When I first came back to the Lord after walking away for seven years, I have to admit I defined my life in what "I can't do." You know "I can't drink." "I can't do drugs." "I can't have sex." I can't cuss." "I can't smoke." "I can't watch that." "I can't listen to that." I was always focused on the authority of my Lord, and the things I can't do and be in a relationship with him. I changed my life drastically, but my heart was not in that choice. I was doing it because "The big guy in the sky." I was not doing it because it was the right thing to do, but because someone told me I had to. My motive was not relationship, it was the punitive judgement I thought would fall on me. My flesh still cried out for every one of those things.
As I grew in my walk with God, I started to slowly renew my mind. My "cant's" changed to "dont's." I don't do this or that. My motive was not out of relationship, it was out of religious pride. "I don't do that, because I am strong enough in that area." Although I might have been, I don't think I was intentionally trying to put myself above someone else, but I think my flesh was. I wanted to show all the things I "don't do" because I am "such a good Christian." I don't have to deal with that anymore. My flesh at times still wanted those things, but I didn't partake because I needed to prove I was more "spiritual" than that.
The other day I found myself answering "I can do it, I just make a choice not to." God has revealed something else and made yet another change in my attitude as I daily chose to renew my mind. I realize now that all those "cant's" and all those "dont's" are fruitless in God's eyes because my attitude is what He is looking at. God had given me freedom of choice. I can chose to be in a relationship with Him. I can chose to put Him first. I can chose to live intimately with Him in obedience or I can chose to focus on the shouldn't and couldn't things.
He gives me the freedom to chose. He is not going to crush me and He is certainly not impressed by my religious attitude. God is looking for my choice. He is looking at my heart when I make that choice, and nothing from Him is hidden (Psalms 44:21 and Romans 2:15-16). He is looking for me to chose His ways over my own. He is looking for me to put Him first in my life. He is looking for me to honor Him with my whole life. He is looking for my actions to line up with my renewed mind. He is looking for me to chose to walk in obedience to Him because I love Him and want nothing to come between us. The freedom I have, comes from my choices!