But... I don't FEEL free.

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The question I get from a lot of Christians when I share this testimony of what God’s done in my life, is pretty much summed up perfectly with a question I got asked this week: Well I want to be free, and according to the Bible I am free…. but I don’t feel free.

My response is very abrasive to a culture that emphasizes validating the feelings of everyone, always:

What do your feelings have to do with it?

I know that question is automatically going to be a trigger for some y’all, but please stick with me for a second. I care deeply about the pain you’re carrying. My heart now breaks more than it ever has when I look into someone’s eyes and see the weariness of one who is doing the very best they can… and it still isn’t enough. It brings tears to my eyes even as I’m typing this, because I’ve been there — I know that feeling! At the same time, it sparks some real joy in my heart because I know that it was when I reached that point of brokenness that Truth and Love changed EVERYTHING, and I get a glimpse of what God’s about to do. But in order to get there, there are some ways of thinking that need to be turned upside down or just straight-up done away with in order to hear what the Spirit has been saying all along. Which brings me back to this question:

What do your feelings have to do with it?

What is more important: the way you feel, or what God’s word says about you? “Perception is reality", and our feelings often frame our perception of life as we know it. The problem is that our feelings lie to us constantly, which keeps us in a reality that isn’t the reality Jesus died for us to live in! I want to cut straight to the secret sauce of freedom as it is the secret sauce to the Christian’s entire life: faith.

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith, we understand that the whole universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
— Hebrews 11:1-3, NLT

So faith is believing in something we haven’t seen, or dare I say, felt at least not yet. The last time someone brought up their feelings when it comes to this freedom issue, a story from the Bible came to mind. You can read it in detail if you want — it’s found in Matthew 8 and Luke 7.

Here’s the gist — Jesus and His disciples were doing what they did in those days when a Roman Centurion either came to Jesus directly or sent “respected Jewish elders” on his behalf to beg for help. He had a servant that was deathly ill and he was hoping Jesus would heal him. So Jesus said, “Leggo!”

Now the details get a little fuzzy here — but basically the Roman Centurion stopped Jesus short of arriving at the house where the slave was on his deathbed. Here’s what he said:

Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.
— Matthew 8:8-9 NLT

Jesus was shocked. “Amazed” to be exact. He turned to those around Him and said that He had never seen faith like that in ALL OF ISRAEL. We’re talking about a Roman soldier. Not a priest who had been studying scriptures his entire life. Not a disciple who had been spending all day, every day, in the presence of the Son of God. Not a 40th generation Israelite who had thousands of stories passed down of the Goodness of the Creator God, Yahweh.

Nope, the greatest faith was found in a Roman soldier because he believed without visual proof that Jesus had authority given from His Father in Heaven to heal, even from a distance.

Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour.
— Matthew 8:13 NLT

So the soldier wasn’t just paying lip service to Jesus by saying all the right things in order to impress Him (like the disciples so often did). According to Matthew, he had to turn around and go back home. Before he could physically see and know that his loved servant was healed, he believed by faith what Jesus said was true. However, it wasn’t until he got home that he discovered it was the very same hour that Jesus spoke it in which his servant was completely healed.

THAT is why your feelings don’t have anything to do with your freedom. As Christians we don’t live by sight or proof, we live by faith. We don’t chase after feelings, we chase after the heart of God, no matter how it feels. Do you believe Jesus was the Son of God who died to break the power of sin once and for all, and that if you are set free by the Son you are free indeed? Then receive it, speak it, and live as though it has already happened. Turn around like the Centurion and go home in faith that what Jesus had said is done, even if your senses and feelings are screaming at you that it’s foolishness.

Because someday, with complete healing and when you feel free, you’ll be look back and see that it was the very hour you believed that you were set free.