2 May 2012
The last time we talked our discussion was about “knowing the truth and the truth setting you free”. That is Jesus’ promise to all who would abide or dwell in His truth (Jn. 8:31-32). When we hunger for, embrace, and pursue the truth, seeking to live in it and by it, something strange happens to us. Gradually, we begin to operate and dwell in new dimensions of freedom.
Nowhere is that freedom experienced more than in what some call “the freedom to be real.” This happens when truth permeates down into the innermost part of our being. As the light of the truth begins to shine into the innermost crevices of our heart, we begin to see who we really are, and usually it’s not very pretty. Then, if we are honest with ourselves, we will acknowledge how out of sync our inner person is with the nature and character of Christ.
Only then can we start the process of aligning our innermost person with the glorious image of Christ. This is what God means when He says He has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). This is truly what personal transformation is all about.
God birthed transformation, with the leading and empowering of the Holy Spirit, starts at the center of our being and works its way out. The Holy Spirit works in us, with us, and through us to remove all obstacles that would hinder our getting to the place of our living from the heart. When we begin living from the heart it will manifest itself with authenticity, genuineness, and honest assessments of our personal weaknesses, talents, gifts, and skills.
It will also ensure that pride, arrogance, selfish ambition, conceit, emotional manipulation, and the like are neutralized and eventually stripped from every attitude, behavior, and thought pattern we allow to flow in, through, and out of any aspect of our personal arena of operations.
However, living from the heart and the freedom to be real can elude us if the work of the Word or the Holy Spirit is short-circuited in any way. As a consequence the original obstacles that God intended to be removed remain and hinder our efforts at authenticity and genuineness. Actually, Christians in this state are like spiritual cripples, outwardly appearing as though they have it all together, when in reality they’re not functioning on all cylinders. They present a spiritual rhythm that seems to be spirit inspired, but their behavior or attitude betrays them by revealing deep seeded insecurities or unmet emotional needs.
This occurs when individuals do not allow themselves to be vetted by the Holy Spirit, but rather use their natural ability, talent, and ambition to work their way to the top of some spiritual sphere of influence.
Usually this person surrounds himself with yes men and weak accountability structures. Having achieved leadership in a specific arena, he strives to undermine or spiritually sabotage any person he views as a potential threat to stealing his thunder or infringing on his place of prominence.
He gives out titles and positions to those who are willing to play his game of, just do as I say, go with the flow, don’t ask any deep questions, and everything will be alright. If you violate his unspoken rules, you are removed from the inner circle, put on the back burner, and shunned until you get the message and leave.
Then, there are those who become spiritual social climbers, striving to rub elbows with nationally known ministry leaders or prominent Christian politicians. Usually, they will seek an inroad with a big name ministry leader by showering him with praise, volunteering to do him favors, and then sharing and embellishing their own ministry achievements.
All this is done with the intention of being recognized by the leader, coming alongside the leader, and hopefully becoming a loyal part of the ministry leader’s entourage. By getting himself into a position alongside or near the leader, this person now begins to name drop among his local ministry associates.
He might say things like, “you know I was talking to John the other day’ or “yeah, Fred invited me to pray at his conference” and so forth. While all this may be true, it’s actually about him helping you to see how really important he’s become. This of course, is done to gain greater measures of acceptance and approval from you, which he unconsciously assumes will help stabilize his own deep inner need for security. Mind you this type of person will use whoever he can, and at times do whatever he has to, to climb up that spiritual social ladder.
The primary reason for such behavior is the unfinished work of the Holy Spirit via God’s word deep in the inward parts. This work isn’t complete because God doesn’t want it to occur, but because the person – in their desire to attain spiritual prominence or some other self-gratifying goal – neglects or overrides vital steps in the spiritual maturing process.
The Holy Spirits work may require deep inner healing from childhood wounds, or intensive times with an accountability partner to get in touch with deep painful emotions wrapped around the hidden inner person of the heart. The reality is there are no spiritual short-cuts in the kingdom of God.
This is the reason Jesus came to heal the broken-hearted and to set at liberty those that are bruised (Luke. 4:18). All of us are fallen and most of us have been damaged to some degree. We are all in need of deliverance in some form or fashion.
The two greatest obstacles to attaining the freedom to be real are shame and fear. This troublesome twosome have been hounding mankind ever since the fall. In the beginning man was free to be naked without shame. Walking in communion with his heavenly Father was a normal daily function. But the moment he disregarded his Creator’s instructions, guilt, shame, and fear invaded man’s psychological processes.
When God came looking for them, asking where they were, Adam and Eve ran to hide, knowing they had disobeyed Him. Adam’s response to God was, I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked (Gen. 3:8-10).
When individuals who’ve not realized the freedom to be real – hear the voice of truth coming near, they also run to hide. However, their hiding place is behind the façade of self-importance, self-induced spiritual success, or the safety of a prominent perch of influence. Usually, it is unresolved guilt, shame, or fear that is holding them in captivity and robbing them of the exhilarating liberty of sincere authenticity.
Unfortunately, they miss out on the grace, peace, and joy that reigns for those who participate in the freedom to be real.
© Ivan G. Doxtator 2012