I had to sign a contract when I enrolled in a Christian college my freshman year. The contract included, "I will not dance, smoke, drink, or gamble." I was a terrible dancer, didn't smoke, was 17 years old (too young to drink), and typically lost at cards, so I signed, but I did wonder why. After all, Paul had written the church in Galatia, "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1). These rules seemed less than free.
Now freedom doesn't mean you can do anything you want, because when it is Christ who sets you free, you won't want to do just anything. Some things, Paul says, will actually send us back to slavery, and he mentions "sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these" (Galatians 5:19-21). Don't do those, he says, or they will take over your life and master you.
But there are certain things you can enjoy any time, all the time. That list Paul calls the fruit of the Spirit. I've often wondered if perhaps this would be a better contract for a Christian college: I will pursue "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23). I'd be happier signing that one.
My God, You have changed everything about my life. I used to think I was in charge and could do anything I wanted, but I discovered that those things took over, and pretty soon, I did them whether I wanted to or not. They were in charge and they weren't good. So I asked You to take over, and Your Son saved me, and Your Holy Spirit took over my life. My desires are becoming Your desires, and I am doing more and more good, not because I have to, but because I want to. Thank You. It's a better way to live!