Most people live with the scars and bruises from unfortunate decisions. Regret haunts our weary hearts and happiness always seems just out of reach. But, that’s not really living. As Christians, we know that our hope and healing is found in Christ. Yet there is always something holding us back from truly enjoying what we have in Him. Often, it’s the shame of our failures. I’ll venture to say that it’s our lack of belief.
We don’t believe we’re worthy to be whole. We think we still deserve the chains that sin once utilized to imprison us. We still believe the lies that tell us we will never be free.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.Galatians 5:1 NIV
Paul continues to tell us, in Galatians, what living “life by the Spirit” really means. (Verses 13-25) There’s a constant internal battle going on. The Flesh versus The Spirit. Our human nature versus the Spirit of God, which dwells within us as believers. But, “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires”, according to verse 24. So, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit”.
Proverbs 4 gives us practical steps we can take to both avoid the pain of bad decisions and also walk in freedom:
Keep your heart with all vigilance,Proverbs 4:23-27 ESV
for from it flow the springs of life.
Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.
Now, if we rely on our flesh, our human strength, to do all of the above we’ll fall every time. But, as we “keep in step with the Spirit” we can accomplish everything on that list. “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)
Because of Christ’s death on the cross, the power of sin was destroyed. He set us free. Now, by faith, we take his hand and follow his lead. If we let go of his hand, thinking we can “do it on our own”, we’ll stumble and fall. We can’t trust ourselves to get things right. We’ll only get it right if we rely on Christ’s strength, not our own.
We can “guard our heart” by daily consuming the Word of God, which will help us to “keep in step with the Spirit”. We can ask God for the wisdom and discernment we need to make healthy choices. And he’ll give it to us!
This is the “self-care” we need to incorporate in our daily living. This is walking in freedom.
Daily surrender means we no longer have to “struggle”. Saying “no” to sin means we can experience victory and joy. Believing what God says means that “Truth” has set us free!
A Little More About Summer
Summer is a graduate of Biblical Studies/Youth Ministry/Evangelism at Word of Life Bible Institute. Upon graduating she served at an inner-city community church for ten years where she gained leadership experience in the areas of youth ministry, women’s discipleship, worship ministry and small group ministries.
In 2002, Summer moved to Guatemala City as a single missionary where she was part of a team that started a ministry to prostitutes in the heart of the city. She also worked with a local children’s ministry as a fundraiser.
Summer’s final three years as a missionary were spent coordinating logistics for North American short-term missions teams which served with Guatemalan-based ministries that worked with the most marginalized of society.
Now married, Summer still resides in Guatemala City with her husband and two children. She is a stay-at-home mom, a blogger and serves in worship ministry at her local church.