"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10b, NIV)
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." (Galatians 5:1a, NIV)
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)
How do you feel after reading these scriptures? Do you feel encouraged? Or frustrated? For many years I would read these scriptures and say, “That sounds good, but I don’t feel like my life is full and free”. It was Easter 2010 when I truly accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. I remember weeping in church as the song “My Redeemer Lives” played during worship. I know with all my heart that I will go to heaven when I die. Yet, my life after getting saved did not reflect the life Jesus was offering. How is it that I’m saved, yet not free? I would encounter other Christians who have an intimate relationship with God, and I’m barely opening my bible. I was stuck in destructive sin patterns that were affecting my relationship with my wife and others. I finally reached a breaking point where I needed things to change. It was at this moment I began my journey to understand why I wasn’t living the life Jesus offered.
To understand why I wasn’t free, you need to know a little about my background. I grew up in a typical American home- divorced parents, one alcoholic parent, and physical and mental abuse. As a young boy, I endured tremendous rejection and abuse from the people who were supposed to love me and protect me. The heart of a child does not have the capacity to understand and deal with the pain from their childhood. Early on in my life I remember making the declaration that life is up to me and I could not depend on anyone else. In my heart, I was living like a self-reliant orphan, instead of a beloved son. All the pain from my past severely damaged my soul, and I needed healing.
One of the first things Jesus declares at the beginning of His ministry was He came to heal the brokenhearted and proclaim liberty to the captives. (Luke 4:16-21 NKJV) If Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted, that must mean that our hearts are broken and need healing. Many Christians today are not experiencing true freedom because they’ve never experienced Jesus’s healing to their broken hearts. Let’s be honest, this is a broken world filled with broken people. It’s impossible to get through this life without experiencing any pain or suffering. If you don’t learn how to deal with your pain the right way, it will come back to haunt you. Unresolved brokenness from your past will impact how you live and relate to God and others. Jesus stands ready to heal your heart, but you must be willing to let him in. This is harder than is sounds.
Most of us have been taught to move on and ignore our issues, or some of us are terrified to revisit those places from our past. I know some of you reading this have gone through horrendous pain and abuse. I want to encourage you to believe that Jesus can and will bring healing and restoration to your heart. Jesus said He would do it, and I’m living proof that He will.
So, here’s my question to you- How bad do you want to experience freedom in your life? What are you willing to do to experience the abundant life Jesus offers? I want to encourage you that your heart is worth fighting for. In my own journey, I decided to deal with the pain from my past. Thankfully God met me in my pain and has brought healing and restoration to my heart. I’m still on my journey, but thankfully the pain from my past does not influence my outlook on the future.
Friends, freedom is available but it will require you to take the first step. Be willing to do whatever it takes to experience the freedom Jesus offers. And your freedom is not only for you, but for those who you directly impact. Hurt people hurt people, and free people free people. God will use your pain as a platform to minister to others. This world is longing for God’s children to be revealed. Don’t settle for a mediocre Christian life. Don’t settle for destructive sin patterns. Fight for your heart, and then fight for the hearts of others!
P.S. - Pick up Dr. Connie Borden’s book “Saved, But Not Free”. In this book, she shares her path to soul freedom. She gives the readers a blueprint on how to be truly free. This book will be a guide to those who are struggling with soul freedom and want to be free.
Ray Panquerne is a board member at Totally Transformed Ministries and also holds the office of Treasurer for the ministry. He is a husband and father of two, and works as a Certified Financial Planner. Connect with him here.