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Words of Life

Choosing To Be Free Inside

By Stasi Eldredge February 16, 2014 Words of Life

Many years ago John and I were members of a wonderful church in Southern California. A young man also attended there who had an amazing spirit and an even more amazing testimony. “Daniel” was from Uganda; he had lived there under the brutal reign of Idi Amin. He had been in prison there, beaten, and tortured—and he had the scars to show for it. He had been imprisoned because he was a Christian.

Many of his days were spent being beaten. During one of his trials, he was hung from his feet and beaten over a period of days. The guard’s job—his job—was to whip Daniel. After several days of this, after the ritual torture, as his guard was preparing to leave, Daniel said to the guard, “Have a nice evening.”

Seriously. He said that. Daniel blessed him. By the grace of Jesus Christ living in his heart, he was able to forgive his oppressors and in that forgiveness rise above the bondage they wanted over his life—the bondage of his heart, mind, and spirit.

“Have a nice evening.” My goodness. Which of these two men was truly free?

The guard was undone and incredulously asked, “How can you say that to me? How can you say that?” Daniel told him how. He told him about Jesus, about the price Jesus had paid to win his heart, about the freedom he knew in Christ. He told him about being forgiven and accepted and loved perfectly. And a few days later, that guard helped Daniel to escape. But first he took him home to feed him and have him share the gospel with his family.

Have a nice evening?!?!?!

We can be so free. It all begins here—with an internal choice to let Christ so invade our hearts that we cannot be held to any sort of bondage internally. We choose to love, to forgive; we choose not to fear; we choose life.

Most of us are probably still laboring under the impression that freedom comes first in our circumstances, and then we can experience love, joy, peace, patience, and all the other wonderful fruit of the Spirit. Not so. God usually begins first with the transformation of our attitudes; then he can change our circumstances.

Did you know that you have been set free from sin? Did you know that you now have a good heart? It’s true. It happened through the coming of Jesus Christ for you:

Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the Cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call! … From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did….

A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. (Rom. 6:6, 11; 8:2 MSG)

I give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezek. 36:26-27)

He purified their hearts by faith. (Acts 15:9)

We have been given the greatest freedom of all: freedom of heart, freedom from sin, a freedom that enables us to live and love as Jesus did.


This is an excerpt from Becoming Myself: Embracing God’s Dream Of You by Stasi Eldredge. Copyright 2013 Stasi Eldredge. Published by David C. Cook.

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