Choosing Freedom

I’ve spent most of my life reading the Bible.  I’ve been in countless Sunday School classes hearing about David, Moses, Jesus, and so many others.  What I didn’t know, until much later in life, was how applicable those stories were going to be to my life.  We’ve all heard the story of the Israelites.  Enslaved by Egypt.  Living in constant torment.  Doing terrible work with impossible standards.  The part everyone remembers best about this particular story is Moses going to Pharaoh and saying, “Let my people go!”.  There are songs about it in every kid’s church service around the globe.  “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, whoa baby, let my people go!”  Finally, Pharaoh DID let God’s people go.  

Exodus 13:15 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the Lord killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt…” 17 Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go ,that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines…”

Exodus 14:5 Now it was told the king of Egypt that the people had fled, and the heart of Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the people; and they said, “Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” So he made ready his chariot and took his people with him. Also, he took six hundred choice chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt with captains over every one of them. And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the children of Israel; and the children of Israel went out with boldness. So the Egyptians pursued them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and overtook them camping by the sea beside Pi Hahiroth, before Baal Zephon.
10 And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord.”
Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”  15 And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.  16 But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it.  And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.”
The story comes to a tipping point that I have never noticed before.  The Israelites who just escaped from Egypt, Pharaoh, enslavement, and a terrible life where fulfillment was absent had found themselves in an impossible situation.  Between their ‘angry’ captors and a sea that was impossible to cross.  In that moment they had a choice.  Trust God and go forward, or turn back.  Every time I have read the story they have gone forward and succeeded in escaping the captivity that so desperately pursued them.  Not one time has Pharaoh caught up and slaughtered them or put them in chains and led them back to Egypt.  

God spoke to me through Isaiah 43:15-16,  “I am the Lord, your Holy One, The Creator of Israel, your King.”  16 Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea And a path through the mighty waters, while I was praying this last week and opened my eyes to something in Exodus that I had never thought of before.  The Israelites COULD have chosen to turn around and go back to what they knew.  They COULD have given up on doing it God’s way because it was too difficult.  Just because God makes a way doesn’t mean we choose to go that way.  This was a particular revelation in my own life.  I have been stuck in an ‘endless’ cycle of walking away from video game addiction and the isolation it brings  and falling right back into it since as far back as I can remember.  Usually being far worse off in the latter.  

My story isn’t that much different than that of the Israelites.  I would follow God out of my captivity and be pursued by my captor.  In that moment of pursuit I would find myself between my captor and a sea so large that I really couldn’t believe I would ever make it to the other side.  To freedom.  To the abundant life God has called me to.  This constant cycle looks ridiculous to those around me.  In the form of impulse buying and selling of computers or game systems.  Planning on playing games with friends and then telling them I’m no longer playing any games the following week.  Sin does a really good job of making us look foolish.  I am case and point.

I am starting this blog as a help to others in the place that I have been stuck for so many long years.  You are reading the tip of the iceberg that God has been growing under the surface of the storm I have allowed to rage around me.  He has been waiting for me to give up on turning back to my captor and to run full on into the freedom He has set before me.  For the first time in my life, I can say that I am free.  It is by the thousands of prayers and encouragement that have been offered on my behalf by family, friends, pastors, my wife, and myself.  It is by the weight of continual failure that I have experienced in this area since I was young.  It is because I have finally chosen NOT to be a captive to my sin.  Mostly though, it is by the God that I am completely baffled cares enough about me to wait this long.  

I am in the process of writing a book on this subject.  It will be my testimony and story in whole.  I’m not writing it because I am an expert on the subject.  Nor because I am never tempted by this sin in my life anymore.  It is definitely not because I want to do it.  I am writing this book because I have simply chosen to be free.  I know that He wants me to share that with others.  God has always had the option sitting right in front of me. 

Exodus 14:15 “And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.”