From Slavery to Freedom

Jonathan has taught a series to our youth twice called, “Lord Change My Attitude: Before It’s Too Late” by James McDonald. I highly recommend listening to his sermon series on it, or have Jonathan teach it to you. It’s wonderful. It walks you through Numbers picking up where the Israelites have come through the Red Sea and have escaped slavery.

I’m not writing this to promote this study or pastor (I am not getting any compensation for discussing this study), but I can see how James McDonald has related our lives and attitudes to that of the Israelites. I see it so much right now in my own, personal life. I see it so much that I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed that I haven’t learned from the mistakes of the Israelites. God outlined it so well in His Word, He wants us to do better, but I feel like I just keep coming up short.

Let me start by sharing a little bit about the story of the Israelites. After God had done so many wonderful things for the Israelites, they (almost) IMMEDIATELY begin complaining. They become grumbling, complaining, whiney people. They immediately forget what God has done for them. They forgot their deliverance. They forgot the Red Sea parting for them to cross. They forgot the manna from Heaven. They forgot it all and begin to complain that God wasn’t doing enough for them. They even turned to golden images to worship!

Every time my sweet husband has taught this series to our youth, I would always sit and just marvel at the fickleness of the Israelites. I could never understand how they could so quickly forget what God had done for them. I mean, come on, HE PARTED THE RED SEA FOR YOU! GET AHOLD OF YOURSELVES! TRUST HIM! HE’S ALWAYS CAME THROUGH FOR YOU BEFORE! That’s exactly what I wanted to shout at them. I didn’t understand how after all of God’s goodness they forgot it all. How did they not trust Him to bring them through again? What other miracle does He need to do before you guys fully trust Him?

Well, those were my thoughts then, and to be honest, they haven’t changed much. The statements are just worded a little differently. It sounds a lot more like this: HE HAS DELIVERED YOU FROM EVERY TRIAL YOU’VE FACED! GET AHOLD OF YOURSELF! TRUST HIM, KATIE. HE’S ALWAYS CAME THROUGH FOR YOU BEFORE!

That’s right. I’ve directed these statements that I wanted so badly to shout at the Israelites to myself. I have become the person who, as soon as God does something wonderful for me, and something goes wrong, I start doubting and complaining. In that moment of fear and doubt, I forget all that God has done for me. I forget the wonderful things my husband and I have witnessed Him do. I forget that He has never failed me. I forget.

I am so much like the Israelites. You see, they didn’t choose to forget the good things God had done for them. None of us choose to forget, but in our human nature, we are prone to fear. This flesh lives in constant fear. We don’t exactly forget all the things God has brought us through, we forget that we are no longer slaves to fear. We don’t have to live in constant fear any longer! He freed us at Calvary, just like He freed the Israelites when they crossed over the Red Sea.

I’ve found that it is so easy to say to trust God when we aren’t the ones going through the valley. When we aren’t the ones living in fear, it’s easy to sing, teach and preach that we need to trust God. It’s easy when we aren’t the ones fighting for our lives to remember what God has done. It’s easy to remember we aren’t slaves to fear whenever we have nothing life changing going on around us. That’s when it’s the easiest. It’s hard to remember that we have been freed from fear when you are in a constant state of your life being up in the air and you don’t know what tomorrow will bring for you.

When it gets hard for me, when I forget I’m no longer a slave, that’s when this study comes to my mind. Lord, change my attitude. That becomes my prayer during these times. Does it always help? Maybe not right away, but it definitely helps to remind myself that just because my circumstances change, doesn’t mean that my God does. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. When I ask Him to change my attitude, I’m asking Him to change my outlook. I’m asking Him to bring to my mind all the things that He has done for me. I’m asking Him to remind my mind and spirit that I am no longer a slave.

When God finally breaks through all of our doubts and fears, when we finally choose to trust Him, when we claim the promise that we are no longer slaves, but are His children, that’s when He will move our mountains. Because sometimes, the only true mountain we had in His way, were our doubts and fears. When we choose to let God conquer all of our troubles in His timing, He shows us that the problem we thought we had wasn’t the true problem at all. The problem was us. The problem was our fear. The problem was our doubts.

I’m choosing today to live the life God has for me. A life of freedom in Him. My favorite song right now is No Longer Slaves (particularly the Voices of Lee version), and it’s so fitting for where I am in my life. Whenever I start to doubt or let fear creep into my soul, I catch myself singing, “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God,” and I plan to claim that promise today. Jesus set me free at Calvary, but I am still acting as a slave to all of my fears. I’m not trying to teach any kind of prosperity gospel, because we know from the Word that followers of Christ will endure hardships. But I want to encourage any child of God out there that may still being living under the harsh reign of fear in their lives that they don’t have to stay there. You are free in Jesus Christ. YOU ARE FREE.

“Lord, help me and anyone that may read this remember that our attitude is a choice. Our attitude can reflect a life of slavery to fear or a life of freedom in Christ. Whenever I get fearful and start to doubt, remind me that I am no longer a slave to those thoughts or feelings. Remind me that I am Yours. Fill my life with the freedom of the salvation You have brought to me. Remind me of who I am in You. Amen.”

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