Let Your Heart Go Free (excerpt) – Jeremy Austill

For years I found it
difficult to establish and maintain rhythm in my life. I had the all too
familiar peaks and valleys in my faith. So what changed? As cliché as it may
sound, everything shifted for me when my thinking changed.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God
transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will
learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.  (Romans 12:2)

 When our thinking changes,
our life changes. For me, the thought change was dramatic. I stopped thinking
about spiritual disciplines, productivity, holiness and rhythm in the terms of

 “I don’t want to disappoint God”…

”I need to do more to gain His favor”…

“I need to do more to increase the anointing on my
life”…

“I want to avoid the disapproval of God”…

“I don’t want God frustrated with me because I’m not
praying or reading my bible”.

I can’t remember the moment
or the circumstances that led to this epiphany but upon heartfelt examination
and with the help of Holy Spirit I became aware that most of my relationship
with the Father was rooted in fear and insecurity. The odds are high many
reading this have seen those same phrases waft across their consciousness.
Sure, we intellectually understand this negative perspective is not quite
accurate, but it is a very difficult mental bondage to break. I subversively
and almost unconsciously assumed the Father’s posture toward me was one of cynicism.

What changed my perspective?
The overwhelming, yet simple revelation that I am loved by my Father. There is
nothing I can do to make myself not be loved by Him. I wish I had the right
words to illuminate the grand scope and beauty of His affections for us. How
much does He love? Jesus. Jesus is how much He loves. As my life began to be
more deeply rooted in the love of God (as Paul so eloquently communicated), my
focus shifts to the benefits of Christ. I don’t say this in the sense that I’m
in this for what the Lord can do for me. Ultimately I want HIM above all that
He offers. The beauty of the Father is that when you get Him you get all He
offers! What does he make available to me? His spiritual fruit in abundance.
Now my spiritual interaction with the Father is not an attempt to stave his
disappointment but rather about a life filled with His love….His peace…His
hope…His joy.

My spiritual disciplines, my rhythms, are not so much about how
my ministry life is affected or the measure of God’s favor on my dealings. The
perspective now is “how can I structure my life in order to take on more of God
and His Kingdom thinking and living?” We will never have adequate rhythm from a
place of fear or insecurity. If we carry an “I better do this so I don’t lose
ground” mentality we are destined to wander aimlessly and with a parched soul.
When I pray, oh what ground is gained! You will never sustain a healthy
spiritual or emotional life if it is based in the fear of falling short. It is
too cumbersome a load to bear. One of Paul’s exhortations to the Philippians is
fast becoming one of my favorites:

And now dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and
lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of
praise. (Philippians 4:8)

That verse is a glorious
starting point in our thought life that will lead to rhythm and a high
sensitivity to Holy Spirit!

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