“You’re going to do it and you’re going to like it.”
You might have heard an adult saying something like that when you were a kid. It’s another way of saying, “You’re going to do it and you’re going to put a brave face on it. Stop you’re whinging. Change your outlook.”
There are two kinds of people in this world—the grateful and the ungrateful.
The ungrateful person’s glass is half empty. They’re always trying to get more. The grateful person’s glass is half full, they’re determined to enjoy what they have.
The grateful person enjoys whatever freedom they have—even if it is very little. They might climb mountains and jump out of aeroplanes. They are relaxed in their manner and they’re usually good to be around. The grateful person can be very inspiring. They’ve determined to be happy. They are determined to live.
And that’s the key to the experience of freedom—determination.
The ungrateful person is often miserable to be around. Nothing is good enough. There’s almost always someone to blame or something to complain about. It's miserable being around such an unhappy person.
Now it’s important to remember that a grateful person can be essentially selfish. (And many are.) They might be good to be around on some adventure, but they can be awful to be around if they are self-centred. Selfish people drive others away. To be really free a person must be grateful and other centred.
Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (See John 8)
Now this may sound silly, but if you grit your teeth and say, “I’m going to do what Jesus says and I’m going to like it. Whether I like it or not!” and you stick with it; giving thanks for the good things, you will find joy where you might have thought it could not be found. Your will will become strong and your heart will be free. You’ll be the kind of person other people will want to be around.*
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Jesus came to set us free; to bring the kind of freedom which comes not only from choosing, but choosing that which most satisfies. (There is no point in having a strong will if we pursue things that alienate us from those we care about. Jesus came to make our wills strong and our hearts free. Enjoyment with others--intimacy--is what makes life worth living. We were made to know the pleasure of love. And this is what Jesus came to do; to set things right between God and man, and man and man. "Love makes everything lovely.")
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." (Gal 5:1)
* Note carefully, even the person in a jail cell can experience more freedom than the millionaire who always see their glass as half empty. This is a kind of freedom that is governed by the will, not by a person’s financial situation or their location.
This is no easy thing. It can be very tough. But the longer you stick at it the stronger you will be. Many times you will feel like giving up and sometimes you might. But don’t stay there. Get up. Ask God for help and get moving again. This kind of change can be dramatic at first but it still takes time to really change. It takes time for the neurons in your brain to rewire and then strengthen their connections. If you trust and obey Jesus you will be transformed by the renewing of your mind (See Rom 12:1, 2).
Trust Jesus. Only he can set you free.