How Do You Spell Freedom?

Q: How do you spell, “freedom”?

What if true freedom defies our current, common categories?

Today I was a guest on a podcast with a good friend and amazing leader.

We talked about the Asbury Outpouring for one thing, and then about holiness.

She asked me what I thought holiness meant, especially in the aftermath of the outpouring.

My answer surprised me.


Holiness means freedom. It’s not sheer moral purity, though that is often a result. It’s something much more than that.

What drew people to the holiest human being who ever lived—Jesus? It was the beauty of holiness (Ps. 96:9), his set-apart-for-God-ness.

He embodied a life, wholly free.

Free from what?

Free from the sickness of sin.

Let’s cut to the chase. Sin makes us sick. Missing the mark makes us sick. Reveling in dark thoughts and motives and judgements makes us sick.

Being set apart for Jesus—set apart from my old ways and old thoughts and old patterns and old feelings—is the only cure for the heart.

And if the heart is cured, humanity will be cured.

Make no mistake, Jesus was piercing the heart of the world with a human revolution. No government by the people, for the people, can compare.

And the Holy Spirit leads us to this freedom. Holiness is allowing the Holy Spirit to make us like Jesus in every respect. It is a gift the Lord gives, and we lean into it.

We don’t repent because we have to—we repent because we get to.

We don’t consecrate ourselves to Jesus because its our obligation—we consecrate ourselves to Jesus because it is his invitation.

I, for one, am tired of being un-free.

I for one, am tired of being sick with sin—mistrust, self-dependence, fear, hatred, lovelessness, aggravation and irritation and frustration of the kinds that flow from a heart divided, a soul spent injuriously in the wrong places.

Sin doesn’t age well; it looks worse on us, and feels worse in us, as the years progress.

Jesus, I want freedom. I want holiness. I want anything out of the way that separates me from the incredible love you have for me. And I want healing. All of it. From my mental anguish and incessant return to old patterns of thinking and feeling and acting.

The Fourth of July in the United States celebrates a form of freedom for which I and every other American should be grateful. Truly. Our social freedom is a profound, stunning gift, and nothing less.

But it’s a dim view of ultimate freedom if we leave freedom to be defined in the realm of rights and options and freedom of speech and personal agency.

They all matter, they truly do.

But there is a transcendent freedom to which all other forms of freedom ultimately bow, and even find in it their root and source.

Freedom from the soul-decaying sickness of sin—that’s the freedom that really gets the job done. People in bondage and under the worst, most brutal and hell-bent governments that have ever existed, have tasted freedom of the heart while suffering.

For that freedom, I’m in. And for that freedom for others, I’m in again.

I’ve watched sin kill—both quickly and slowly. Let’s not do that, shall we? Let’s not stay chained to anything for even a moment longer.

For those in the United States, a blessed Fourth of July to you.

Savor the freedom you have in Christ, and I encourage you to be thankful to live in a country with the kinds of freedoms we enjoy. Sacrifice purchased them. Thank a veteran if you see one.

But if someone asks me to spell “freedom,” I will spell it just one, ultimate way.

I spell freedom J-e-s-u-s.

I really do.

Today, in Christ, be free to become whole instead of divided, healed instead of sick, full instead of empty. Be free in heart and mind, and enjoy being free in body because of a good government and good systems.

It is for freedom that Christ comes to you, to me, today. He is in you, and His freedom is in you. Lord, take us to a wide open space today, where we can be free.

We conclude with a favorite passage from Psalm 18:16-19.

16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Great love,

Dan +


For weekly encouragement, join my email list here.


Photo by Victor Rodriguez on Unsplash


Sheltering Mercy: Prayers Inspired by the Psalms

Sheltering Mercy, along with its companion volume, Endless Grace, helps us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. This book contains 75 prayers drawn from Psalms 1-75, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning in the Psalms. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

This artful, poetic, and classic devotional book features compelling custom illustrations and foil-stamped hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms.