Decades ago, I was trying to decide whether or not to go to a conference overseas. I remember asking God about it and hearing His reply, ‘Do whatever you like.’ I can’t ever remember being as flash-burn angry with Him as I was at that moment. I had asked for His guidance and got nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Nought. At least it seemed that way. But not too long later, I realised He’d given me one of His greatest treasures. It was the gift of freedom.
It also wasn’t too many days after that that I actually realised why I’d been so angry. I’d felt lost, disoriented, uneasy. In retrospect, I realised that, for perhaps the very first time in my entire life I was genuinely able to choose to do something or not to do it, exactly as I wanted. No one, not even God, would have input into my decision. It wasn’t a momentous choice, just a small one, but my sense of freedom in making it was so unfamiliar that I instinctively defaulted to looking for someone to control the outcome for me. And who better than God?
But God will not control us. He will not deprive us of freedom or of freewill. He will not make our choices for us. So many people, on reaching a threshold, want exactly that: they look to God to make the right choice for them.
And He’s silent.
Because it’s not His choice that matters on the threshold, it’s ours. There are two important aspects in play: our choice demonstrates whether or not we are loyal to Him; but if we cannot freely choose, if He in fact controls the choice, then not only is no loyalty shown, but He would become like an abuser.
God is the giver of freedom and freewill. He allows us such a great expanse of freedom that we can say ‘no’ to Him. He won’t force us to choose His way. He is not a controller, an abuser, a manipulator, an exploiter, a coercer, an oppressor, a dictator or dominator. These are the attributes of Belial.
You’d think, from stories and movies of people who’d been controlled and abused all their lives, that freedom would be a rapturous and joyous release. But it’s not. It’s frightening; scary. It’s a world in which, suddenly, we have to be responsible for our own choices and their consequences. The fear of a mistake can be a paralysing one, the more so because our image of God as king is more autocratic than biblical.
Because freedom is a fearful responsibility, it’s immensely hard for some people to take it up. The security of having all their decisions made for them and never having to accept blame for their own actions reduces them to complicity with their abuser and with Belial, year after year. It’s not just group mind control that’s the problem; often it’s fear of freedom.
This is Grace Drops and I’m Anne Hamilton. The Lord grant you freedom from fear of freedom.
Thank you to Lorna Skinner of www.riversofmusic.co.uk for the background music.
More on the spirit of Belial can be found in the paperback, Dealing with Belial: Spirit of Armies and Abuse, Strategies for the Threshold #8.