We began this freedom series talking about some surface level stuff. Finding freedom in the every day. Being bold enough to follow after what you know you’ve been called to do. To know in your heart that you don’t have to be conformed to the image this world wants to lay upon you any longer. There are no gatekeepers, friends. You are free to live, love, and laugh. You are free to do work that makes you come alive and play like there is no tomorrow. You are free.
From there we started down a path that will eventually lead us to talking about how we can fight for our freedom. We have been given our freedom as a gift in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross - remember, freedom isn’t free. But as Galatians 5:1 reminds us, we get to choose whether or not we burden ourselves again with a “yoke of slavery”. We no longer have to be slaves to anything, but it’s going to be a battle to stay free.
So many of us choose to walk each day in the shackles of things that no longer have a hold on us. It doesn’t have to be this way, but it will be a fight.
You Might Not Realize It
Everything you experience every day in your physical world is real but there is a spiritual side to everything as well. Just because you don’t see something, doesn’t mean it’s not real. An example, perhaps?
You can’t see the wind, but it’s there, right? How do you know? It blows the leaves off the trees and around your yard. When you’re lying on the beach and baking in the sun, you feel that cool breeze as it blows over your skin. You can physically see and feel the effects of something that you can’t actually see or even touch.
Like Morpheus in The Matrix, I’m offering you two pills. You can either choose to stay in “Wonderland” where you believe that this physical world is all there is, or you can start to open your eyes to a world which up until now you may not have known existed. A world which, although invisible to our eyes (like the wind) can have an effect in our physical world.
Why Are You Telling Me This?
I offer this choice up to you because I feel like I would have failed you if I did not. You need to know. It’s really for your protection. Here’s why:
Living your life blind to your surroundings is dangerous. It’s putting on your noise cancelling headphones, closing your eyes, and walking down the street as a war is going on all around you. You can’t see or hear anything - which might be great for your adrenaline levels - but it could prove lethal for you.
It’s Little Red Riding Hood sweetly whistling a tune and picking flowers, all the while not knowing that a wolf is stalking her. She’s cute, but the whole time she’s in incredible danger.
If you’re on the outside of these stories, what’s your reaction? If I see the first dude walking down the street in the middle of the war, I’m yelling at him to get down. Waving my arms and jumping up and down. Maybe I’m risking my life to tackle him to the ground.
Tell me the first time you read the story of Little Red Riding Hood you weren’t shouting in your head “Look out! There’s a wolf! Danger!”
If we see something, we should say something. That’s what I’m trying to do here.
Take all of the things that we’ve been talking about, all the things that keep you locked up in your prison, and kind of step back from them. Give yourself permission to look at all of the things you’re experiencing in your life from a little higher viewpoint. As you do, you can begin to see things a little differently. You can begin to see patterns and ideas that you hadn’t seen before.
You can begin to see that you have an enemy and that you are at war.
Yes, at war. Again, perhaps some examples would help?
You happened to get a major migraine headache just as you were about to head out the door and go to church? Literally as you were about to leave. Do you think that’s an accident?
When you know you should be writing a post about how everything is spiritual and exposing a world to people and all of a sudden you are so overwhelmed by work that you don’t write anything at all … doesn’t that strike you as funny?
Do you think that the “night terrors” that throw your small child into convulsions are just the manifestations of some sort of dream? No, that’s an attack. On your child, on you, on your family.
Not to sound overly dramatic here, but you are being hunted dear friends. 1 Peter 5:8 says:
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Do you see that word? DEVOUR. That is not a nice word. You are being hunted with the express purpose of your complete annihilation.
So What Do We Do?
We talk about “God”, a “higher being”, the “big guy in the sky” as some sort of ethereal thing that exists somewhere … maybe. We talk about Satan in the same way. God, but opposite. We talk about angels and demons and we say we believe in these things. But do we? Do we really live our lives as if these were real?
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
– Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
Because this war is spiritual you don’t necessary see it with your eyes, but you do see it manifest itself in your life. Maybe no one is physically shooting at you, but your soul feels like you were in a fight yesterday. You know that feeling? When you wake up in the morning and for no apparent reason you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck? Yeah, that’s because your soul was beat up yesterday. You’re in a battle you didn’t even know about.
Your sin is a problem, but it’s not the problem. The problem is that you’re fighting a battle against an enemy you can’t fight in physical hand-to-hand combat. If it was a physical enemy you would defend yourself. But your enemy is not physical. You’re fighting a battle against an enemy you may not even know existed and that you definitely can’t touch with your hands.
You wonder why you feel beat up all the time, like you’re losing ground at every turn in life? You wonder why you can’t break free from these sins that seem to be holding you down in your physical world? You wonder why the mantra “try harder” is not working?
It’s because you’re in the midst of a spiritual war, not a physical one, and it’s kicking your butt.
But there is good news. You can fight your enemy. You can win. It is possible.
Your real fight for freedom starts now.