Thursday, February 5, 2009

Keys to Spiritual Freedom and Growth

How does anyone achieve God's kind of freedom? First, one must turn his heart toward the Lord. As Solomon writes, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6). Second, he must open his heart and mind to receive the Word into every area of his life. Third, the person must be willing to obey the Lord Jesus Christ in bringing every thought and desire into conformity with Christ's truth. I have found that the crucial point of all counseling occurs when a believer grasps his or her true identity in Jesus Christ. That happened to Stephanie, who entered my office saying she had "a screaming pain in my heart" that would not go away. I had never heard pain described like that before, so I asked her to tell me her story. She launched into it with a trembling voice that grew stronger as she talked. She had grown up in the church and received the Lord Jesus as Savior. Her parents were not overly involved in her life. They had given her a kind of freedom she really did not need, one with no proper boundaries to protect her. As a result, she often found herself in places she really should not have been. At age nineteen, she began to live with a young man. In due course of time she became pregnant. She asked the young man what he thought she should do. He said the decision was up to her. As a result, she went to an abortion clinic, was given some material to read over, and saw a counselor. She choose to have an abortion. A couple of days later the truth of what she had done began to sink in. She said, "Both of us, me and my young lover, slipped into depression." A short time later, they broke up. Sometime later she shared with her father and mother that she had aborted the child and they said, "We so wish that you had told us, because we could have helped you." The great deceiver had fed her a classic lie: "Your mom and dad don't care. Don't ask for help." And the screaming in her heart became worse. "The guilt deepened and the accusations in my heart only increased," Stephanie explained. Immediately I turned to the issue of forgiveness from God in Christ. I knew real freedom-freedom to choose rightly and have a clear conscience-were near. I carefully walked her through the process of admission of the sin of immorality, and of taking the life of her child. She agreed and asked God to forgive her and take back the ground she had given to Satan in her soul. I listened as she prayed. Almost immediately real freedom came into her life. We continued to talk about what God wanted for her now that she'd dealt with her heart problem. I asked the Lord to bring to her mind what lies the great deceiver had lodged in her heart. Stephanie recognized the big lie was that God would never forgive her because she had taken the life of her child. The truth was that the blood of Calvary had covered and taken away that sin. As we talked, I sensed the Lord assuring Stephanie that her child was safe with Him and that one in glory she would see that baby once more. Stephanie also said that while she felt dirty sand defiled, Jesus showed her she was pure and holy and righteous and clean because of His work on the Cross. For as long time, she prayed and dedicated her life to Christ. After several counseling sessions, she told me, "I feel that God has healed me and cleansed my life of every stain of my sinful past. I really want to do His will daily and live my life for Him." That commitment has paid off. Today Stephanie is married and God has given her a beautiful little girl. She and her husband serve the Lord faithfully. She builds new towers of truth as she meditates on the Scriptures day by day, and God has truly set her free. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

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