Don't you find it interesting how every year we set aside time to come up with new resolutions and rhythms, yet we rarely make it through the year fulfilling them? We somehow always end up in this habitual cycle of casualty, where our resolutions so easily become casualties. It almost seems like resolutions produce repercussions that often leave us discouraged, weary, and hopeless.
I am tired of seeing resolutions and rhythms and promises and declarations fade away like autumn leaves in winter, like smoke in thin air, like our unprayed prayers. If we truly have the same power that rose Jesus from the grave living inside of us, then we ought to see what we declare, come to be.
A few years ago, I decided to abandon resolutions and began to pray for one specific declarative word to cling to for the year. As 2018 was coming to a close, the Holy Spirit spoke to me clearly and revealed that my word for 2019 would be: FREEDOM. As the Holy Spirit began to unveil the truth of freedom to me, I came across Galatians 5:1 and everything changed for me. What I thought would be 2019's declarative word FOR my life, became a declaration word OVER my life.
"So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law." (Galatians 5:1).
Notice how Paul commands us to ensure that we "STAY FREE." That's a statement that requires action on our end, after action on God's end. Freedom is first and decisively God's work and we are radically dependent on Him; however, our efforts follow His initiatives and enabling. Christ came to set us free, but we must grasp the truth that the enemy is after our freedom in Christ, so it is essential that we fight to stay free. The very power and authority that calmed the sea is the very power and authority that sets us free and that authority resides in us. It speaks when we speak. It moves when we move. It goes where we go. Your life will change the moment you realize that the power of the cross didn’t remain on the cross, but now dwells INSIDE OF YOU! And once you are truly set free in Christ, you become dangerous to the kingdom of darkness.
God has a unique calling on each and every one of our lives and we cannot afford to go back from sonship to slavery. We cannot afford to entangle ourselves with the very chains Christ came to set us free from. We cannot afford to live bound by lies and we surely cannot afford to believe any words that our Father did not say. We must be set free and we must stay free.
AND ONCE YOU ARE TRULY SET FREE IN CHRIST, YOU BECOME DANGEROUS TO THE KINGDOM OF DARKNESS.
HOW DO WE STAY FREE?
1. Renew your mind
Romans 12:2 states, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is -- His good, pleasing and perfect will."
What if staying free simply started with us allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us by renewing our mind? In Judges 6-7, I see how God propels a man from his pit into His purpose by simply renewing his mind and tearing down his strongholds. God instructed Gideon to tear down his strongholds (anything in opposition to what God wants us to believe: mindsets, value systems, or thought processes that hinder growth) but to also replace those strongholds with proper kinds of altars (Judges 6:26). There are many of us whom Christ has come to set free, yet are still bound by the lies our fallen minds have been wired to believe. In 2019, we have a year of freedom from strongholds. Allow God to rewire and renew your mind to believe rightly about who He is and who you are. It is then that you will be given the stamina to stay free when opposition, deception, temptation, and evil comes. We will not be like Eve in the Garden of Eden.
2. Fight right
The truth and the reality is that the enemy is after your freedom. He knows that once he can get you to enslave yourself yet again, you will remain ineffective in the Kingdom of God. I'm no expert on faith but what I know to be true is that an enslaved human is no threat to the kingdom of darkness. The enemy is desperate to steal glory that never belonged to him. He knows that if he can get you to exert energy to fight in your own strength, you will lose every single time and run back into the chain of defeat, failure and hopelessness. But see, what the enemy doesn't seem to know is that a renewed mind knows how to fight the good fight of faith. If you want to win God's fight, then you can't fight like the world, you have to fight like you've been trained by the Victor Himself.
Satan always attacks our weakest spots first. In Matthew 4:1-11, when Satan approached Jesus to test Him in the wilderness, he was aware that Jesus had been fasting for 40 days -- no food or liquids. Satan knew Jesus' body would have potentially been weak and His stomach would have been craving food. I find it no coincidence that when Satan approached Jesus he knew to begin with the topic of bread. Jesus was human and could have fallen for the enemy's trap, but Jesus did not fall for the enemy's trap because He knew how to fight right. Anytime the enemy came to test Jesus, His fighting words were, "IT IS WRITTEN" (Matthew 4:4).
Jesus Himself quoted the Word of God and won every battle. If we want to fight right, then we must get equipped. The enemy will come and attack your weaknesses this year in attempts to crush your freedom, but you must choose to stay free and fight right. Get in God's word and let God's word get in you. We are in a time where the enemy is desperate to keep us bound, we must fight to know the words of the One Who set us free! John Piper said it best, "Satan devotes 168 hours a week to trying to deceive you. Do you think you can maintain a renewed mind with a 10-minute glance at God's book once a day?" We ought to decide here and now that Satan will not know more about our Father than we do. 2019 is a year of fighting right. When you fight right, you fight natural battles with supernatural strength. When you fight right, you can't miss the target. When you fight right, you don't fight FOR victory, you fight FROM victory!
THE ONLY WAY TO FIGHT GOD'S FIGHT IS WITH GOD'S WORD.
It's time for us to fight right. Luke 3:8 and Matthew 3:8 (NLT) both say, "Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sin and turned to God." I wonder how often with our mouths we profess freedom, but with our actions, we nullify that same freedom. Let's make this a year of proving our freedom to anyone who has ever doubted it, including ourselves. 2019 isn't just a year of freedom. 2019 is a year of staying free! It's time for the world to know that we have been set free and that no matter what circumstance or temptation they may throw our way, we are deciding once and for all to stay free. Amen!