|(photo from thelatterdays.blogspot.com)|
Instead of feeling some strange version of survivor guilt for being freed while others remain chained and defeated, I need to step up to help set them free; I need to step up into a holy boldness. (And I’m not the only one!)
Whether you’re standing on your old pile of chains or you’ve long since discarded them, you, like I do, remember being tied down and held back. You may even recall the sound of your falling chains off as you surrendered to the One Who set you free.
I heard the way they train circus elephants not to run off is by chaining them to a post while they’re babies. That chain and their limited space to move teach them that’s all there is to their lives. As they get older, bigger and stronger, the post can be removed from the ground without fear the elephant will wander off or become destructive, because the elephant has already learned their limitations. If they only knew!
Perhaps you still have a few shackles around your feet or tethered to your heart. Maybe, you’re convinced they’ll always be there - because they’ve always been there. Either way, there’s freedom in Christ. Once He shatters our chains, though, we need to recognize our liberty. We can continue to walk around in the same small circles we’ve always gotten dizzy in, or we can learn to walk a new path. Think about it, when a blind man is given his sight, he can no longer sit and beg alms, he needs to (gets to) go out and make his own way.
Learning to walk that new path isn’t hard, but it’s certainly challenging; there will be hard parts to the often mountainous journey and there will be fun downhill sled rides. But we can’t take part in any of it until we find our way. And Jesus proclaimed, “I am the way!” That’s the good news!
But, getting back to those chains; if we’ve learned to call those cumbersome bands “jewelry”, masquerading around like they’re all the rage, and believing that even those around us don’t see how confined we are, it’s unlikely we’ll yield to the only One Who can loose us from their well defined hold. In any form of confinement, there is a conditioning process. We can lose hope and be enslaved forever, or we can reach for our hope throughout every single day, believing we’ll be rescued.
|(Photo from www.stacyvoss.com)|
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1 (KJV) Faith – faith in something or someone, keeps hope alive.
Though I’ve read Sun Tzu’s book, The Art of War, I’m no student of battle, nor a fan of war movies. I’ve not studied the tactics man uses to conquer other men. But, from what I have seen in a half a century of living, it’s easy for most of us to give up. Whether we’re giving up on yet another diet, or we’re imprisoned and see no way out. Maybe that’s why we love movies where the very impossible is overcome and true stories of how someone else rose from nothingness to have it all; where they suffered sure defeat only to rise up to unbelievable victory. We watch a human spirit triumph and we somehow share in that glory and revel in their freedom – all from our comfy theater seat or living room couch, even knowing our own inner struggles have us feeling defeated. Those stories can give us the shot of hope we so desperately search for.
|(Photo from naldzgraphics.net)|
Spiritual chains are even stronger than physical chains. Physical chains restrain where we go. Spiritual chains restrain the power we’ve (already) been given, rendering us impotent.
Where we are weak, there are spiritual chains. Sometimes we don’t see our own weaknesses because we’ve lived in them so long; we believe that’s how we were made and should be okay with it, learning to live with it or adapt to it, diminishing who we are created to be. Now, if I lose my legs in an accident, that’s something to adapt to, but I don’t need to let it diminish who I am. Sometimes we need to take a serious look in a mirror. But a literal mirror will only show physical chains.
We need to look into the mirror of God’s Word to see how we’re SUPPOSE to look; to see the power we actually have and to recognize the chains that suppress us. I suggest reading through the New Testament; I’d begin with the first chapter of the book of John. Here’s a link to it to get you started: The Book of John, Chapter One
I’m not a counselor of any sort, but I’d like to think I encourage. I’m more than happy to answer the questions I can – but know, I probably have more questions than you do. Jesus Loves Me, This I Know ----- Jesus Knows Me, This I LOVE!
To get you up and off that couch, listen to Mary Mary perform their song Shackles, one of my favorites!