“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:17).
There are, perhaps, many evidences that tell us the living presence of the Lord is near, but the most prevailing sign of God’s Spirit is seen in the transformation of those surrendered to Him. True Christian liberty does not mean we have freedom to do what we want; it means we have freedom to do what God wants. In other words, we have freedom to be “transformed… from glory to glory.”
When you were born again, the Spirit of the Lord Himself entered your life. Your liberty now is to live life, not as a mere human, but as one who lives with the transforming power of Christ within you. Indeed, situations that would have otherwise robbed you of hope, joy and courage, now become opportunities to exercise faith, employ love and trust God in prayer.
The writers of the New Testament lived as “more than conquerors”; they did so through the power of Christ who loved and empowered them to overcome. Likewise, you need to tell yourself: “The Spirit of the Creator, my Redeemer God, lives within me. This circumstance that would otherwise destroy me, is subject to the power of Christ within me. I am not backed into a corner; I’m a victor. I’m more than a conqueror in Christ. The Spirit of the Lord is in me, and it’s impossible for anything, even death, to hold Jesus back.”
Jesus began His ministry quoting Isaiah 61:1. He said, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners.” This is the very heart of Christ’s ministry. To heal the brokenhearted; to free prisoners is the very reason Christ came. This is why the message Jesus brought was called the “good news.” Jesus came to bring good news to people who were struggling. He said, “I am not condemning you for your failures. I have not rejected you because of your sins — I’ve come to set you free from them!”
You see, we all go through experiences that have the potential to break our hearts. But Jesus comes specifically to the brokenhearted, to those burdened with heartsickness. In His hands are bandages; He has healing oil. He is fulfilled by healing our broken hearts. That’s the liberty of the Spirit - healing for broken hearts!
He comes to the captives, not to condemn them for doing things that now hold them hostage, but to free them. Jesus sees people spiritually “incarcerated” because of things they did in their past; He knows that they are being held hostage to their sins and to their regrets. Yet, He comes to liberate them, not judge and scold them!
Is there an area of your heart where you feel captive to something you did or to something that happened to you and you can’t get free of its memory? You can scarcely sleep or think of the past without remembering and reliving it. Outwardly, we dress ourselves up, we act in a way as to cover the areas of oppression within us, but these oppressions continue within. And the enemy can exploit those areas because he knows that they’re there. Indeed, he helped put them there.
Proverbs 9:17-18, according to the Amplified Bible, gives us an insight into these areas. It reads, “Stolen waters or pleasure are sweet, because they are forbidden. Bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knows not that the shades of death are there.” Then it explains itself as only the amplified can do. It says, “Specters haunting the scene of past transgressions.”
The word “specters” means “demons” or “evil spirits.” This Scripture reveals that the enemy haunts our regrettable experiences, our past transgressions. How do evil spirits accomplish this? They build abodes utilizing our fears, sins and deep disappointments. They create a shield of darkness around our failures which is as dark and deceptive as the realm of hell itself. This darkness is his domain within in the human soul. His deception is this: “Because of what you’ve done, you have no hope of freedom and you must live with the burden of a continual, unbreakable curse.”
These are lies because Jesus came to set captives free. Did you do something wrong? Maybe you did. And true, you can’t change the past itself, but Jesus can free you from the consequences of the past. Jesus comes to change our reaction to our past failures and transgressions. He gives hope where there was no hope. Though we are likely to fail again, He gives us the courage to pick up our heads; trusting in His forgiveness, we overcome the enemy.
Even though we know Him as Lord, and we want to know him as King, He never stops being Savior. Somebody said that the sole occupation of the Son of God is rescue and resurrection. How many here need rescue once in a while? (How about every day?) He says in effect, “I’m not going to look at your problems condemn you for them. I’m going to die for them. I’m not going to look at what you’ve done wrong and hold it over your head; as you open up and confess it as sin, I’m going to free you from it.” He is a wonderful, wonderful God.
Are spirits haunting the scene of your past transgressions? They are if you have some dimension of your soul, some memory that you can’t look at without knowing completely that you’ve been forgiven. Perhaps you are struggling with a great injustice done to you, where you can’t at least say, “Father, I forgive them.”
The Need to Give Forgiveness
Part of the way the enemy haunts the scene of past transgressions is through our unforgiveness: “What happened to me was unfair. What they did to me was cruel.” Satan manipulates these unforgiving thoughts, so we become relentless in our anger about what happened. What happened was bad enough, but it’s still hurting us. You might have been a loving, outgoing individual, but now you’re angry. Besides being unable to trust the one who hurt you, you can’t even trust anyone who reminds you of that person.
Jesus is saying, “If you will come to Me, I will release you into a destiny that you can’t have apart from Me.” However, Jesus is also saying that you must forgive, even as He forgives you. And it’s not just because He wants to reach out in love through us to other people. That’s part of it. But the big thing He’s concerned about is the condition of your soul. Part of our healing, part of our deliverance, part of being able to slam the door on the spirits that seek to haunt the scene of past transgressions is to be able to say, “I forgive it.”
See, we may not be able to change what happened, but we can change our reaction to it. By doing that, you can walk out and begin to experience healing. Listen, none of us have done everything right. None of us have done everything even close to right. We must face the fact that we need forgiveness and that we need to forgive.
Now listen to me very carefully: When you forgive, it does not mean that you trust that person again. Someone hurt or abused you. Someone was unjust or cruel. If they repent, you may give them another chance; but to forgive does not necessarily mean to trust again. It means to love again. It means to let life happen again. And to whatever degree it’s going to grow, let it grow.
Yet, if you’re thinking, “Okay, I’m just going to automatically trust again,” you might end up getting hurt again. We have to learn how to love the offender and let the relationship take its course in healing, because maybe the other person hasn’t repented yet. You have to be free to love through forgiving, but you need to be careful about whom you trust, particularly if somebody is constantly violating your trust without repentance.
Trust is something that either exists or not, depending on the worthiness and history of the partners involved. Proverbs 18:19 says, “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle.” So the command is not to trust everyone, it’s to love everyone. And you need to make a distinction there because maybe you’re not ready to trust the person, but you must be ready to love them. If you want to shed that heavy and wounded feeling, and if you want the liberty Jesus comes to give us, then you need to begin to release those around you. This is the great gift Christ gives us: a transformed life; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty!