Remember The Good Old Days: Hebrews 10:32
“32) But Remember the former days, when after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of suffering,”
If you are not careful, you can become like the church in Ephesus that was religious but drifted away from Jesus as its first love. (See Revelation 2:2-5) Jesus called them to repent and return to the deeds they did at first. He called them back to the good old days!
The slip into complacency often creeps up on us. A small sin here or there that is not dealt with. Anger not quickly forsaken or lustful thinking that leads into fantasy and an excursions into pornography. A few social drinks now and then and one morning you wake up back in your addiction. It wasn’t your plan, but suddenly the trap springs and you are caught in your iniquity. Beware, you are at the verge of falling back into bondage worse than before you came to Jesus.
According to Ephesians 4:20-24, coming to freedom over sin and bondage is a process. It involves putting off the old self, renewing your mind with truth and putting on the new self. This process places you on a journey of spiritual growth and maturity that leads to an amazing promised land in the Spirit and sweet fellowship with God.
I am not talking about sinless perfection or self righteousness. I am talking about freedom from sin and bondage accompanied by sweet communion with God, continual illumination from the Holy Spirit and joy inexpressible.
I am referring to the surpassing value that Paul found in knowing Christ Jesus His Lord. ((See Philippians 3:7-11) It is the point at which old things have passed away and new things have come. Call it what you want, but spiritual freedom, maturity and walking in the Spirit is the goal of every believer.
Many Christian’s start well, but get distracted along the way. They are like the children of Israel that departed from Egypt with great zeal only to spend forty years wandering in the wilderness. That need not be your fate. Spiritual freedom is within your grasp, but you must repent of your sinful ways and resume your journey with Jesus Christ.
I want to point you to the surpassing value of freedom, uninterrupted fellowship with God and walking in the Spirit. But first, I want to take a moment and expose the consequences and high cost of sinful living in the life of a believer. Let me share a very abbreviated list:
Sin grieves the Spirit of God. (Ephesians 4:30) Don’t let the sun go down on your anger or broken relationships. Sin interrupts fellowship with God. (1 John 1:5-7) Walk in the light as He is in the light. Sin forfeits spiritual freedom and leads to fleshly bondage. (Romans 8:6-8 and Galatians 5:13) Walk in the Spirit and not the flesh. Sin feeds a carnal mindset and blocks spiritual maturity. (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; Hebrews 5:11-6:2) Move from milk to meat. Sin shifts the inner compass away from godliness and onto worldliness. (1 John 2:15-17) Guard the affections of your heart.
Recently someone asked me about my personal journey to freedom. I assured them that I am far from perfect and the journey has been long. But somewhere along the way my focused changed from leaving Egypt to entering the promised land. Let me explain.
As I started experiencing sweet fellowship with God and walking in the Spirit, I began craving more and more and more. It became a “Surpassing Value” to me. Soon my freedom and walking in the Spirit was worth protecting.
Trust me, I have been there. I have let anger, greed, lusts and episodes with pornography grieve the Holy Spirit, interrupt my fellowship with God and fill me with guilt and shame. It’s not worth it. The cost is to high. I cannot afford to live out of fellowship with Jesus. At some point, I answered the call to crucify my flesh daily in exchange for sweet communion with God.
I changed my focus away from trying to overcome my sinful ways to simply drawing near to God. I now cherish intimacy with God more than the fleeting pleasures of this world. I have not arrived yet, but the journey has become precious and invaluable. I understand what Paul meant when he said; “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)
I don’t know what your journey will look like, but at some point you need to forsake your sinful ways so you can embrace Jesus. He invites you into a relationship of a surpassing value that far exceeds any pleasure of this world.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global