control. There is joy in the journey, but we have to tap into the gift of freedom that has been gifted to us.
My friends – Please understand that God is Love, Joy and Peace. Maybe it sounds cliché’ but it’s also biblical. He promises His Grace and His Mercy. With this, we should find Hope (Titus 3:7). God never promised this life would be easy, but He promised that if we hold His hand, He won’t leave us (Heb 13:5). It’s time to let go of the stress and mess and grab hold of God! Free your mind, the rest will follow!
#befree #spiritualmaturity #tapin #befree
Peace. Blessings. Love.