[tweet_dis]The journey to freedom and a set of keys, what is the connection?[/tweet_dis]
Take a close look at this picture of keys. What do you see? There are many keys, all shapes, sizes and colors; there is an identification tag, and also a key ring that holds them all together. As I have contemplated the similarities between the principles of living free and this set of keys – there are many.
For ten years I have been on the journey to living free (see the previous article that defines freedom). My personal story is that I have come out of a life of sexual addiction to living a life of freedom; there are other areas of my life that I continually work on as well. Your story may not be one of addiction; however each of us have areas in our life that we need to grow in freedom. Whatever those areas are for you, consider them as you take a look at these keys to living free.
God desires us to live an abundant life, not one that is enslaved to addictions, habits, or things we know are not the best for our lives. The Bible tells us in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” God desires us to live an abundant life; a life that is extraordinary and far more than what is considered “common”.
There is always more to learn and ways to grow. I am in that school daily, and for the rest of my life, I will continue to grow in applying the principles I have learned.
In looking at the set of keys above, the uniqueness of the keys is obvious. They are similar, yet different. Each has its own distinct shape and color; each has an individual and unique purpose. Yet they are similar in their look and function. Each key opens a matching lock.
The reason for numerous keys is that we each have various locks. If the owner of this set of keys only had one of the keys, their access would be extremely limited. They may be able to start their car and drive, but they could not get in their home, open their suitcase, open their filing cabinet, get in their gate, open a desk drawer, or enter their office. Hmmm… one key does some good! It opens one lock; it is useful for that purpose. However it takes an entire set of keys to have complete access to all that is necessary in order to function effectively in day-to-day activities. A strong key ring is necessary to hold the keys together. The keys need a base, a connection point. We need the entire set of keys if we are to be fully effective.
The same is true for the concept of a set of keys being necessary for a lifestyle of freedom. Each single key has value on its own. Each key is important and opens a specific lock. Losing even just one key, hinders our progress and our access to total freedom. Yet, to have an effective process of recovery working in one’s life and the best possible opportunity for success, an entire set of keys is needed. These keys (principles from the Word of God) are not “steps”, but instead are a lifestyle, each working together with the other keys.
Look closer at the picture of keys. What holds everything together? The key ring! My favorite part of this picture! The sturdy, secure key ring holds each key in place. It is the strength, the foundation, the place where all keys are connected. God is the One who holds all things together through our personal relationship with Him. The key ring represents God; Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit. The keys may function on their own, but they are far more impactful and successful if they are tied together with other Truths of God’s Word. The Bible tells us in John 8:32 “that the truth will set you free” (NASB). Knowing and applying the truth of God will set you free. In reality the Truth is Jesus Christ, the Word, and all He is and encompasses. Every key is based in truth and it is effective when it comes together with His grace and love.
What about the identification tag? I find that very interesting on this key ring. Understanding our identity, who we are and whose we are, is essential to helping us to find and remain on the road to freedom. The understanding that we are forgiven, healed, and whole through Jesus Christ is imperative. We must come to know and truly understand that [tweet_dis]we are deeply loved by God, who created us[/tweet_dis]. He desires to be in intimate relationship with each one of us. Our identity is not in what we have done, but in Whose we are; we are His.
Jesus gave up His life so we all might find life and wholeness in Him. It goes back to a foundational teaching of the Bible in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (NASB)
This revelation of your value may be difficult for you to grasp hold of. It is difficult for most people to understand. It may take some time to realize the fullness of this truth, but once it is truly understood (not just acknowledged in our head, but received in our heart, it is life-changing.)
These principles I am going to share with you that I call “keys” are not new; they are Biblical principles. I do not dismiss the wonderful tried and true 12 steps that many teach in addiction recovery. They are scriptural and they have helped many. However, what I am going to share with you adds a unique perspective of “lifestyle”, not steps, they are very interwoven with each other depend on each other. These principles complement and enhance the 12 steps, they do not contradict them. I will share with you how they help me (and those I mentor and coach) this journey of freedom.
The following is a preview of some of the keys we will be looking at in the next few blog posts:
Before going any further, there are some definitions that will help you to better understand the application of these keys.
Let me define what I mean when I say “freedom”. When I refer to freedom, I am talking about a journey to freedom with the One who is truly free. It is a daily journey with Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us “… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…” This “throwing off” of the things that hinder us is the journey to freedom. We can only do this with His help and it comes through an intimate relationship with Jesus, in the strength He gives us each day, not our own self-determination.
I sometimes wish that freedom was a perfection we could attain here on this earth – I have often looked at the little red turkey poppers that pop out when a turkey is done and wish I had one of those that would “pop” and say “done”! However, that is not going to happen in this lifetime. That will only happen when Jesus Christ returns one day and we see Him face to face. Then and only then are our “poppers” going to pop out! Until that time, we are daily learning and growing through relationship with Him.
Let me define one more thing for you. The word “lifestyle”. Each of the keys I will mention are successful if they become a lifestyle. They are not a “step” in a process. It is important for each of these principles to become a lifestyle that we choose to live out of our relationship with Jesus (1 John 4:9). A lifestyle means a consistent way of life; we are committed to this way of life. Yes, we will mess up and we will make mistakes, however when these keys become a lifestyle, there will be quick repentance and a turning from the old ways quickly back to the new lifestyle of freedom. Our growth is not in a life of perfection, as none of us is perfect; our [tweet_dis]growth is seen in how fast we get up when we fall[/tweet_dis].
Remember, all of these keys (principles) are rooted in our ongoing, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. These are not keys that can be lived out by our own willpower or self-determination. The principles attached to these keys will become a lifestyle as we grow in our relationship with Jesus, the One who brings true freedom in our life.
Do you know Jesus? There is a difference between knowing about Him and knowing Him personally. He wants to know you very personally, even intimately. He loves you passionately and gave His life on a cross so that our sin can be forgiven, and we can come in to relationship with Him (John 3:16). Nothing you have ever thought or have done will keep you from this relationship with Him; He wants you to come to Him just as you are. Before going any further, if you don’t know Him personally, or have any doubts about your relationship with Him, take a few minutes right now and simply ask Him in your own words to forgive you of your sin and to come in to your heart and life. He will do it! You do not need any fancy words or formulas, just talk to Him – He hears you and He will answer you.
In the coming weeks, I will share some of the specific keys that I have found to be invaluable in my journey to living free. I invite you to join me on the journey to living free!
What are some of the keys on your key ring that you have found important? I would love to hear! Leave a comment below.
Originally posted in 2012. Edited and re-posted, September, 2014.
© 2014 Freedom Connection