It’s an ordinance of God that we should have the freedom to choose our heart response to Him and to life’s circumstances, without physical, emotional or spiritual pressure. God has never coerced His children into loving Him or obeying Him. For our love of God to be real, we must have the ability to say no to Him. He has always instructed us how to keep right with His laws, telling us that it is truly a matter of life and death, but even the first followers of Jesus had the freedom to walk away, and many did.
A forced relationship is rarely life-giving. Jesus was modelling how things operate in His Kingdom and He expects us to behave in a similar way. Respecting the free will of one another is essential in all our relationships, a principle only over-ridden if we have been given legitimate and conditional control over part of someone`s life, for example if we are a policeman or the parent of a young child. The wrongful denial of our free will is abusive and damaging to our soul and spirit. Despite this, if we have suffered in this way, we can always bring to the Lord the pains of the past, and the fears of the future.
Prayer: Father, in these days of increasing persecution, give me confidence that, even if others put pressure on me, what can never actually be taken away is my freedom to choose to obey or to disobey Your foundational commandment: ‘This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us’ (1 John 3:23). Amen.
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