By Tommy Willis
What we often don’t realize is that we have the key to unlocking the prison we are in. Jesus says:
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev 3:20).
Keep in mind that God is talking to believers here in the above scriptures; these were messages to the churches. And they have been there for admonishment to believers for the last almost two thousand years; God made sure they were recorded for brethren to read in the last two thousand years.
All too often we in the Churches of God have centered on doctrine—to the point where we often praised the doctrine we preached above the living God. As we went about it this way, many of the important age old teaching of the Bible, such as the above admonishment, got put into the background.
God’s people do not become free just by learning things about the Bible, because the written Word was meant to have us build a relationship with the Living Word. Many don’t see that we are our own jailers. And to have the freedom necessary we need to not only learn of the facts involved, but learn to build up a relationship with the Living Liberator. It is then we will have true freedom. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).
Through your personal relationship with Jesus Christ, He will teach you to become free from the confines of public opinion. You won’t cling to the status quo, but will let God teach you to blaze your own trail under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He has to do the work, for without Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5); but He will give you the freedom to function.
If we allow it, the peer pressure of the world can sap our identity; we can lose the unique individuals that we are. We need to stop and ask ourselves, “Is this the will of God? Is this what I want?” If we don’t slow down to examine ourselves this way, then we may wind up living the life that others have decided for us. We will think it is our own decisions, but it will merely be an extension of a family member or some leader in the church organization that we are a part of.
We need not only to become grounded in who Christ is and what we are in Him, but also come to know ourselves. We are children of God; we have our identity in Royalty. We belong to the King of Kings. And we can approach the very throne of God to come before Him with our request as His own children (Heb 10:19; 4:16). This is why He tells us to come boldly before the throne.
The unexpected disappointments of life are sure to come, but these are some of the very things God uses to draw us to Him. It is during the hard rough times more than ever that God teaches us to look to Him. Learn to spend more time in that throne room; God says He will give us the help we need as we learn to go to Him in prayer as we should. The above scriptures promise us this.
God tells us that many Christians will become offended and turn on one another (Matt 24:10–13). But God will teach us not to become offended and hurt—He will teach us not to take things in that personal hurt way the world does in getting their feelings hurt when things don’t go their way. Read the above scripture; you will see that many (not a few) will become offended and hate one another. “But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (verse 13). Here we see the connection of not becoming offended and enduring to the end—no small accomplishment!
But if we learn to build up our personal contact with Jesus Christ and stay with Him, then He will be there to help us react with His mercy and compassion when others turn on us. We will learn not to become offended, but will react with His love in all matters. You will not be judged by what others do to you—but your reaction to them. If you will stay with God’s mercy and forgiveness and don’t judge them spiritually, then God will have you stay in focus. You won’t be among those who become offended.
God will teach us the above freedom. The freedom He offers us is through the mind and attitudes of Christ that He will instill inside us. We will then be free from these attitudes that enslave us. We can handle all that comes our way by His grace, but He will not force us to build up that relationship with Him. We must seek Him diligently and get to know Him.
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).