It’s a strange phenomenon. Some people seem to be living in the freedom of the Spirit, alive and full of joy. Others seem absolutely miserable, even while claiming the truth of the gospel. What’s the difference? How can the same message produce such vastly different results?
It’s a matter of how internalized the message has become. If the gospel doesn’t change our inner nature, its outward standards become enslaving. That’s a miserable condition, no matter how much we might claim Christ in the midst of it. And it’s an inevitable condition when we try to achieve behavioral change without heart change. It can’t be done. It leads to constant failure and frustration.
But when inner change happens—when the power and energy of the Spirit get deep within us, into the inner workings of our desires and emotions—it’s liberating. That’s why it’s essential not only to know God’s Word and do it but to synchronize feelings and desires with his heart. That’s where change happens and where freedom comes. A heart aligned with his cannot help but experience his joy.