How can a person live in a free country and not experience freedom? I will be sharing piece by piece as to how I came to the realization that I was not fully living freely and why that may have been happenng in my case. You know the saying “in order to know where you are going, you need to know where you came from”.
The Israelites, although free, they still had a captivity mentality. It was not until the older generation died off when the Lord was able to bring them into the promised land.
I was a child when we came to America but I have some memories of life in Ukraine. My memories are not really all that pleasant because my family had been persecuted for their faith.
Before I was born, my grandfather was falsely accused and imprisoned so that there was a reason to keep him in jail just because he was Christian. He spent 5 years in prison and died shortly after he got home due to stomach issues related to starvation and abuse from prison. My father was left to care for his younger siblings and mother.
Around the time I was born, my family was not allowed to practice our Pentecostal faith in Ukraine. Only churches that were registered such as Catholics were allowed to practice their religion. All types of home groups or other religions were not allowed and considered illegal.
We lived in constant fear of the government coming to our home and taking us kids away because my family hosted church services in our home. The communist party members made many threats towards my family, stating that they were going to ship all the kids off to Siberia if we were caught having a home group or reading the Bible.
I am so blessed to live in this country where I am allowed to practice my beliefs. However, I feel like I have been limiting my freedom based on what I have been brought up in.
I think that part of my understanding of Jesus was tainted by the fact that we grew up in actual persecution back in Ukraine. During that time, our religious practices had been revised based on the communist environment that we were living in. However, today we have no reason to live in fear. We can profess our faith publicly and since we live in a free country, we no longer need to be gloomy or express our sorrow to God. When I remember the way i had been worshiping God when we first arrived to America and for most of my twenties, it seriously reminds me of the Israelite's. God delivered them from Egypt but they were still stuck in their old ways, worshiping God like they had been when they were slaves. I think that they were not able to live a life of freedom that the Lord had given them because they didn't even know HOW TO do that or what it looked like. They were in captivity for so long that even when they were free, they still worshiped by expressing sadness, sorrow, and grief.
The Israelites were constantly murmuring to Moses about going back to Egypt and into slavery because they didn’t know how to simply accept the free blessings from the Lord. They left Egypt but Egypt never left them.
More on background
Bibles were scarce for my family growing up. We relied on the few people who had studied the word to teach us. Whatever we were taught was what we knew and no one ever questioned it. We also relied on the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts. Today, we also rely heavily on the Holy Spirit but also each of us (and I'm sure you as well) own at least 2 or 3 Bibles and God speaks to us individually.
For many years here in America I was singing songs that had to do with deliverance and freedom from the persecution but only when God started to change my heart did I begin to realize that I am already free; we no longer are in a communist country. I can rejoice and worship God. By no means do I want to offend or dismiss what my family had gone through. Even I can remember feelings of terror each time I saw someone in uniform. I just know that we are free now. God has provided this new Land that flows with milk and honey (Exodus 33:3) here in America. We can shout and dance because the Lord is good and His mercy reigns forever.
Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp. Psalm 149:3
Shout to the LORD, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy! Psalm 98:4
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:5
My parents left Ukraine so that they along with their children would worship God freely. Only when I experienced God's love wholeheartedly was when I begin to live freely. I finally experienced and am living the kind of freedom my parents left Ukraine for. I am finally able to understand the REAL freedom to worship after many years of putting God in a box. I am bold enough to take my God everywhere I go. I no longer have to be afraid of people in uniform or afraid that someone will hurt my family for worshiping my God. We live in an amazing country of freedom to worship Jesus. Let's give Him the honor and glory that he deserves. Let's sing from the rooftops and shout in gladness. He is good!
What ever your past may be, know that God has given you freedom to worship Him when He sent Jesus to be that bridge for you. You may be experiencing a bondage in addiction or a trauma. Know that you no longer need to feel that way. Just as God took my family out of Ukraine, God can deliver you from the hand of the enemy in an instance. You no longer have to live in subject to the Egypt in your life.
Pray: Heavily father, I believe in you, please forgive me, take my Egypt of addiction, failure, doubt, fear, abuse, abandonment, anger, resentment, unforgiveness, regret, confusion, (fill in your issue________), thank you Jesus for taking my sin and suffering on the cross for my issue. Thank you for delivering me and giving me freedom. If you had just prayed that prayer, please contact me or tell someone. Jesus wants you to experience freedom daily.