What is the true meaning of freedom in Jesus Christ? These three steps to living an emotionally free, healthy, joyful life in Jesus will help you see—and feel, and know, and experience, and live—in true emotional and spiritual freedom.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free,” says Paul in Galatians 5:1 (NIV). I like how Eugene Peterson says it in The Message Bible: “Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.”
Jesus set you free emotionally, spiritually, personally and even professionally. Maybe you know this intellectually—in your head—but you’re having trouble believing it emotionally, in your heart. And since your heart changes everything, you aren’t living as a truly free follower of Jesus. In other words, you can’t know the true meaning of freedom in Jesus until the penny drops from your head into your heart. But don’t despair, for I have good news! These three steps living in emotional freedom will lighten your load and brighten your path.
The tricky part of living a spiritually and emotionally free Christian life is, ironically, that it’s so simple. There is only one key or “secret” to living like you really are forgiven and free: receive God’s love. Meet His gaze, allow His presence, forgiveness, grace and love to penetrate your mind, body, spirit and soul at the cellular level.
Living in emotional freedom in Jesus is simple, and yet difficult. Why? Because our very nature fights God. We don’t know how to simply receive Jesus, to welcome the Holy Spirit, to dwell in the presence of the Lord God Almighty. He really is an all-consuming fire—and it’s scary to be all consumed!
But total surrender is the first and most important step to living in emotional freedom in Jesus.
3 Steps to Emotional Freedom in Jesus – Exodus 12
It’s important to define what “emotional freedom” means to you. Maybe you struggle with addiction, difficult relationships, shame and guilt, or grief. Maybe you hate yourself, or can’t forgive your parents or spouse. Maybe you’ve wandered into spiritually dark places and can’t break free.
Take a deep breath. You are on the right path! You may not find emotional freedom in Jesus overnight but if you stop and let God catch you, you will start seeing more clearly and living more freely. Just keep walking forward, one step at a time.
This blog post is part of my She Blossoms Through the Bible project; I’m writing an article for every chapter in every book of Scripture. Today’s passage—Exodus 12—is about the physical, emotional, spiritual and social liberation of Moses and the Israelites. Instead of diving into the details, I want to focus on one big idea: the emotional freedom that God wants us to live in.
1. Practice receiving God’s love and freedom
In Exodus 12 we learn that there is no freedom without sacrifice. The Israelites literally had to sacrifice an unblemished animal in a very specific way. God gave Moses a list of detailed steps that would bring them out of slavery in Egypt into the freedom of the Promised Land…but first, sacrifices had to be made. Work had to be done. Physical and emotional freedom was on the horizon but it required the Israelites to receive God’s instructions through Moses and participate in God’s plans for freedom. This was long before Jesus Christ’s sacrifice set us free, which means the Israelites lots physical work to do. They did…but we don’t. As Christians we don’t have to sacrifice an animal because we ourselves are living sacrifices.
How often do you sit silently in God’s presence? This is the first step to finding emotional freedom in Jesus Christ: sit quietly, meet His gaze, and allow the Holy Spirit to fill your heart, mind, body and soul. Daily, multiple times throughout the day. Silence, just you and Him. Not you praying or asking God for healing. Just learn how to be quiet and silent in the presence of Jesus—just like He would go off in silence and solitude to be with the Father. This is how you’ll receive God’s love and how you’ll be free emotionally in Jesus. This is how you can be a living sacrifice.
2. Participate with God!
I love how Jesus said, “Come, follow me” — and he always requires His people to actively participate in life with Him. God had lots of stuff for the Israelites to do in Exodus 12 and beyond. From the very beginning, God encouraged mankind to participate (which is why I kicked off this She Blossoms Through the Bible project with The Reason You Were Created – Genesis 1!) We were created to actively participate with God in His world, serve His people, work alongside Him to heal and love and share. Moses and the Israelites in Exodus 12 had lots of work to do…and so do we. But we who follow Jesus don’t have to work the way the Jewish people did. Jesus came to earth and died so we could be emotionally and spiritually free to participate in God’s plans for our lives and the world. This is such good news!
How are you participating with God in your life? Always, always, always start by reading His word (the Bible), sitting in His presence, and receiving His love. God won’t give you a detailed list of instructions for your life, but He will lead you forward one step at a time. If you don’t have a clear sense of His calling for a particular decision, relationship or activity, then do what makes sense. Don’t just sit and wait for “a word from the Lord.” Instead, move forward using what you have and know and think. Use your brains, talents, gifts, strengths, passions, curiosities. Living emotionally free in Jesus means taking practical, sensible, healthy action steps in your life. That’s what it means to participate in life with God! It takes practice, and it’s the most exciting way to live.
3. Find your kindred Christian spirits
How many Israelites did Moses lead out of Egypt in Exodus 12? Thousands. Hebrew Bible scholars aren’t certain about exact numbers, but one commentator said 1.6 million Israelites left Egypt to begin the journey the Promised Land. That number is disputed (as are most things in Jewish literature), but the point is clear: the Jewish people were a community. They were in community, a people of God, chosen to represent and glorify their Lord. They weren’t always physically free—and they often walked away from spiritual and emotional freedom to worship idols and false gods. The Israelites made lots of mistakes because they were simply human, but one thing is for certain: they knew the importance of community. Kindred spirits, tribes, clans, likeminded believers, togetherness. So did the Lord God, which is why He is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Who is walking with you in spiritual and emotional freedom? Jesus called you to be part of a community of believers because there is strength in numbers. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them,” says Jesus in Matthew 18:20. Find healthy Christians to be in relationship with. This is an important step to emotional freedom in Jesus—and it’s fun, too! If you find kindred spirits, likeminded folk, fellow believers who you can be honest and authentic with.
Two additional things that have helped me be more emotionally free in Jesus: 1) I practice contemplative prayer or Lectio Divina four times a week; and 2) I embarked on this “She Blossoms Through the Bible” journey. Reading and writing about the Bible has changed how I see God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. And this is changing my life.
“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.” – The Message Bible.
With His love,
P.S. Are you struggling to make a decision or find the right path in your life? Read an Easy Way to Stop Overthinking God’s Will for Your Life.