Having a willing heart is a foundational key to a lifestyle of freedom. As you will see in my personal story, I started my journey toward freedom with only a tiny bit of willingness in my heart, but eventually it grew toward a completely willing heart. These keys to living free that I am writing about are very personal to me, so as I share the principle, I will also share personal reflections. Be sure to read the companion article The Key to Living Free – Having a Willing Heart.
Willingness is very important because God will not violate our will. As we grow in our willingness to be free, it is us giving God an invitation to work in our heart and life.
If you have never struggled with addiction, you might not understand the dilemma of being torn between your sin and the freedom that is available through Jesus. However, I think most can relate to the temporary pleasure our sin, habits and indulgences can bring us even if we know that those same activities do not honor God. With addiction, it is the same principle but on a larger scale; not knowing if we can truly live without the addictive substance or activity.
There may be a bit of pleasure for a season in our sin (Heb. 11:25), however, as believers in Christ; our truest, deepest joy comes in honoring Him in what we say and do; a lifestyle of freedom.
During a time when I was still living my addictive lifestyle, my therapist obviously noticed my lack of effort toward freedom. He asked me a significant question that I now believe was a catalyst that turned me from the depths of my addiction toward a lifestyle of freedom. He asked me “Are you willing to be free?” I thought for a moment, and responded “no”. Plain and simple. There was such a love-hate relationship with my addiction and truly I did not know how I could exist without it. My therapist’s response took me by surprise and was life-changing for me. He then asked me, “Are you willing to be willing?” And I said “yes!” He asked me if I would pray as often as I remembered for God to take my little bit of willingness and give me a completely willing heart.
I did ask. God did answer.
The change in my life was not immediate; however, it was a necessary key in unlocking the door to freedom in my heart and my life. I was then able to move forward, and I saw gradual improvements in my recovery process. I attribute that progress to those prayers I prayed for a willing heart. Not only was the actual prayer important, but the fact that I was opening the door of communication and talking with God was also very significant.
If you are challenged by this key of having a willing heart, I urge you to go to God and give him the small amount of willingness you may have, and ask Him to give you a completely willing heart. Ask, and keep asking. Matthew 7:7-8 tells us “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
The ongoing, intimate relationship you can experience with Jesus will give you satisfaction beyond what any sin, habit, addiction could possibly give you.