This morning I was reading in Deuteronomy 4 and came across a glorious gospel statement in verse 20. But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day. We live in a day when many people want to be "free," but they have no concept of what true freedom is . Freedom is not being controlled by your passions and desires so that you indulge in every impulse that comes into your mind. Many people today are living a life of such false liberty and are controlled by alcohol, drugs, sexual addictions (pornography, constant marital infidelities),and mouths that cannot stop from speaking vulgarities, gossip, and complaints. Such actions are not displays of freedom, but are actually displays of bondage.
The actions mentioned above not only bring great harm to others, but they affect neural pathways in our brains and make it very difficult to change our behavior. How does a person go about obtaining freedom? In John 8:36 Jesus proclaimed, If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. Jesus was speaking of His death on the cross that paid the penalty our sin deserves, and then of His resurrection that displayed His power of sin, death, and the bondage of sin. Romans 12:2 goes further in giving us a prescription for finding freedom. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For years I thought such a transformation was based on an instantaneous transformation as the Holy Spirit moved upon a believer either at conversion or during a special moment of prayer or a moment of delieverance. I know of many testimonies shared where it was very obvious that God had performed an instantaneous miracle for a believer. However, there is a daily miracle of renewal that takes place as believers daily seek God in prayer and spend time meditating in His Word.
Physicians who study the human brain and who also deal with addictive behaviors have discovered that when pornography addicts refrain from viewing porn and abstain from the behaviors that follow such viewing new neural pathways in the brain begin to form. It takes about ninety days to six months of such sobriety for permanent change to take place, but as the brain gets adjusted to not having dopamine constantly released into the brain the brain heals, the mind clears, focus is restored. During this time of retraining the brain it is vital for one to spend time in an accountabilty small group, to attend weekly worship, to read God's Word and to listen to it proclaimed. One must also practice radical amputation as Jesus prescibed in Matthew 5:29 when he exhorted us, If your eye offends you pluck it out. He was not saying to actually gouge your eye, but to make radical changes in what you view. A porn addict would put filters on one's phone and computers. An alcoholic would not eat in places that serves alcohol. A drug addict would stay away from former friends who use drugs.
While it would be nice to always experience instantaneous deliverance God often has other plans for us. As we meet with other believers in weekly congregational worship, small groups, and one on one interaction we experience the grace of accountability, encouragement, exhortation, and rebuke. If you are struggling today, you can be free. Call on the Lord Jesus and submit to Him. Repent of your wicked behavior and thought patterns. Ask Him to help you, and daily submit to His Word as you read the Bible and pray. Meet with other believers and keep pursing godliness, even if you seem to take a step back after a few steps of forward progress. I know of folks who wrestled with years of temptation and seemingly slow progress who found full freedom. If you are struggling, don't quit seeking the Lord Jesus nor quit endeavoring to surrender to Him daily. God has promised that you can be free. Don't stop pursuing freedom. Pursue Christ daily and moment by moment lean upon Him for grace and humble submit to Him.
The passage in Deuteronomy 4 that I quoted at the beginning of this article is declaration by God that He had brought the Israelites out of the iron furnace of Egypt. Egypt was filled with false worship and many perversions. Such things are hot, iron furnances of bondage. Submit to Christ and experience the true freedom of purity, self-control, and peace!