A little over a week ago, the Lord spoke something to me that left a defining mark on me. This simple revelation has forever changed how I see Him and how I see myself. It has set up a standard between me and the enemy where he can no longer bind me in lies and hopelessness.
We have been in this place. The place where we come before the Lord with our heavy weights and/or sin. We cry out in repentance. We ask for strength to let go and to turn away from these things that seem to keep us bound. We feel free in that moment. We experience this freedom anywhere from one day to possibly many years. Some never return to the heavy weight and the sin, while many of us do. Then the guilt settles in. The guilt causes us to withhold ourselves from the love of the Lord even though we know He is a good Father. Even though we know His kindness leads to repentance…we hesitate. It feels like we are in this perpetual never ending cycle of nearness and distance with the heart of God…
But what if what we define as freedom isn’t true freedom?
What if freedom looks different than we think it should?
The way we view freedom affects the hope that we have…or don’t have.
I never knew how I truly viewed freedom until I met with the Lord 9 days ago. I was feeling overwhelmed with feelings of guilt. Over the past few months, my life has accelerated with things that have to be done. Both my husband and I have been under large amounts of stress, good and bad. Because of this, my time with the Lord has suffered. When I’m feeling stressed and not spending time with Jesus, I immediately give myself to my vices, whether it be watching TV, playing games on my phone, reading, etc. I am searching for whatever will pull me out of reality so that I don’t have to think about it and somehow relieve myself and be lazy. This opens a door to temptation in my life, to sin, to return to the things I used to do. Thus, the seeming “cycle” continues.
I came before the Lord, in hopeless tears. I had the IHOPKC live feed on in the background, trying to connect with His heart. All I could think about was a Scripture so I looked it up:
“For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice…O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:19,24)
When I read these Scriptures and everything in between, my heart broke and I wept even more. The Lord spoke and told me to keep reading into Romans 8. I have read Romans 8 many, many times. I have studied it, prayed it, repeated it to others and myself in encouragement; I have even sung it. But this time, it was as though I was reading it for the first time…
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)
(Paul then goes into talking about being spiritually minded and recognizing that the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the One who raised Him from the death lives inside of us,and how the Spirit is life because of righteousness. Then he goes into how His Spirit makes us sons of God.)
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:14-15)
(This leads into suffering, hope, the Holy Spirit helping us in our weaknesses, how everything works together for our good, being conformed into the image of His Son, being justified by Him, and forever loved by Him.)
….then the Lord spoke these words to me that are for you too!
“I am teaching you something. I am teaching you live by the Spirit. To put to death the deeds of the flesh. Consistency. To keep coming back to Me again and again and let My love burn away everything else. Until only I remain in you and you in Me. Look at Me. I am putting you in a position to always lift your head and look at Me. You are not defined by the sin but by the Spirit of My Son in you. You fall, I lift you up. It’s my discipline. You have been set free, My child. The fact that you can and do run to Me in confession and hope speaks of your freedom. You are not a slave, you are My son. Bondage shuts the mouth of hope. Hope is your song. The song I have given you. So arise and sing, keep looking at Me. This is the freedom you will lead others to. So lay aside the heavy weight, the sin, and I will heal you. You don’t hide from Me anymore as you once did. You are more open than you’ve ever been before. Do not forget to remember how far you’ve come. We move forward together. Your hand inside My hand. Remember, I have marked you for Myself forever.”
A seemingly simple revelation, but completely life-altering to me! I realized in that moment how I had always viewed freedom in the Lord. I believed that if I had true freedom and victory over something, then that meant I would never do it again. Time passing only proved this to me. But now in this time of my life, where I have returned to those things that once bound me, I have felt defeated, worthless, believing that there is something inherently wrong with me with no reason for hope. I still came to the Lord to repent and let Him love and forgive me, but I carried the guilt, wondering what was wrong with me…but this revelation has changed EVERYTHING!
In the midst of this, I was asked to sing on the Worship with Word set at the house of prayer that has been focused on Psalm 27. This Psalm centers around the hiding place, the secret of the Lord, being with Him, looking at Him, inquiring of Him, seeking and trusting Him, and being strengthened by Him. As I was reading this Psalm, which I have studied, prayed and sung numerous times as well, I saw it with fresh eyes in light of what God has spoken to me. I was so moved because I realized this Psalm was written by a true son of God. It’s a state of BEING. A heart who really knew God, who understood how God saw him and loved him.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes,they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident. One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord. Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” (Psalm 27:1-9)
Confident (in Hebrew) = to hie or go quickly for refuge; to trust, be confident or sure, be bold (confident, secure, sure), put confidence, (make to) hope, (put, make to) trust
Hide (in Hebrew) = hide as by covering over, protect, keep close, conceal
Pavilion (in Hebrew) = a hut (as of entwined boughs); also a lair — covert, den, pavilion, tabernacle
Rock (in Hebrew) = cliff, place of refuge
Sacrifices of joy (in Hebrew)= clamor, i.e. acclamation of joy or a battle-cry; especially clangor of trumpets, as an alarum
Hear (in Hebrew) = shema = listen, pay attention, heed
Cry with my voice (in Hebrew) = to call out to, properly, address by name, to call aloud
Have mercy (in Hebrew) = to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior; to favor, bestow; causatively to implore (i.e. move to favor by petition)
Answer (in Hebrew) = to eye or (generally) to heed, pay attention; by implication, to respond; to begin to speak; specifically to sing, shout, testify, announce
I love digging deeper into the Word with the Hebrew and the Greek. It opens up my vision and my heart to get more of the fullness of what is being communicated. This Psalm, as far as my research can tell me, was most likely written around the time of 1 Samuel 22, when David was still on the run from Saul who had just had over 80 priests killed because 1 of them helped David. This was a time where Saul wanted him dead, as did many others. With his enemies surrounding him, he still turned his eyes to God. He had a revelation and a deep understanding about who God really is, even then, in a time where the concept of God as a close, intimate Father was not evident in their beliefs or teachings.
The Hebrew word for “HEAR” in this passage is “shema”. A friend of mine is in the midst of a deeper study into that one word and it’s Hebrew letters, which each have their own origin and definitions. He told me that in the word “shema”, it speaks of the King, the Father who comes to meet His son, to embrace him, and put a robe around him, welcoming him in, welcoming him home.
When David was crying out to God, he saw himself in the hiding place, in the safety of His Father, set high upon a rock over his enemies, knowing that when he cried out, God would come to him! He knew his Father would have mercy (bend or stoop in kindness) on him and would answer (have His eye on and speak) him! Suddenly, I saw myself in that same place!
Psalm 32:7-8 You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.”
Psalm 91:1-4 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge;
Psalm 23:5-6 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
Romans 8:37-39 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
KEEP COMING BACK TO HIM. LIFT YOUR HEAD, OPEN YOUR EYES, AND LET HIM SHOW YOU WHERE YOU REALLY STAND. WHO YOU REALLY ARE. IN THIS, HE WILL TEACH YOU ENDURANCE, PERSEVERANCE, AND TRUST.
TRUE FREEDOM IS RECOGNIZING THAT EVEN THOUGH YOU MAY RETURN TO THE SIN, THE DISTANCE, THE BUSINESS, OR THE HEAVY WEIGHT, YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO TURN AWAY FROM IT AND COME BACK TO HIM. THE FACT THAT YOU CAN DO THIS PROVES THAT YOU ARE NO LONGER IN BONDAGE AND ARE TRULY FREE!
THIS INCREASES FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE IN OUR LIVES. IT’S NOT A LICENSE TO SIN. IT IS A TRANSFORMATION PROCESS THAT PRODUCES HOLINESS, RIGHTEOUSNESS, GOOD CHARACTER, AND HOPE. YOU ARE AS FREE AS YOU CHOOSE TO BE. BONDAGE SHUTS THE MOUTH OF HOPE. GOD IS YOUR FATHER WHO LOVES YOU, WHO WAITS FOR YOU IN THE SECRET PLACE. HIS FIREY HOLY LOVE WILL CHANGE YOU IF YOU BELIEVE AND RECEIVE. AND YOU WILL MOVE FORWARD IN A FREEDOM THAT WILL LAUNCH YOU INTO THE FULLNESS OF ALL GOD HAS FOR YOU IN A WAY YOU NEVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE!
Father, I pray for every person who reads this to receive this revelation. Let the revelation and understanding of true freedom take root in our hearts and produce the fruits of holiness, righteousness, joy, faith, hope, and love. Only You can do this. All we need do is say YES and believe. Holy Spirit, You are the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Christ that lives in each one of us. You are the Resurrection and the Life. Jesus, You are our Savior that set us free! You said whoever the Son sets free is free indeed! And we believe You, Lord. We have the freedom and hope of coming back to You, of being covered by You, of being lifted up by You, and being transformed into Your image. Let us be CONFIDENT in this! You are good, You are faithful, and everything You say is TRUE. We are no longer slaves. We are Your sons. Let us make a sacrifice of joy, a shout, a battle cry of declaration: I AM A CHILD OF GOD AND I AM LOVED! Father, gives us new eyes to see You with, to see ourselves with, that we would walk in the victory and in the glory that You have given us. Thank You for your patience, Your kindness, and for Your forgetfulness when it comes to our short comings. We love You, Lord. In the name of Jesus, amen.