I remember being a teenager and thinking I knew it all. I thought I knew what was best for me. I thought my parents were nuts. I thought God was a kill-joy. I felt choked by God's commandments because they seemed impossible to follow. So I quit trying and just went off the deep end - living a life of what I thought was "freedom". I partied and drank myself silly, made horrific choices with guys, lived me life for ME.
And the price I paid for my so-called "freedom" was way more than I could afford.
I had no self-respect. I didn't have the respect of others. I would wake up from my stupor the next morning with the heaviness of regret and the nausea of realizing I'd made choices that I knew I had to pay for either through a hang-over, relationship issues or embarrassment for something I'd done that I could barely remember. The only thing I gained was a horrible reputation, a few enemies and some fuzzy memories that I wish I could forget.
How is that considered "freedom"?
I wish I could have sat my young, prideful self down and had a talk with her. You see, I'm on the other side of that lifestyle now and I've learned a few things. I doubt I would have listened to me then, though. I would have thought I was just a preachy old lady with no idea what it was like to be a teenager. No one understands me! Yes, that is probably what I would have said. I guess there are some people that just don't learn from listening...they learn from experience. I'm so glad God never gave up on me.
Another reason I thought He was a kill-joy was because He said not to have sex before marriage. How ridiculous, I thought! Everyone was doing it and it wasn't a big deal. It made guys like me, so it must be good, right? What I didn't know or realize was that guys didn't like me at all - they liked what I would give them. There was absolutely no love involved...only lust and afterward, a vulnerability and heart break that was not intended to be experienced by a young woman. It stripped me of my self-confidence and drew me to drink even more (because at least when I drank I was numb).
I also didn't realize that God didn't say sex was bad...He actually created it. Why would the Creator of sex tell us not to do it until we were married? Well, it's because He knew the heart-ache and heart-break that would result from my giving myself to someone other than my husband. He knew that it was not only about feeling good for the moment, but a spiritual connection - a sacred union for a man and wife. When we connect ourselves with others spiritually, we open doors in the spirit realm that we should never open. These commands about not having sex before marriage were not to stifle me, but to protect me. I wish I had listened.
I realize many years later that God knew what was best for me, but I just wouldn't listen. I know that the reason I didn't listen was because I was not a true believer in Jesus Christ, though. When you have the Spirit of God living in you, things begin to make more sense and your heart changes. When hearts change, people change. It never works in reverse.
1 John 5:2-4 says, "We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith."
Did you catch the phrase "his commandments are not burdensome"? That is so true. When you are truly surrendered to Jesus Christ and He is Lord of your life, it's harder to actually make the wrong choice than to make the right one because you are now a "slave to righteousness" and not a "slave to sin" as Paul puts it in Romans 6:20-23. Will you still mess up? Yes, of course. But there is a new Spirit inside of you that will convict you and you will want to make things right. It's His love and mercy in action inside of us!
God loves you, my friend. He wants what's best for you. He doesn't want to make your life miserable - He wants you to experience the truest joy you will ever experience. This is why He gives us guidelines to live our lives. They are boundaries to protect us. What makes us think we know better than Him? Can the created tell the Creator how to do things "right"?
I am now a new creation in Jesus Christ - not the same person I was before. I have been forgiven and given a new life. Thank God for His mercy, His grace and His Spirit! Without these, I would probably not be alive right now. He saved me. He loved me even in my sinful state. He didn't think anything I'd done was more than He could forgive. He feels the same way about you!
God's commands are not given to us to deny us pleasure or punish us. They were given so that, when followed, we can experience life with more pleasure than we could ever imagine. But it is impossible to follow those commands on your own - He must be in you, guiding you and showing you the way.
If you find it impossible to keep His commands or if you find them burdensome, please fall to your knees and talk with Him today. It could be, like me, that you do not have His Spirit in you. Remember, you cannot change until your heart does and only He can change your heart. Give Him your heart today! You can be truly free.
If you want more information on what it means to have a real relationship with Jesus Christ, please click here.
Many Blessings to You!