Consider how differently you would approach your Christian walk if you viewed your salvation as being dependent upon whether or not you truly loved the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength in addition to loving your neighbor as yourself? I believe that this is the proper perspective to take in evaluating your spiritual health, the state of your relationship with God. Are you content with the level of your knowledge of God? Do you long for a deeper understanding of the full measure of His love? Do you believe in the freedom that He promises in His Word for those who fully surrender their hearts to Him, truly give their lives to Christ?
We all have wounds, we all have fears, and we all struggle to identify those fears and work to overcome them. Many Christians believe that they have experienced “freedom” since they have been told that if they “accept Christ as their Savior” they would be “set free.” However, unfortunately, this promise of man is void of the ever-important reality as to what is truly in one’s heart. For sure it is not lip-service that sets one free; it is believing the Word of God that does! God’s Word is the Truth that sets you free, and it is His Spirit that leads you to all truth and provides the power to set you free. But simply believing IN God does not set you free, remove your fears, heal your wounds, or result in experiencing the full measure of His love. Trusting in the Lord to do what He says that He can do is the beginning of removing those fears and the bondage that they bring. The level of “freedom” that one obtains is equal to the level of freedom that you seek and believe in. If you, a believer, continue to earnestly seek the Lord for growth and healing, you will continue to be transformed into His image more and more. If you do not genuinely desire to have the Lord refine your heart, reveal the sin (wall/barrier) that is currently preventing you from growing in His image, your spiritual growth will stagnate. This is God’s desire for us, that we come to know the full measure of His love, that we come to understand the freedom that exists for those who believe. But this level of knowledge (experiencing this freedom) takes work; and this is the point of the command that we continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling!
If the motivation behind your “seeking God” is simply to secure your salvation, then the motivation for you to grow in His knowledge ends upon the time that you come to believe that your eternal fate is secure. If the motivation behind your desire to seek God is to become like Jesus, to know His love, experience true freedom, and to “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called you heavenward in Christ Jesus” then you will continue to “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of you.” (Phil. 3:12-14) If your approach is, “I’m good, I have my ticket to heaven,” then I’m afraid that you’re missing out on experiencing the beauty of His love and the power and freedom that His Spirit can bring!
If you perceive salvation as something that you can “accomplish” by doing the silly things that we say and do, then you will assume that you have safely arrived at your desired goal without ever understanding God’s greater purpose for your life. It isn’t God’s will for your life that you meet the conditions put in place by man to supposedly “assure your salvation”, that gift is entirely in His court and it is only by His grace that you receive the victor’s crown. It is God’s will that you come to know Him, know His love, experience freedom from fear and brokenness, that is what He desires for you in this life! And it is only then that you can effectively live to the glory of God and serve His will. If you think that you have “attained salvation” but haven’t experienced the power of His Spirit to free you from bondage, then you haven’t yet come to know the Lord to the full measure that He desires for you to know Him.
There is always further to go, further to grow; the question is, do you desire to do so? (Phil. 3:15-16) While many Christians are content with where they are spiritually, many Christians desire to grow in their walk. For those who desire to grow, I encourage you to allow God to reveal what fears reside within your heart. It is tough for those who love the Lord to look at that fear as sin, but the truth is that that is exactly what fear is. It doesn’t mean that you are “deliberately sinning” in a manner that you need to feel godly sorrow for that sin so much as it is about being aware that those fears result from a lack of trust in the Lord, believing the enemy’s lies over God’s Truth! There needs to be NO guilt over this type of sin, rather simply be willing to allow God to work you through those fears until you have a handle on the wounds that opened the door for the enemy to plant his lies deep within the crevices of your broken heart. God desires that we live by Truth, not the enemy’s lies; and if we live in denial about the fears that we continue to live through, we are not able to thrive spiritually.
We are sanctified by God’s Word; His Word is Truth! (John 17:17) An essential component of that Truth is that God is love, and you cannot grow and understand the full measure of His love if you are still bound by fear. It does us no good to be in denial of our bondage, therefore we must be willing to do the “work” to overcome it. While we cannot attain salvation by works, we must do the work required to grow in the image of our Creator; and this is God’s desire for His children. Pursue that growth; therein lies your salvation! God’s Word commands us to earnestly seek Him; diligently striving to grow and mature in Christ. God’s Word never gives us permission to take our foot off the gas regarding the urgency in which we seek Him. (Matt. 22:37) He never says, do whatever your church or pastor says needs to be done for “salvation” and then take it easy in your pursuit of me and go enjoy the world and your life plenty! Yet that is exactly what results when you assure someone that they have done the thing or said the thing or believed the thing necessary for salvation… you remove the fire from beneath their feet!
God desires you to be free, free from the bondage of sin and the enemy’s lies. God desires that you come to know the full measure of His love. God desires that you continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling; that you diligently strive to grow in His image. You cannot grow in His image when you are holding onto fear, unwilling to humble yourself, and be vulnerable to the fear that currently prevents you from experiencing life and love to the full. Trust in the Lord; seek His guidance, direction, and healing. Desire to grow deeper and experience the freedom that overcoming unbelief and doubt will result in. Come to know why sin sits at the core of the fear that currently binds you and allow Him to lead you out of that fear and into Truth! There is a new level of freedom, joy, peace, humility, and contentment awaiting you… do you believe in His Word, His Truth, His love? If you think that you have arrived, you are denying His Word. Diligently strive to grow in His image, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling! (Ps. 139:23-24)
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