Receiving the Gift of Freedom
By William F. “Billy” Holland Jr., DD.,C.ED.D.
The dreams and fantasies of freedom means much more than not being held with literal shackles and chains. True freedom comes when we willingly become a servant to God’s truth, which has always promised the wonderful joys of spiritual liberty. A fierce enemy of this freedom is the haunting guilt that attempts to steal and destroy the contentment, serenity and joy within the soul. Romans chapter 12 and verse 2 talks about allowing God to transform and renew our mind so that we can think His thoughts and live in His perfect peace that passes all understanding.
John Vance Cheney is quoted, “The happiest heart that ever beat was in some quiet breast that found the common daylight sweet and left to heaven the rest.” Life is filled with so many decisions and there are consequences attached to those we have made however, it is how we accept our past that plays a significant role in our mental and spiritual health. Yes, we all make mistakes and regret certain choices but in realizing that we cannot go back and “undo” our failures, we are humbled in the presence of a sovereign God to seek forgiveness. This sincere brokenness enables us to approach Him in repentance so that He can wash away our sins and the agony associated with them. Our scars are reminders of our frailty but if we refuse to seek His pardon we will miss the miracles and blessings that come with restoration and healing.
There is a huge difference between condemnation and conviction. Condemnation is throwing a “pity-party” because we feel sorry for ourselves, while conviction from the Holy Spirit is used to instruct and explain the reasons why things happen and inspires us to improve. I was visiting a former pastor the other day that lives in a nursing home and I noticed something was bothering him and finally started talking about how guilt was beating him up. He said the doctors had told him that his bad eating habits had caused his strokes and heart attacks and he was blaming himself for being in such bad health and now confined to a full-time care facility. He went on to explain how his wife comes to see him regularly and they both cry because they miss each other so much and cannot do anything to reverse the damage. Staring at the wall he declared that if he could go back in time and have another chance, he would eat right so that his life would not have turned out this way. It was very sad but he was thankful they had 55 great years together and that is something to rejoice about. We will have regrets but knowing that God will forgive and forget allows us to dwell on what is true and lovely as He covers us with His glorious peace and rest.
In Revelation 12:10, we find a title given to the devil referring to him as “the accuser of the brethren” which reveals how his favorite warfare strategy is to criticize, curse and blame. If we do not develop a discerning spiritual filter that can help us recognize where these negative thoughts are coming from we will remain incarcerated to discouragement and depression. The next verse reminds us there is a way to resist and overcome these attacks and that is through the testimonies of our faith and the blood of Jesus – The Lamb of God. I am reminded of an old poem I heard once about choosing what we think about. “Our mind is a garden our thoughts are seeds – we can grow flowers or we can grow weeds.” Determination and self-discipline are like mental muscles that will only be developed with a regular exercise of prayer. We can truly be set free from the misery of guilt because God has graciously given us His holy truth that breaks the chains of misery and hopelessness forever.
Dr. Holland lives in Central Kentucky with his wife Cheryl, where he is a Christian outreach minister/chaplain. Each week look for his faith column, “Living on Purpose” to find thought provoking messages of inspiration, hope and encouragement. For more information, visit: billyhollandministries.com.