Summary: I am free to honor the Lord through the way I live and through the way I die
Jesus followers are free. In North America our perspective of the word "free" is much different than our Christian counterparts in other parts of the world like, China, Pakistan, India, Iran, Egypt, Syria and North Korea. In those parts of the world Jesus followers are Spiritually free in every way like we are, but, are not as free as we are to express their faith in any public way. Here's an example of what most Christians in these parts of the world experience.
As Paul wrote the book of Romans he had faced his share of persecution. Paul had been whipped, beaten, tortured, imprisoned and left for dead. He was one of many thousands of Christians during the first 300 years of the Church to be treated this way. When you read a New Testament book you need to keep this perspective in your mind at all times that the person who wrote that book more than likely was persecuted and killed for preaching Jesus. So how could these writers say something like this, "For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love." Galatians 5:13
Or this, "For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil." 1 Peter 2:16
Of course the New Testament writers simply confirm what Jesus has already taught, "And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
How can these writers including Jesus talk about freedom and living as free people and yet experience the undeniable pain and persecution they endured? Because they knew Jesus. They knew the resurrected Jesus. Jesus knew He had the power to raise Himself from the dead.
"For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead." Romans 14:7-9
What do all of us who follow Jesus have in common, no matter where in the world we live? I am free in Jesus to honor Jesus. This is a truth that is confirmed in the teaching of Jesus. "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me." Luke 9:23
I am free to honor Jesus through the way I live. "If we live it's to honor the Lord."
Here's one way to honor the Lord through the way you live. Jesus teaches us how, "turn from your selfish ways." Throughout the New Testament the writers confirmed this teaching of Jesus. It's impossible to be a selfish person and a follower of Jesus. By our nature a follower of Jesus is willing to give anything we can and have to those in need and to help share the Gospel of Jesus. The first church modeled this. We don't talk about tithing much but we should because tithing is a Spiritual discipline that helps us overcome selfishness.
In general, tithing refers to the practice of giving one tenth of one's income for the work of God. In the Old Testament, tithing was understood as a response of gratitude and an obligation. In the light of the New Testament, some Christians believe tithing is still an obligation, whereas other Christians understand tithing to be a loving, freely chosen response to God's gracious provisions for life - God's grace! Tithing is understood by many Christians to be an important discipline because we want to seek the Kingdom of Jesus first. Jesus encouraged his followers to tithe.
Because we exist as a church to increase and mature God's people we believe it's a vital part of your Spiritual maturity to tithe. Jesus said "turn away from your selfishness." Paul confirms this teaching, "Don't use your freedom to satisfy your selfish nature." That may seem like a hard message to hear, but, Jesus also said this, “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." Matthew 6:31-33
Wrestling with faith I don't think has much to do with belief. I think it has more to do with trust. Do you trust Jesus and His promises? If you live to honor Jesus then you do and you experience the freedom that comes from experiencing His blessings. If you want to honor the Lord through the way you live then deny your selfish nature and follow Jesus.