Have you ever found yourself enslaved to something?
Enslavement occurs for most of us at the level of habit. Liberation also takes place at the level of habit. There are two basic points of view that influence our choices. We can summarize the first with the phase, “The one with the most toys wins.” This is a way of life that focuses on acquisition.
The teaching rooted in the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Hannah, and Esther teaches us spiritual detachment. This way of life leads us to abundant life in God, a life of appreciation, enjoyment, and beauty.
What is the good life? The Lord wants us to come closer to Him and He will always give us the grace and means to do that. We need a pathway to lead and teach us. The pathway of harnessing the spiritual disciples to draw close to God are not a heavy task. They are easy and liberating when we do them, guiding us into an abundance of heart. The good life is contrary to the definition of the world; it is not about power, wealth, or status. It is a life of detachment leaving us free to enjoy everything while not being possessed and driven by anything.
Detachment is all about trusting and having absolute confidence in God. Detachment does not mean we will stop caring about material things; it just means that material things do not rule our hearts. God will show us the grace to discover what we really need to be sustained, without being concerned about whether we have enough, or if the person next to us has more.
“…The Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful,” (Deuteronomy 16:15). The spiritual disciplines help us grow in being able to detach from the things of the world and attach to God becoming reliant upon Him. The spiritual disciplines of guidance, submission, and service all contribute to developing inner confidence and peace.
“Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God,” (Psalm 90:1,2).
We can tend to think that when we become Christians our twisted ways of the past should just disappear. Negative patterns of thought and feeling may defeat us again and again. We can be naïve and underestimate the power of our habitual sin patterns. This is where we need the work of the Holy Spirit; invite the power of God to transform, and release. This work of gradual change, we call sanctification, can be resisted, because we find it hard to believe we could ever become saints. God’s intent is to make us new and it is our job to accept His healing. The life of Jesus comes as we stop resisting the invasion of His grace.
“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” (Matthew 26:41). Scripture always gives us hope that “all things are possible through Him who strengthens us,” (Philippians 4:13).
We should not expect instant change and overnight results, but we must be willing to change. The time we take with God requires a certain kind of trust. We need to trust the Spirit. It is not like a vacation or holiday that we fill with activities we control, time with God is less predictable. We don’t know what God has in store for us, but we must be willing to risk and find out.
When we take time out from the struggles of our lives to spend time with God, a childlike spirit is revived in us, and God teaches us the lessons of the heart. Through Scripture we find out how to listen for God’s voice and obey. As we are seeking to grow and trust we can pray Psalm 91:1-4. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.”