There Is Great Freedom In Discipline
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Ė John 8: 32
We all loosely use the term freedom but do we really know what it means to be free? And more importantly, do we know how to achieve freedom?
Jesus Christ said Ďye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you freeí. I was always intrigued by the use of the word Ďmakeí. The truth is the Word of God Ė that is the only thing that will truly set you free.
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. Ė John 8: 36
Why is this Scripture worded like this? Because you need to be born again of Godís Spirit by confessing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and believing that God hath raised him from the dead.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. -- Romans 10: 9, 10
Jesus Christ says ye shall know the truth, the truth shall set you free and ye shall be free indeed. There is no question that you will be made free. Being set free by the Word of God is genuine freedom in your mind and in your actions. It is not what is referred to as patriotic freedom. There are many counterfeits to Godís true freedom. We can achieve this freedom by doing one thing in our life and that is to keep God first.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Ė Matthew 6: 33
Who captivates, enslaves and controls people by stealing, killing and destroying? The god of this world does this to people on a daily basis. If you let him, he will take your freedom away from you. Watch the contrast in the following verse.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I [Jesus Christ] am come that they might have life, and that they might have it† more abundantly. -- John 10: 10
In order to avoid the first part of the above verse, we need to discipline our minds to STUDY and APPLY Godís Word in our lives just like Jesus Christ. So we must get rid of the god of this world who is constantly trying to influence our thinking and control what we do. How do we do this?
Submit [addict] yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. -- James 4: 7
The most positive addiction you can ever have is to God and His Word. This is the greatest and most important DISCIPLINE you can ever achieve. And as a result, you will achieve the greatest freedom you ever dreamed possible in this life. First, submit yourself to God [God is His Word], resist [stand against, oppose] the devil, and he will flee from you.
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble [shudder]. Ė James 2: 19
There was a time in my life I remember clearly concerning a friend I knew. We both lived in a type of boarding house and not at home with our parents. My parents did have serious problems. But what I remember was how alive and spontaneous this person was at this time. He told me that everywhere he went and everything he did seemed like it was brand new. He had a zest for life that was quite noticeable. Why did this take place?
This person told me that he was recently discharged from the armed forces and it was obvious that he had acquired much discipline while serving his country. He dressed very neatly, kept a clean car, had a good job, and had a nice girlfriend. Why did he feel so good about life? Why did he feel so free? Because he had learned to be a disciplined person and therefore experienced great freedom. Now if the armed forces can render such a change in a person, donít you think that God Almighty can do better? Hereís what happens when you renew your mind to Godís Word.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is† a new creature [creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. Ė II Corinthians 5: 17
To understand this Scripture, you need to be able to distinguish between Christ in you and you in Christ. Christ in you means to be born again. You in Christ is referring to the renewed mind. In the above Scripture, God is referring to a man Ďin Christí, that is, someone who is renewing his or her mind to Godís Word. The Scripture goes on to say that this person is now a new creation. Old things and old ways of thinking are now passed away and all things are become new.
When I first got in the Word in 1974, I went to my branch leader and told her that I felt like I was using a part of my brain that I didnít even know was there. I felt so great I cannot even put it into words. This great and dynamic woman of God looked at me, smiled, and said "Ralph, thatís your heart." She went on to explain to me that the Word of God was taking down the walls around my heart. I felt so free because I addicted myself to Godís Word. I disciplined myself to stay involved in fellowships and take every Bible class I could sign up for. This discipline of keeping God first and foremost brought me great freedom. We need to pursue things of the Spirit, and not things of the flesh Ė we need to discipline ourselves to do so.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. Ė Romans 8: 5
And what is the difference between the two?
For to be carnally minded is †death; but to be spiritually minded is† life and peace. Ė Romans 8: 6
Life and peace Ė Iím sure that includes freedom and the only way you will get that freedom is by minding the things of the Spirit. There is just no other way. What does God tell us about fleshly thoughts and minding the flesh?
Because the carnal mind is †enmity [at conflict] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. -- Romans 8: 7, 8
Do you remember that discipline my friend acquired? Believe me, it will not last. Eventually the world will wear you down IF you do not renew your mind to Godís Word. Did you ever study the teaching Joy Is An INSIDE Job? Everything the world gives eventually fades away, while everything the true God gives lasts for an eternity. That is IF we, by our own free will, decide to DISCIPLINE our minds to Godís principles and not manís. That discipline will result in great freedom.
I Beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is† your reasonable [rational or logical] service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed [transfigured] by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is †that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Ė Romans 12: 1, 2
This word Ďtransfiguredí is interesting in that it means to be transformed like a caterpillar into a butterfly. It is where we get our English word metamorphosis. Where all things used to be old, boring, worthless, and meaningless, now life is exciting. When? When we renew our minds to Godís Word and REPLACE old ways of thinking with new ways. You will find out that the right way of doing something eventually becomes as easy or easier as doing the wrong way. The transition part of the renewed mind is the most difficult part, but well worth the effort. We must keep resisting the enemy until he flees from us.
How did I discipline my mind with Godís Word and attain great freedom in the process? Your individual walk with God is unique so you may find different ways. However, I could not find a more effective way than Scripture retemory. I learn Scriptures by memory for individual situations. This had been the strongest renewed mind habit I have ever developed. Hereís how it works.
Letís say that on some particular day, I seem to be thinking a lot about the past. I immediately say in my mind by memory:
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this† one thing I do, †forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, -- Philippians 3: 13
Some day I may be worried about something and no matter what I do, I just keep worrying. I canít fight it with carnal thoughts even though, due to our imperfection, I may try. Finally I turn to God and His Word and I repeat in my mind:
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. -- John 14: 27
Itís that simple and that drives the enemy or my old man thoughts out of my head. Darkness cannot stand light and light will always dispel darkness. [See STUDY GUIDE]
I have disciplined my mind by extensive study to learn maybe 100 Scriptures by memory. I carry the Word of God around with me in the fleshly tables of my heart. I donít have to have my Bible with me everywhere I go. Godís Word is in my mind. I strongly suggest that you learn Scriptures by memory. Remember, the Word of God never comes back void.
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Ė Isaiah 55: 11
For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. Ė Romans 10: 11
A believer will not be disappointed in his expectation. Now I admit that sometimes God seems never early, but He is never too late. We need to realize that for things to be done right, they need to be done according to Godís timetable. When God does something, it is done AT THE EXACT RIGHT TIME. This is why we get impatient when our prayers are not answered when we† want them to be answered. When we understand this fully, we acquire more discipline in our renewed mind and therefore experience more freedom. Freedom from what? From anxiety and impatience. We know and believe that God will help us at the perfect time and that blesses us. Logically, we are more at peace and approach a problem with less, if any, anxiety. We trust God. Remember, not one single thing that we learn from Godís Word comes back void. There is always profit in learning and applying the Word in your life.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Ė Galatians 5: 22, 23
When we operate the manifestations of Holy Spirit, we are able to experience the fruit of the spirit listed above. Which fruit listed above relate more to discipline? Obviously longsuffering [patience] is a blessing that helps us to feel free. We mentioned this above. Gentleness is a quality that seems rare today and sets a believer free from being harsh and rude and hard hearted. Meekness allows us to be teachable instead of being full of pride which hinders us and closes our mind from being able to learn new things. This type of discipline to Godís Word allows much freedom in someoneís life to expand their frontiers, as the clichť implies. Iíll mention just one more and that is temperance which is self-control. Temperance is the mastery of self and this discipline results in total freedom with endless possibilities.
When you have truly disciplined your mind to Godís matchless Word, that discipline will bring you the greatest freedom possible. You will know how to live life to the fullest in any situation.
I know both how to be abased, and I know to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Ė Philippians 4: 12
What Paul is saying is that no matter what situation he is in, he knows how to enjoy life. He could be abounding in riches or he could just be getting by. It doesnít matter Ė he is still enjoying life because he has learned, by disciplining himself to Godís Word, both how to abound and how to be abased. He has been initiated into the secret of living regardless of circumstances. Now thatís a disciplined believer and that is truly freedom.
I can do all things [according to the Word of God] through Christ which [who] strengtheneth me. Ė Philippians 4: 13
When you really believe this, it has to come to pass. God wants His people to live in the fast lane and to be winners. The Word of God will direct your life and show you exactly what you should be and really want to be doing. This final Scripture will bless you as you allow, by your own free will, God and His Word to discipline your mind and in turn your actions so that that you can be free indeed and experience the more than abundant life promised in John 10: 10b.
For the word of God is †quick, and powerful [living and energetic], and sharper than [above] any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is† a discerner [critic] of the thoughts [emotions] and intents [ideas] of the heart. Ė Hebrews 4: 12
Godís Word living and applied in the mind of a disciplined believer will cut out the old man thoughts. Those are the thoughts that captivate and enslave us. And then God will show you how you are supposed to be living and what you should be doing with your life that benefits you and God the most.
The Word of God is beyond description. Can you see the power and direction in that verse alone? You truly want freedom? Discipline your mind and your actions to what God Almighty has to say to you and you will manifest genuine freedom that will last for an eternity.