You were called to be free
This past week I was at Super Summer Oklahoma 2009 as a team leader. God moved amazingly... through me in the small group of students I led, but more importantly in me through scripture, prayer, and other Christians.
Since my high school years I have felt helplessly incarcerated by various sinful thought patterns and habits, and last weekend marked the end of that feeling, the end of my perceived (and therefore actual) incarceration. The Holy Spirit breathed these exact words into my soul after having read SO MUCH of the New Testament and having spent so much time in prayer and fellowship with other team leaders: "Hannah, you are clean. You are free. I have already forgiven you these sins, so stand up, stop trying to carry these burdens yourself, and live free as I have made you"
I know many people are skeptical when someone claims to have heard actual words from the Holy Spirit, but these words were so real to me (not that I actually received them through the physical aural sense... my mind repeatedly perceived them in some inexplicable supernatural way, and I am now failing miserably at recounting the experience with some degree of coherence).
Luckily, I know that these words ARE from the Holy Spirit, because they are deeply backed by scripture. The following are all the passages through which the Holy Spirit spoke to me and my specific situation:
- "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery... You, my brothers, were called to be free." Galatians 5:1,13a
- "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:22-24
- For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consist in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: 'Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'" Ephesians 5:8-14
- "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." Colossians 2:13-15
- "'Return, faithless Israel,' declares the Lord, 'I will frown on you no longer, for I am merciful,' declares the Lord, 'I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt... Return faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding." Jeremiah 3:12-13a,22
- "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" 1 John 1:9
- "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me" Psalm 51:10-12
- "I waited patiently for the Lord, he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." Psalm 40:1-2
- "Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord'--and you forgave the guilt of my sin." Psalm 32:1-5
I cannot articulate what happened this weekend, other than that I finally laid down the burden of the sin I had been choosing to carry around myself. Though before I would confess my sins to God, I would never give them up... I constantly held onto the guilt. I let the guilt define me, and let it be my excuse and justification for falling right back into the same sinful decisions and thought patterns. During the team leader training weekend, all the leaders and exec staff wore 5lb. ankle weights for 24 hours, and removed them as a symbol of leaving all of our hangups and burdens at the altar. I realized so much through that physical experience that I constantly reapply the "metaphysical" weight of my sin when I could simply be living in the freedom Christ died and resurrected to give me.
As a result, my self-talk is unbelievably different. Actually, everything is unbelievably different.
Posted on Sun, June 21, 2009
by Hannah Decker