"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32) What does this really mean?
In our newsletter series on "Renewing our minds," we defined "truth" as our words and our deeds matching and becoming one. Jesus, of course, is the Truth because He is the Word that became the Deed. So, what I believe this Scripture is saying, is that the more intimately and fully we know Jesus, the more freedom we will experience.
God loves us so very much that He wants us freed - freed from our selves; freed from others' reactions, freed from our circumstances, and freed from the enemy's influence in our innermost man.
This freedom comes only by constantly renewing our minds - moment by moment putting off all the things in our flesh (our soul and our body) that are "not of faith" and putting on Christ. "I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered (or freed) me from all my fears." ( Psalm 34:4)
The American Heritage Dictionary says the word "freedom" means a state of independence or the condition of being freed from outside influences. Interestingly enough, that's the same definition the dictionary gives for the word "deliverance"-to set free.
Now, the freeing and the deliverance that we have been talking about over the last few months in our series on the "hidden chambers" is a process. It's a process of healing and renewal. And, it's something that we'll be in for the rest of our lives.
This process is made up of our moment-by-moment faith choices and is called sanctification. Sanctification is choosing to give over to God anything that's not of faith, so that His Life can come forth from our hearts.
Scripture tells us that if we are believers, Jesus has already delivered us (past tense) from the power of darkness. Read Colossians 1:13, John 10:27-29 and 1 John 5:18. What is necessary, however, and what we are focusing on here, is freedom from our fears, our insecurities, our hurts, bitterness, guilt, etc., that the power of sin ("law of sin" in our body, Romans 7:23) has used in all of our lives to control and cripple us. This freedom comes only from our moment-by-moment choices.
An Example: What Went Wrong?
A young man that I have known for years, and one who loved The Way of Agape, attended a healing and deliverance service. Afterwards, he boasted of being totally delivered from drug abuse. Three months later, however, he was fully back into a life laced with drug abuse.
I saw him one day and asked him, "Tom, what happened? You said you were totally freed. What went wrong?" "Nan," he said, "we're all looking for the easy way out (to be delivered instantly)." He went on, "There's no easy way out. It's only our constant choices that will allow us to remain free."
Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Center in Riverside, CA, points out, "It's the flesh that we need freedom from. We can't cast it out, we need to die to it. It's not the devil that makes us do it or demons." The Bible says, "To whom we yield ourselves as servants to obey, his servants we are." So, it's our own decision, our own choice, and our own responsibility to stay free.
I could easily stop choosing God's Way today and in a very short time, I would refill all the hidden chambers that God has so magnificently emptied in my life over the last 10-15 years. And, I'd be right back to where I started from. "For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in it, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning." (2 Peter 2:20)
Example: "I Had That Message Once"
I had lunch with a dear friend, several years ago, who had done this very thing. She had forgotten to make moment-by-moment faith choices, and she had allowed the enemy to "rebuild" old strongholds that had once been destroyed and cleansed. My friend had become discouraged and had begun to doubt God's faithfulness, because she was again experiencing things she had thought she dealt with years ago.
What she didn't realize was that because she had stopped "taking every thought captive" and she had stopped making faith choices, she was the one allowing new ungodly things to be reprogrammed back into her once-cleansed hidden chambers. So, it wasn't God who was unfaithful. She was the one who was responsible for re-filling her hidden chambers.
Another friend came up to me and said. "I had a hold of this message once." I asked her, "What happened?" She said, "It's too hard and I just let go." I agreed with her that moment-by-moment faith choices are hard, because they're continual and you can never stop making them. And, for many, it's just too high a price to pay. But, as I told her, it's the only way to Life in the Spirit.
Matthew 7:14 alerts us to this, "...strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
Transformation is a process that we will be in for the rest of our lives and, unfortunately, there's just no room for coasting-it's a moment-by-moment faith walk.
M & M's
Some precious sisters in Northern California call these moment-by-moment choices, their "M & M's." When I spoke there a few years ago, they not only gave me a box of M & M's, but they also made me a beautiful embroidered picture with a large M & M in the center.
James 1:3-4 says, "Knowing this, that the trying of our faith (these constant M & M choices) worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect (complete) and entire, wanting nothing." That's the transformation that God wants in all our lives.
Begin With Small Steps
So, begin with small steps. Take one thing at a time. Don't think God will cleanse all your hidden chambers over a period of days. How many years has it taken you to fill them? Give God time to expose and empty them in His Way and in His timing. You must just be "willing" to deal with the things that He brings up and He will do the rest.
A young girl came running up to me after class one time and said, "I'm so depressed. I've been praying and praying this weekend for God to show me myself and nothing seems to come. I guess it just doesn't work for me."
I told her, "Honey, praise God for the period of rest He is giving you. If you have asked Him to expose what He wants, then don't worry, He will! He just knows how and when to do it perfectly. Remember, it's not in our timing or in our way that this occurs. It's in God's perfect timing and in His way.
The exposing and the cleansing of our innermost man is God's responsibility! Our responsibility is simply to give Him permission to do so. If we have done that, then believe me, He will do His part.
Example: Have No Fear
We also needn't be afraid of how or when God will reveal these hidden things to us. We simply must trust Him completely, knowing that it's His Will for us to be freed.
A precious sister at a weekend seminar a few years ago was afraid of opening herself up to God because of some extremely painful things that had happened to her in the past. Ruth was terrified, but dared to trust God enough to give Him her fear and also her full permission to search her hidden chambers and reveal whatever He wanted to.
That night, Ruth's roommate awoke to find Ruth sobbing and crying out in her sleep. The roommate immediately got up out of bed and quietly came over to comfort her. However, when she got to Ruth's bed, she heard Ruth sweetly saying over and over, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus."
The roommate was so moved and so touched, that she knelt down beside her and began to pray and intercede for her. In the morning, when the two of them compared what had happened, Ruth said she knew that God had done a marvelous work within her during the night. She knew in her spirit that even while she slept, God had emptied some of the hurtful things in her hidden chambers.
When she got home from the retreat, her husband even noticed that something was different. He said her countenance was radiant and that he could tell she had let go of some "baggage" she had been carrying around for years.
So, we don't need to be afraid of how or when God will reveal some of the painful things of the past. We simply must trust Him enough to know that since He has made us, He knows the perfect timing and perfect way to do it. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind."
I'm convinced that we all desperately need this deep inner cleansing and healing in order to "know" God intimately. By this, I simply mean we need to allow the Spirit of God the freedom to search the deep, unchartered recesses of our soul and bring to light all that needs to be dealt with.
Now, we don't have to be cleansed of "all" the things in our hidden chambers before we can "know" God. That's not at all what I mean. It's going to take us a lifetime in order to do that and we still won't have gotten rid of all that's there.
What I am referring to here, is being obedient to God's Spirit, and as He reveals something to us, we must immediately deal with it and give it over to Him (using the four steps of the Inner Court Ritual that we talked about in our November newsletter).
With each thing that we hand over to Jesus, and with each hidden chamber that is emptied, we'll experience a closer intimacy with Him and more freedom to be who we really are.
Truly, if we know the truth, the truth will set us free.
Take One Day At A Time
There was a woman at one of the retreats years ago, who had some great advice for us all. This lady had a severely retarded child. She said that when she first found out her child was handicapped, she began to worry about what would happen when he began to walk. Could she handle him? Then, she said she began to worry about what would happen when he began school. And then, what about when he became a teenager? Adulthood, etc.?
She told us that a dear friend of hers gave her the best advice ever. "Take one day at a time. Don't think and worry about how to handle the future. Just allow God to give you strength and power to get through today."
That's good advice for us all. Jesus even tells us there's enough evil in one day to be concerned about without looking ahead. In other words, take one day at a time and deal with the things it brings. Don't look ahead to the next. God knows the perfect way and the perfect timing to reveal "truth." We just need to be willing to hear it and deal with it. God, then, will do the rest.
"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge [deal with] all disobedience...." (2 Corinthians 10:5-6)
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This article has been excerpted from Chuck and Nan's new book, Be Ye Transformed.