“Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways behind and you will live; walk in the way of understanding.” ~ Proverbs 9:5-6
For those who come of Christ, who are willing to be nourished by the bread of his Word, and to drink the wine of suffering that must come in following him, and who have learned the grace of regular repentance, a glorious destiny awaits – that soul will come in time to look more like Christ.
You’ll begin to walk in the way of understanding. To “walk in” something means that you’re now comfortably settled in with it. It’s become second-nature to you because it’s now a part of you. It’s the very essence of freedom.
When you boil it all down, Christ’s came for just this reason – to liberate us. “If you hold on to my teaching you will know the truth and the truth will set you free,” Jesus said (John 8:32). The apostle Paul said in Galatians 5:1: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”
To have sin, any sin, roaming inside of your heart, uncaged and ravenous, is as far from freedom as you can get. To have your soul ruled by greed, or lust, or fear, or unforgiveness, or jealousy, or any of a thousand sins wraps you in terrible chains. The beauty of knowing Christ is that his intent is to break those chains, one by one.
When you boil it all down, Christ’s came for just this reason – to liberate us.
But to reach this place, there are two things about sin you must understand. Your sins must be covered through repentance (which we talked about last time), and they must be unlearned through training.
“Train yourself to be godly,” Paul counseled Timothy (1 Timothy 4:7). Jesus died to cover your sins and provide forgiveness. But he also died to give you an opportunity to learn another way to live. And Jesus promised to train you, to teach you, and to show you how. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden…Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-30). The operative phrase there is “learn from me”.
Freedom then comes through training and discipline. There’s no other way to get there. If I could boil it down to a few steps it might look like this:
Freedom then comes through training and discipline. There’s no other way to get there.
Step One: Develop the discipline of meeting with Jesus every day in prayer and the Word, and weekly through fellowship.
Step Two: Pay close attention to what you are hearing, reading and learning. Learn to listen! In those messages, themes and verses will break through to your heart. Many of these will be the Spirit of God coming to you, pointing out where you need repentance and training.
Step Three: Begin to push back against the behaviors and attitudes that God is bringing up. This is the part of your healing that will seem painful. It’s easy to do what you’ve always done. Doing it God’s way will seem strange and unnatural at first. You can’t do this part alone! Reach out to mentors and spiritual advisors to whom you can be accountable.
Step Four: Celebrate your small wins, and brings your failures (and there’ll be many at first) to the cross.
Step Five: Press forward. Don’t give up. Continue meeting with Christ and his people. In time, the tide will turn, and you’ll notice a change is happening.
Step Six: Resolve to continue meeting with Christ, till the day you draw your last breath. Because once you’re “walking in the way of understanding” in that one area, guess what? It’ll be time to move on to your next lesson with Jesus.
Step Seven: Never forget that all of this is possible because of the amazing grace of God. Never get too proud of yourself or to down on yourself. Never get too jealous of others for being “better than you”, or despise others for not being where you’re at. There’s a Cross between us all. Since all of this is possible because of the grace of God, take joy in the journey and worship all the way home.