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REAL FREEDOM & HEARING GOD'S VOICE

On July 4th, Americans celebrate our political and social freedom, but there is a freedom that even more important: spiritual freedom. Spiritual freedom is freedom from your own compulsions, fears, addictions, worries, and self-defeating behavior. Only God can give you that.

Today, our culture defines freedom as “Doing anything I FEEL like doing.” We live in The Age of Feelings, where feelings literally trump everything else. “If it feels good, do it! “Or as the hit song once said, “If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right!” It’s obvious that many people today do not know the difference between lust and love. If something feels right, then it must be right, they assume.

The truth is, always “doing whatever I feel” at the personal level is just selfishness. At the family level, it creates conflict, leading to divorce and disintegration. At the social level, it is anarchy if everyone lives by that view. And at the spiritual level, it is rebellion against God.

Feelings have become God for many. Whatever I feel becomes the rationale for all behavior, even if it harms myself, or others, or even the next generation that is unborn. Woe to anyone who might suggest that limiting what I feel like doing just might be the path to responsibility, maturity, and even love! True love is never self-centered.

How do we live free in a world that is bondage to its own self-centeredness? The first step to spiritual maturity is to realize that God designed you for a greater life than you are living right now. There’s more. A lot more. God’s intention for you is far more for you than you could possibly imagine.

The life God created you to live is…

rich in love, compassion, and grace

full of energy and vitality

deeply connected to God and to others

sensitive to both God’s leading, AND to the needs of people around you

peace-filled, joy-based, and confident

perceptive that this world is not all there is.

Jesus gave us the path to spiritual maturity in a sentence:

"If you continue my Word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the Truth will SET YOU FREE!" John 8:31-32 That is real freedom!

God said it before, thousands of years earlier, to the Jews he rescued from Egyptian slavery:

"If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will protect you from the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you." Exodus 15:26

“GOD WILL BLESS YOU only if you listen carefully to the Lord your God and faithfully obey all these commands I'm giving you today. “ Deut. 15:5

“If you pay attention to what God tells you, and you carefully follow his commands, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. The Lord will make you the head, not the tail.” Deut. 28:13

THE MOST IMPORTANT KEY TO YOUR FUTURE is NOT your background, race, talent, or education.

IT IS HEARING GOD’S VOICE, then choosing to follow His instructions.

Pastor Rick Warren

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