So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. | John 8:36
The Lord is continuing to do a deep work in the heart of His Bride, ridding her completely of any unhealthy entanglements and bondages so that she can walk forward into this dynamic new season. She will be completely free of anything that would seek to hold her back.
Though these seasons of pruning can be uncomfortable (and even painful) to our flesh, the Lord uses them for our good. It is vital that when we are undergoing seasons of pruning that we don’t misunderstand the Lord’s heart towards us. Our God is a loving Father, faithful in all of His ways! He is always working for our good, and His heart is towards us. It is also important that we don’t confuse seasons of pruning with seasons of discipline. As we are told in John 15:2, “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
I believe that in this season the Lord is freeing many from the opinions of others and the fear of man. It says in Proverbs that, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (Proverbs 29:25). In my own life, I have struggled with prioritizing the opinions of others, fearing how they perceived me for as long as I can remember. However, God is relentlessly calling us into a place of freedom. In His goodness, He has continued to work on me, bringing me to a place of being free from the opinions and fear of man.
I’ve learned that striving for other’s acceptance of us can turn into a form of idolatry. When we obsess over how other people perceive ourselves, becoming overly concerned with what they many think of us, we can lose sight of how the Lord truly sees us. Yes, we should do our best to live at peace with all men, but ultimately, we are to strive to please and obey God above all others.
It is nearly impossible to please both God and man at the same time. Being held in bondage to what others think—constantly seeking to win their approval an affirmation—will drain you of your energy. If you trap yourself in this lifestyle, you’ll only entangle yourself in unhealthy cycles and behavioral patterns. It requires a great courage to break away from the familiar, especially if these unhealthy lifestyles have been modeled to us by others from a very young age. However, I can personally testify that there is great freedom on the other side! We must be brave enough to break out of the mold that others may seek to confine us to. For we know that with God on our side, anything is possible.
Often times, when you begin to whole heartedly pursue the unique and specific calling that God has placed on your life, your life can start to offend those closest and most familiar to you. Even Jesus experienced this, as He was not allowed to minister in His hometown because the people once closest to Him began to take offense to His teachings:
And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home” (Matthew 13:57).
When we are rejected by man, Jesus gives us permission to move forward, saying, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet” (Matthew 10:14). However, it is important that we, ourselves, do not become offended. We are commanded to bless, release, and move forward with a clean heart.
Joseph also experienced rejection and betrayal by his own family. After sharing his dreams with his family, Joseph’s brothers became very angry towards him. Joseph was then thrown into a pit by his brothers before they eventually sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:12-36). Amazingly, even through this horrible experience, Joseph managed to keep his heart pure and did not become bitter. He forgave his brothers, even saying to them, “What you meant as evil against me, the Lord used for my good (Genesis 50:20). Joseph could have easily justified his right to become angry against his brothers, or even use his position of authority in Egypt to get revenge on his family. However, he ended up choosing the better thing. In the end, God vindicated Joseph and continued to bless him greatly (Genesis 48:15).
The Lord brought Joseph from the pit to the palace because Joseph continually stayed faithful and obedient to Him. Joseph honored the Lord, even through the intense trials and testing that he endured. Through it all, the Lord allowed Joseph’s character to be refined and developed during his time of pruning, and eventually brought him into a place of promotion and honor.
He raises the poor from the dust,
He lifts the needy from the ash heap
To make them sit with nobles,
And inherit a seat of honor;
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
And He set the world on them (1 Samuel 2:8).
I believe that many in the body of Christ have experienced setbacks and betrayals from others. Even so, the Lord wants to encourage us today, saying, “As you have continually chosen to let Me defend you, even when your experiences didn’t make sense or turn out how you expected, I will now be turning the tables!” You will come out on top, just as it is written, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). As you continue to allow God to rid you of what others think—living solely for an audience of One—you will experience a new found freedom!
The Lord tells us in His Word that when our ways are pleasing to Him, He will cause even our enemies to be at peace with us. Beloved, be encouraged! God is ridding you from being enslaved to the opinions of others and fear of man. You will now be able to walk forward into your new assignment, completely free from the bondage’s and weights of the past. Truly the Lord’s yoke is easy, and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30).
Beloved, the Father is so pleased with you; He calls you flawless (Song of Songs 4:7). Continue to say “yes” to Him, regardless of the misunderstandings and rejection that you may have once encountered. He is removing the final traces of sorrow, and you will experience His freedom, healing and restoration! Truly your joy will know no bounds.
This is your season to celebrate! The Lord is turning your mourning into dancing, giving you a new song to sing (Psalm 30:11). Continue to walk forward boldly and confidently into your new place of freedom. Your Heavenly Father delights in you, and you have found much favor in His sight!
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless (Psalm 84:11).