Inner freedom

04 Aug, 2017 | International
Viv Thomas
A young man looks out over Gods creation and cant help but be amazed.
The ability to do what God wants us to do is severely diminished if our hearts are not free. If we are not free enough to allow God to bring to us whatever conditions He chooses, we easily slip into religious consumerism where we push all the buttons and pull all the levers in selecting the options we think are good for us. This position will always confuse us. Five hundred years ago, a Basque priest called Ignatius of Loyola had remarkable insight on this.1 He described inner freedom as being, “Where people no longer desire health more than sickness, wealth more than poverty, a long life more than a short life, honour more than dishonour but, instead, they desire what brings them closer to the end for which they are created.”2

The idea is that you loosen the controls of your own life. This means that you are free from dictating to God the conditions in which you think you need to live. You leave that to God. If we constantly impose our own will on our own lives we will not be free—and we may miss some of the great opportunities God brings to us.

There are two great prayers of inner freedom and outstanding faith that, when prayed, open us up to a discerning life and freedom. Firstly, Mary’s prayer: “I am the Lord’s servant…May your word to me be fulfilled.”3 This can be translated: “Let it be to me according to your word.” Secondly, the prayer Jesus taught us: “Your kingdom come, your will be done.”4 Our requests, tears, shouts and demands to God for Him to do this or that need to be saturated in these huge prayers. We will otherwise not be open and free and we will not develop a life of discernment and freedom.

Cultivating this freedom

One of the pivotal themes of a free life is that you become familiar with your own story. We need to notice the true nature of our own lives. This means being able to cling to the untidy history and jagged edges of what we have lived through so far. In the initial training of learning how to swim, you are taught to make friends with the water and how to float. This is the best way to avoid drowning. In a similar way, we have to learn to make friends with our own lives and notice what God is doing in them. We can do this through keeping a journal in whatever format and then regularly reviewing our reflections. Do this honestly and reasonably consistently and you become familiar with your own true story. We can also do this by sharing our story with others. These practices can be really helpful in cultivating inner freedom.

Why is this freedom important? If we are not on the road to freedom, we shape people around us negatively. We transfer our fears, guilt and personal prisons into others. We mentor incarceration. Most importantly, God’s goal for us is freedom, for whom the Son sets free is free indeed.5 With that freedom we are able to mentor love, release, dance and joy into others and, in doing that, build the Kingdom of God.

Viv Thomas lives in London with his wife, Sheila. Loving movies, hospitality and theatre make this a creative place to live. Along with being an OM Associate International Director, he is the Hon. Teaching Pastor of St. Paul’s, Hammersmith. He is passionate about people encountering the love of God, seeing leaders develop and teaching Scripture.

Footnotes

1. Read J. Michael Sparough, Jim Manney, Tim Hipskind, 2010, What’s Your Decision: How to Make Choices with Confidence and Clarity, Loyola Press, where they explore an Ignatian approach to decision-making.

2. Ignatian Spiritual Exercise 23

3. Luke 1:38; NIV

4. Matthew 6:10; NIV

5. John 8:36

Credit: Viv Thomas · © 2017 OM International This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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