“Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.’”
I once thought about joining the Navy, but the truth is, that lingering thought passed by pretty quickly! I figured I love the water, I love boats, and I’m interested in different places, why not? Well, the answer came to my mind the moment I realized I wouldn’t be able to get off the ship any time I liked. I would be trapped and unable to walk around. I would have limits and I couldn’t tell the Captain it’s time to take me ashore. As you might guess, confinement really bothers me. But I think many of us feel this way. I don’t know anyone in their right mind who really enjoys being trapped, especially trapped by situations. The worst entrapment of all is the enslavement of our hearts; the feeling that we are stuck in an emotional or physical condition which there is no freedom in sight. When we feel bound, one of the first reaction is panic which soon becomes desperation and desperate people often do desperate things which most likely bring a deeper struggle. Perhaps you can recall a vision of a trapped animal; it’s thrashing about inflicts more harm to itself. It is in this vision that we have the picture of our lives bound in the confinement of sin.
After we are exhausted from our situations, it seems our hearts sink into resignation. We resign not only to our circumstances, but worse, we resign from hope. Resignation becomes our new norm and slavery becomes more a reality than freedom. Often those who have spent a significant amount of time being incarcerated become so used to their imprisoned environment that the thought of freedom becomes a staggering terror. As we intuitively know, there is much more to being incarcerated than just bars. We also know that there are many more manifestations of prisons than those made of bars. There are the jails of loneliness, embitterment, fear and reticence; the bars of addictions, reputations, lost dreams… The point is; we can get so resigned to our lives being this way that the thought of breaking out and living in freedom is too terrifying to imagine.
What we need is a redeemer instead of a warden! Jesus proclaims that He has come to set the captives free. He also states that if He has announced your freedom then you are most certainly free, but before our hearts can even begin to step from our houses of penitentiary and the labor camps of the heart we’ve grown accustom to we must first know His motivation for our freedom. The motivation of His declaration is both simple and daring at the same time. It is in the beauty of His affections for you. Jesus really does love you! He loves you with the compassionate love a parent has for their injured child. I have counseled with many families of which their loved ones were enslaved to some type of addictions. I can speak to the hope they feel for the day of their loved one release. I have seen firsthand the sacrifices made to purchase the freedom of their loved ones, but I can only scratch the surface of the elation they feel when that release of their loved one becomes a reality. Their rejoicing is not over the struggle being gone, nor for the salvation of their reputations, rather the elation is because the one they love is free. It is this kind of abiding love Jesus has for us.
Jesus’ declaration of our freedom is daring in that we really have to trust that Jesus loves us the way He says He does. Jesus does not leave us in a blind trust decision, but gives us the greatest display of His trustworthy love on the cross. When all else seek to cage you, whenever people or circumstances lock up your heart, Jesus proclaims; dare to trust the evidence of My love for you on the cross more. It is at the cross that we can dare to step out into the freedom Jesus has provided. The really great thing about freedom from Jesus is that there are no boundaries; we are endless in the places we have to wander in His heart. There are no fetters, no bars, and no blocks for assignments; only an endless range of grace in which we stroll without constraint. In the Son there is renewal in His freedom and Jesus as the highest authority has made you free, therefore, you are free indeed!
Jesus, my heart has been in prison too long! I have made the walls of confinement my home for too long. Take me from my places of entrapment and release me into the vast range of your boundless grace. Jesus, I love you! Help me to trust that you love me more than I could ever define. Lord set me free so that I may be free indeed!
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.