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Spiritual Independence


6/30/2024

 

Galatians 5:1, “For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

 

Today I would like to discuss spiritual freedom. Spiritual freedom refers to a sense of inner emancipation and self-awareness. It is the state of being able to find inner peace, happiness, and contentment, independent of external circumstances. Spiritual freedom is being unrestrained by outside opinions, influences, or the ego, so that we can receive God’s full measure of love. We then return that love back into God, to ourselves, and to others.

 

Spiritual freedom involves the independence to see reality, choose our own path, and make our own decisions under God’s direction. Spiritual freedom is being aware of our power of free will and not being a victim of the collective unconscious or fate.

 

Corinthians 3:17 teaches: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Our inner sense of freedom grows through our awareness of Spirit, so prayer is an integral part of spiritual freedom. Prayer is how we communicate with God and seek His guidance. It can help us overcome temptation and avoid making unproductive and harmful choices. Prayer opens our hearts and minds to the presence of Christ, which leads us to peace and comfort in difficult times.

 

Spiritual freedom is a big deal. It is our true sense of freedom, unrelated to what rights we believe we are owed by the government, constitution, or world. It is spiritual freedom that our soul seeks. It is what gnaws at our hearts and creates ‘Divine Discontent.’ The world does not offer what Spirit can offer.

 

The world tells us we are defined by the rights granted by people and their institutions. Spirit tells us we are unlimited just as God created us. The world tells us that governments determine our rights, and not every government allows the right to free speech, to bear arms, to worship the way we want, or the right to vote. Spirit tells us that as a child of God we have the right to live fear-free. We have the right to peace, love, joy, abundance, and are free to live in whatever state of mind we prefer, with or without the rights allowed by whatever government we live under.

 

Our spiritual freedom governs our mindset, temperament, and attitude. No worldly right can bring us joy or true freedom. Joy is at the spiritual level and is determined by our spiritual freedom, and we choose to exercise that right.  Our greatest spiritual right is that of choice, and we choose freedom.

 

Spiritual freedom empowers us to live a purposeful life, and leads to increased self-acceptance, emotional resilience, and mental clarity. We become free from the present flood of thoughts that confuse us, the thoughts of our past that entangle us, as well as our own emotional turmoil and fear of the future. Spiritual freedom brings meaning to our life, leads us to greater happiness, and helps us experience more compassion and gratitude.

There are many obstacles to spiritual freedom. They include how we choose we respond to unforgiveness, bitterness, bad habits, depression, negative thinking, addictions, and ruined relationships. Then there are the ‘self-sins’ of the ego: self-righteousness, self-pity, self-sufficiency, self-promotion. We can also add negative emotions such as fear, anger and jealousy.

 

Perhaps the greatest obstacle to our spiritual freedom is not realizing our need to grow spiritually. “But Patrick, I’ve accepted Christ into my life.  I attune my heart and mind to God. I love God, myself, and others. I’m done; I’m saved; I’m good to go.” The truth is that we have been born into the Kingdom of God, but now we must learn how to adjust to this new way of life. We focus on attuning our minds, hearts, and being on God. It is through Grace, undeserved favor, that Christ enters our lives. Then, we must learn how to grow spiritually and accept Christ’s influence.

 

It is important to know that spiritual freedom is not a belief; it is a reality. It is through choice that we stagnate or blossom spiritually. Simple realizations and moments of enlightenment help us awaken to our inner freedom.

 

For instance, there is a difference between suffering and pain. As physical beings living in a physical world, we cannot avoid pain. Pain is a useful tool; it indicates that something is out of balance and needs our attention. We can change our behavior so that in the future we can be more healthy, functional, and productive in our actions, words, thoughts, and attitudes.

 

Guilt is like pain; it brings our attention to something that needs to change. But suffering is different; it is our reaction to the pain we experience in life and sometimes continues long after the pain has subsided. Our suffering is entirely driven by the ego and is entirely our choice. We do not choose pain, but we allow suffering.

 

Knowing something this simple can help us maneuver through the complexities of life; it helps us grow spiritually. Ephesians 4:18 tells us, “They are darkened in their understanding, being alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts.” When we know God, we grow in understanding and crawl out of ignorance and darkness toward the truth, toward freedom.

 

When we are aware that the source of our suffering is the world, we can change our reactions to the pain we experience. If we are constantly getting angry, upset, and offended by what the world is throwing at us, then we are not yet spiritually free and are enslaved by our emotions and negative thinking. The world owns us. The solution is to spend more time in prayer, releasing this anger to God and letting go of our attachment to the world.  

 

God’s goal for us is to uncover our spiritual strength and freedom and discover that we are beyond the reach of the physical world. Christ teaches that God is our Source and Creator and supplies all that we need. We are spiritually free when we overcome the world and realize that freedom is not only for ourselves, but for all. Galatians 5:13 tells us, “For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

 

Just as this great nation fought for its independence and continues to evolve into its fullest potential, a more perfect union, we too continue to awaken to who we truly are – a beautiful, perfect, and beloved Child of God.

 

Despite where mankind’s choices and loud voices take this world, we belong to God. 1 John 4:5 says, “They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them.” When we are spiritually free, we rise above worldly influence and no longer listen to the world or what the people who speak from the world are telling us. We are in this world, but as Christ prayed to God, we are not of the world, just as he is not of the world. We are God’s children, and He loves us, holds us, guides us through our ignorance and darkened understanding.

 

It is my prayer that we take seriously our spiritual development, spend time in the love and light of Christ, and the Presence of God, so that we can enjoy the benefits of our God-given spiritual freedom, which includes all the fruits of Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

 

I wish you a happy Independence Day! 

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