It is a gray day. The horizon is covered in a thin blanket of white and swirls of snowflakes tumble to the ground in a seemingly intricate woven dance.
The snow is beautiful but cold and I long for milder weather.
In fact, I dream of the “dog days of summer” with this in mind…
A bright summer day, soft breeze in the air, nature in bloom, and the sky a beautiful cornflower blue dotted with soft white clouds-- a vehicle speeds along with a shaggy dog stretching his head out the window, tongue wagging in the wind and having the time of his life!
The picture of pure bliss as the dog drinks in every second of the car ride- taking in all the sights, sounds and smells with abandon.
The picture brings me a smile to my face as it screams- FREEDOM.
Doesn’t the very word invoke a sense of peace and joy?
On the flip side… words like captivity, prison, chains, cage, bondage, and weight all have the opposite effect.
“Captivity is the greatest of all evils that can befall one.”
Miguel de Cervante
Along those same lines, I recently heard someone say, “that the hardest prisons to break free from are those that we have constructed for ourselves.”
Don’t we all carry around some type of chain or bondage that holds us captive? Things that drag us down and make us weary? Mistakes, habits, circumstances, situations that cause us anxiety and guilt, that plays like a broken record that never stops?
Many of us don’t even appreciate the burdens that we lug around: addiction, debt, shame, harmful habits, guilt, fear, past mistakes, neglect, feelings of inadequacy and even the burden of people pleasing and not having the courage to tell people “no.” EXHAUSTING!
Although, the most tragic chains are the ones that we deny and refuse to acknowledge for ourselves!
Over time, these burdens layer invisible chains around us- weighing us down and preventing us from living a life that is FREE.
So how can we break free?
Step 1- Appreciate that the foundation of our bondage is based upon the masterful work of Satan in the form of lies and manipulation.
Scripture tells us that Satan is our adversary.
In John 8:44 it is written-
“He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
In 1 Peter 5:8 we read, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Know the source, know the enemy and know the battle.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Step 2- Understanding what our constructed prison looks like; time spent in self-reflection to uncover our unique prison walls. What has been constructed and allowed hold in our lives that confines us?
What is it for you?
What holds you down?
What lies have you listened to for years that has kept you in a dark place that leaves you feeling dejected, unworthy, unhappy, unloved, defeated?
Step 3- The final and ultimate step is accepting the true freedom from ALL bondage that can only be found in Christ.
"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed."- Isaiah 53:5
The power that raised Christ from the dead is the same power that can easily break your chains.
The key is looking to the source of TRUTH, turning over your burdens to Him and having faith to believe that all things are possible through Christ who gives you strength.
You don’t have to live life bound in chains. Forgiveness, truth and healing are found in Christ.
All we need to do to break free is:
Appreciate = know the source;
Understand = see our prison clearly; and
Accept = turn to Christ for our liberation!
Christ is the ultimate liberator!
Are you ready to be freed? To enjoy that warm summer day with the wind in your hair and your spirits soaring?
Lord, you have called us in righteousness, you promised to hold us by the hand and to watch over us. You promised to be our light, our guide and to free us from dwelling in the darkness of prison. Father, forgive us for believing in the enemy’s lies and allowing chains of deception to be placed around us. Free us Lord from the bondage that confines us so that we may live life free, basking in the glory of your redemptive love.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” -John 8:36