Setting The Captives Free 1
by Shirley Williams
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“Setting The Captives Free!”
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek, He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty (freedom) to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty (freedom) them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
CAPTIVE (American Heritage Dict.)---a prisoner, one held in the grip of a strong emotion, kept under restraint or control.
(Webster’s Dict.)--a prisoner, a person who is enslaved or dominated, made or held prisoner, kept in confinement or restraint.
Taking A Look Back:
Every person on planet earth needs from God, the Father:
Love and affection
Truth (and revelation)
Affirmation (I believe in you)
Grace, mercy, forgiveness
Provisions (healing, deliverance, materially)
Significance (I matter)
Purpose (what am I to do)
Above anything else, a person needs to know that God loves them unconditionally, accepts them, believes in them, understands them, deems them important and significant. God wants every one of His children to know that He has a purpose for them to fulfill in the earth. He has placed the potential for greatness in each person for His Kingdom purposes. He wants each of us to know that He understands us and is touched with the feeling of our infirmities---our weaknesses.
This doesn’t mean He has pity on any of us like we would pity ourselves and throw a party. It simply means, Jesus understands the temptations we face daily and it touches Him and moves Him with compassion. So much so, that He went to the cross to do something about our poor condition. He shed His blood and gave His life so we could receive His precious gift of salvation and be set free from the pain of the past.
When Holy Spirit leads you to review your past history, you will be looking for that one ‘core lie’ that began building a structure of deception in your soul. The object, to allow Holy Spirit’s revelation of truth to expose and destroy the core lie so the structure of supporting lies can begin coming down also. The end result, to walk in greater degrees of the freedom Jesus shed His blood to give us. Amen!
A word of caution, if you are not sure it is the Holy Spirit bringing a past incident to you that He wants dealt with, do a check-list. We’re told, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God…” (I John 4:1).
To do this is to use wisdom and God-given discernment (I Cor. 12:10). So, ask yourself the following:
Is this me that wants to wallow in the past out of self-pity?
Is it the devil bringing up this past event to accuse and condemn me?
Or, is it Holy Spirit wanting to bring me more into the freedom of revelation truth?
Which one does my spirit bear witness to?
This simple check-list is what I have learned to do when I feel a nudge to take a look back. Here is the ‘key,’ when I’m at peace in my spirit because the witness is of the Holy Spirit, then I give my attention to hear what He has to say to me. If I feel uneasy in my spirit, then I know this is a warning to pay NO attention to this false leading of the enemy. When you have a true sense of Holy Spirit’s presence, stay in an attitude of prayer and wait for Him to tell you what He wants to do or say. He won’t leave you hanging. He may only give you one ‘word’ but when you know it is Him, that’s enough to make you say, “Okay, God. Whatever you want, I trust you.”
I don’t believe there is a person alive who enjoys having to face truth about themselves because its often very painful. But in order to be brought to the place of emotional healing, wholeness and freedom, then facing truth is a must. If we want to grow and mature spiritually in the Kingdom of God, we must embrace the pain of our past failures and allow Holy Spirit to bring us into another level of glory and victory.
I don’t enjoy facing truth about myself anymore than the next person and sometimes, I’ve tried to get around it---just like many of you do. Sometimes, I have just out and out ignored the nudging and hoped God would get busy with one of His other children. Isn’t this the way we did with our natural parents when they wanted to speak to us about
something we did or we had not done? Oh my, its so quiet I can hear a pin drop right about now. Did I get by with my actions, that is, ignoring Holy Spirit’s nudging? I sure didn’t. I can assure you that while Holy Spirit is gentle and not pushy, He is persistent in getting your attention.
On several occasions during this ‘looking back’ time, Holy Spirit would keep bringing little reminders to nudge me until I would surrender in obedience. Deep down, I wanted God’s healing. I wanted wholeness and I wanted freedom bad enough that I became willing and obedient to ‘look back’ at everything He wanted me to see truth about. In essence, I had run from the truth when I tried to ignore Holy Spirit’s nudging but like He told me once, “Your running days are about over.” He was so right.
In the opening scriptures from Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:18, Jesus came to earth as all man, all God and He was anointed of God to set the captives free. That is, someone being held captive in a prison without bars through the strong emotional grip of anger, unforgiveness, depression, shame, fear, fear of rejection, etc. Being held prisoner is definitely bad news. Again, the good news is, Jesus is anointed to set the captives free!
What is it that holds a person captive in a prison without bars? It is a lie(s) believed as truth that leads to a wrong belief, which leads to deception, which leads to emotional bruising, which leads to an action (behavior) based on the lie, which leads to habits that serves to mold your life. You become known by them. In the midst of all of this is the anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, retaliation, etc. Thus, a structure of supporting lies is built around the ‘core lie’ to keep it strong and in place in a person’s soul.
All prisons do not have literal and visible bars. A person can be held prisoner in the strong emotional grip of anger, guilt, shame, fear, unforgiveness, etc. That is the bad news. Like I said earlier, the good news is, Jesus, not only came to this earth as a Savior, but also as a Deliver to set the captives free from sin as well as from anything and everything the devil has people bound with. Jesus shed His blood on the cross at Calvary so all people, past, present and future could be set free.
It was all because of love. The ‘Love’ of God that stretches the human mind beyond understanding and sent Jesus to the cross where with His last breath He let out a loud cry, “It is finished!” Therefore, let us not take the blood of Jesus for granted or lightly. Sometimes, our flesh gets tired of hearing about the cross where Jesus poured out His precious life’s blood for you and me--for the whole world. The truth is, we haven’t heard the half of it yet where we can say, that’s enough, I know all about it now.
Jesus hung on that humiliating cross pouring out His life’s blood so you and I could live and not die spiritually. He died a horrible and excruciating death so we could be made free from sin through that blood. So we could be free from everything that has held us bound and tied up within our souls. From whatever it is that has held people within a prison of fear, anger, unforgiveness, alcoholism, lying, stealing, criticism, fear of rejection, etc. Makes no difference what it is, the blood of Jesus has the power to set you free from any and all prisons of bondage. Hallelujah! Jesus said, “I poured out My blood because I love you.” He said this then, He is still saying it today.
You cannot measure the love of God. We just have to accept it by faith and give thanks and praise that His love is abundantly poured out on us with each new day. And with each new day, as we behold Jesus in all His glory, through His word and in our worship of Him, we are being changed more into His image. Praise God!
II Cor.3:18, “But well, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even by the Spirit of the Lord.”
We are being changed more each day into Christ-likeness as we behold the glory of the Lord. The word of God that we read or hear preached or taught is at work in us, changing us from the inside out. Not the outside in. That’s the worlds way. That is, trying to fix things by dressing up the outside to look good and to give the appearance that you have your life all together.
The outside dressing can look attractive while on the inside, you are an emotional mess. God wants to change this about each of His children but we have to be willing to place ourselves on the “Potter’s wheel” and allow Him to re-mold us more into the likeness of Christ. Amen. We need to allow Jesus to become Lord over our lives. Over our homes and marriage relationships. Over our businesses and ministries. Over every part of our lives, allowing the word of God to dwell richly in us in all wisdom. Allowing it to move us into deeper revelation of the Father’s love as we learn to abide in His presence.
The end result being that we become willing to die to ‘self’ and resolve past issues and leave them forever behind in the history of yesterday. Then, by faith, we begin walking more consistently in love toward others, imitating Father God, Who is ‘Love’ Himself. Hallelujah!
Former Tyrant Masters:
Isaiah 26:13-14, “O Lord, our God, other masters besides you have ruled over us, but we acknowledge and mention your name only. They (former tyrant masters) are dead, they shall not live and reappear; they are POWERLESS GHOSTS, they shall not rise and come back. Therefore, you have visited and made an end to them and caused every
MEMORY of them (every trace of their supremacy) to perish.”
Do you have painful memories of the past haunting you? You don’t have to be afraid of those former tyrant masters. All you need to do is trust Jesus because HE is your GHOST BUSTER! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Trust Him to bring healing and wholeness and freedom to your soul. When resolution and restoration has come, those painful memories will never rise again to try and rule over you. The past is dead, it can only live in your memory of your mind. Never forget that Jesus is anointed to set captives free from satan’s strangleholds. Those bondages that he uses to try and squeeze life and hope out of you.
The liberating truth is, Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (I John 3:8). He also told us in John 8:32 that we would know the (revelation) truth, and the truth would make us free. Free from what? Free from the lies of deception. A lie, if believed, will hold you captive but the truth, if believed and accepted, will make you free. Holy Spirit is here to help us as He leads us into all truth and teaches us the ways of love that ultimately brings us to freedom. Therefore, we can trust Him and follow Him wherever He leads, even if at times where He leads doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to our natural mind.
One hard lesson that I have had to learn (and still learning) is to be more patient during the times of confronting unresolved issues of my past. I’m the type person who wants to know the ‘why’s’ of a thing right now. So learning to be patient in this has been a little hard but glory to God, I am learning to trust Holy Spirit more and more to bring things into focus in such a way that I can understand. He has, and He is continuing to do just that. The devil is the one who wants us to remain in darkness (ignorant of truth) but God wants us to come into the light of His revelation of truth.
After I had received Jesus Christ as my Savior and was filled with the Spirit, I dealt with and resolved some issues of my past. We can easily fool ourselves, therefore, I thought I was now at a place where I didn’t really need to keep looking back there. That is, until something from back there would suddenly pop up into my present. That’s about like trying to plug holes in a boat with bubble gum. In no time, those bubble gum corks will pop out and oops, here comes the water of the past rushing back in and making a mess. Thus, you have what is called, a ‘quick fix.’ It doesn’t work.
At the time, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me to go rummaging around back there in the past again. I had lived there far too long. I had spent a considerable amount of time early on facing some things that were very painful. In light of that, I didn’t care to go roaming around there again. As far as I was concerned, I felt that I had moved on. There is a saying that goes, “There is no bigger fool than the fool who tries to fool himself.” I think all of us can identify with that saying at some time or other in our Christian walk with the Lord. I was fooling myself to think that I had resolved all I needed to. Far from it as I was about to find out.
When Holy Spirit began nudging me to deal with some more past issues, I wasn’t all that positive about it. I might not have remembered all the details to any one incident back there, but I still remembered the emotional pain. So, I argued with the Lord and said, “But I’ve already settled the past. Its over and done with and I’m really fine now so, I’d just rather keep moving forward.” He didn’t buy that at all.
God saw the desire of my heart to move on into the deeper things of the Spirit but He could also see things that I couldn’t see because of DENIAL and DECEPTION. I was in denial and I was deceiving myself to think I had finally processed the pain and resolved my past. There were times when I could sense something blocking me from going ‘full steam’ ahead to fulfill my purpose in God. I would often think, “Maybe its not God’s timing yet.” I told myself this more than once as a way of explanation.
There were times when I didn’t understand what was going on with me. I was a Christian, I was suppose to be happy. On the one hand, I was, but on the other hand, I was sometimes miserable. In these times, all I wanted to do was cry. There would be highs when I experienced happiness and joy that God loved me and all seemed right with my world.
After a while, I would hit a low place and I would be miserable again. This would cause me to withdraw myself from people and isolate myself, thinking that I couldn’t be around people in this condition. I didn’t want to drag others down. This truly bothered me because I didn’t feel that I was being real (expressing the real me). The truth was, I didn’t know how to be my real self anymore. I felt I had lost ‘me’ somewhere along the way. Clearly, I was dealing with shame, a lack of true identity and fear of rejection. But praise God, help was on the way. Hallelujah!
God’s timing is always an important factor in anything we do for the Kingdom. Sometimes, we have to cool our jets, as it were, and be patient to wait until God shows us His right time for certain things. When He does, then we’re free to take off and soar into ministry, or a new business venture, or a new marriage, or in building that new church, etc. Its all a matter of learning the discipline of waiting upon the Lord and not running out ahead of Him with no anointing where we end up falling on our faces.
There are times when you know exactly what God is telling you to do, while there are other times when you can’t seem to get a sense of exactly what God wants. Besides not being the right time, could it be that something is hindering you? Do you know, that most of the time the hindrance is ourselves? Not other people and things. Certainly, satan is working to deceive us, as well as working through other people close to us and through circumstances, but mostly it is ourselves who is the biggest hindrance because we have ‘choice.’
God knows what is hindering you from being all you can be in Him, and even more than you, He wants you to be free. He is working by His Spirit in your life toward that goal in order to bring you to the place of freedom. Freedom that you haven’t experienced yet and what your heart cries out for.
Honesty Is the Best Policy:
One of the biggest hindrances in our personal lives and in the body of Christ is shame and the fear of rejection. Fears of every kind, such as the fear of failure. Even fear of succeeding. Fear of responsibility, etc. Other things can also be a hindrance such as angry attitudes, rebellion, isolating one‘s self, insecurity, self-pity, complaining, etc. Usually when you look close enough beneath the outward persona, you will find ‘woundedness’ of some kind and to some degree.
Hebrews 4:13, “And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are exposed, naked and defenseless to the eyes of Him who, we have to do.”
God knows all and He see’s all about each of us individually. In His presence, our heart is exposed and there is not one thing that He doesn’t know about us. There is not a moment that He doesn’t know where we are spiritually and emotionally in our journey with Him. Therefore, if we will get before the Lord and seek Him in prayer, He will reveal to us the source of any hindrance we may feel in our soul.
Our reasoning’s and flimsy excuses are without defense in His presence. Our heavenly Father would rather His children be straight out honest with Him in all things because He already knows the truth. You can’t con God therefore, out of respect and honor for our heavenly Father, who is always truthful with us, we should be the same with Him. To be truthful and honest is not for His benefit. It is for our benefit because truth is liberating to the soul and spirit.
I have learned in my communion with father God, to be honest in my thoughts and feelings and not give excuses the way I have in the past. This is because I’ve also learned that I can trust Him. Yes, I receive correction when my thoughts, feelings and actions are out of line with His word and loving grace. But even so, I always sense His appreciation for my being honest. Plus, I never leave His presence without feeling loved and blessed. Not to mention, I usually receive a nugget of fresh revelation.
You hear it said, honesty is the best policy. That is because when you’re truthful, your conscience is clear. This alone is worth more than you can put a price tag on. Amen! Ephesians 4:25 says, to be truthful with every person, to put away lying.” Of course, we know that we’re to be honest with God first, as well as with others and with ourselves. Broken down, it looks like this, if we love God, we’re honest with Him. If we love others, we’re honest with them. If we love ourselves as our neighbors, then we are honest with ourselves.
The world we live in has a different code that people live by rather than the Bible’s code of righteous principles, one of which is honesty. Many people had rather live by the worlds code rather than by the Bibles code because they are uncomfortable with the truth it reveals about human nature and the desire of the flesh to sin. The light of God’s truth exposes the darkness of sin. The truth exposes wrong attitudes and wrong actions that are contrary to God’s righteous principles set down in His word.
As children of the great God of the Universe, we’re often criticized for telling the truth of where people are in their lives. Often, we remain silent due to the code of the world that has now crept into the church and says, ‘Keep it light, we don’t want to offend anybody. Just make the people feel good, not convicted. And if you happen to say a word that brings conviction, by all means, apologize for it.’ The truth of God’s word always confronts and offends because of overt or hidden sin. Jesus was sorely criticized by the Pharisees for speaking God’s truth and exposing sin, as was the apostles, so I consider myself to be in excellent company. Amen!
Speaking of criticism, there are those times when you withhold the truth from other people, especially those close to you because you don’t want to be criticized. When you’re honest with God, your heavenly Father concerning wrong thoughts, words and actions and you ask His forgiveness, He won’t criticize you. Proverbs 3:12 says, “For whom the Lord loves, He corrects like a loving father corrects his son.” In light of this, let me say again, God will correct you about wrong beliefs and actions---He will teach you more about His ways, but He always does it in love. Praise the Lord!
When God first began working with me about unsettled issues of unforgiveness in my past, I had to be totally honest with Him. I wanted to protest, “But God! What about them? Everybody was against me! Its their fault!” I REALLY wanted to do this but I knew it wouldn’t fly because God already knew my heart. He knew the real story so there was no excuse I could legitimately offer in my defense.
Again, you can’t con a God who knows all and see’s all. He also knows that when truth is revealed, accepted and appropriated, it will strengthen your faith to become rooted in His love. You will be able to rise above those past issues that have held you bound and begin to soar like an eagle. (Isaiah 43:10).
Bottom line, we have to be willing to face whatever truth Holy Spirit brings to us about ourselves. We must be willing to accept responsibility for our less than righteous thoughts, words and actions and desire change (transformation). Even after you make this quality decision of your will, there will be times when you will want to run as far away from the truth as you can. We get into this ‘flight mode’ because taking a look back at the past can be extremely painful to our emotions.
There may even be times when you will flat out deny the truth brought to you so as to avoid the emotional pain of remembered hurts. And look out for the tears to come. Don’t try to stop them. Let them flow because what you may not realize is, that even in this time of remembrance, you are being healed and set free from those cords that have had you bound to the past. The question has been asked, ‘How can I tell if I’ve really been healed and set free?’ You will know when you can take one last look at that certain area of your past and not feel the familiar fear, shame and stab of pain to your emotions. You will know when you can sincerely bless the other person that you once held tightly in anger and unforgiveness.
Free To Receive:
Colossians 1:13-14, “Who has delivered us from the power of darkness (ignorance), and has translated (moved) us into the Kingdom of His dear Son (revelation), in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”
Remember, Jesus said from the cross, “It is finished.” The old was finished so the new could come. We have been delivered out of the darkness of ignorance, (not knowing the truth), and we have been moved over into the light (revelation knowledge) of God’s dear Son. We have been set free from the power of darkness (deception). So, the question is, why isn’t every born again Christian walking in total freedom? Unbelief, shame, fears and wrong choices, etc. will hinder people from walking in all that Jesus shed His blood to give us.
Many Christian’s don’t fully realize the truth and believe how free they are until they hear that word of truth preached or taught from God‘s holy Word. And even then, after hearing the truth, many people still don’t believe it. Through the written Word and through His rhema word (revelation of the logos word), God will bring you the truth. Then, you have a choice to either embrace it by faith or ignore it through unbelief.
Through loving persistence and truth, Holy Spirit will reveal to you the real state of your soul and show you that He has already provided the answer. He will help you to know and experience true freedom. You have to be responsible to receive it by faith, thank Him for it, then walk in it. That is, practice being free every single day as you interact with God and others.
Example of Provision:
If you enter a contest at your local grocery store for a $100.00 worth of groceries to be
given away and your name was drawn, that would make you a winner, right? But what if you were not aware that the drawing had taken place and you didn’t know this free gift was your’s? Would your not knowing make you any less the winner? It would not. Those free groceries are your’s.
Prior to the contest, the store had made arrangements with an advertising company to give away the groceries as a way to boost business. Therefore, the groceries have already been paid for. When the store makes you aware that you are the winner of the contest, all you need to do is receive that $100.00 of free groceries and say, thank you.
The blood of Jesus shed at Calvary purchased your freedom from satanic strongholds and made you a winner in His name. This bears repeating. He made you a winner (victor) over any situation in His name and through His blood that you would ever face in life. Once you have heard the good news of the gospel, all that is left to do is receive it as your’s by faith. Everything Jesus died to give us became ours positionally when He said, “It is finished!” It becomes an experiential reality when we receive it by faith.
Peeling Back the Layers:
When you are born in the natural and not as big as a minute, you are helpless. You are dependent on others to do things for you that you can’t do for yourself. From the moment you draw your first breath, you begin to grow. And as you grow, you will begin accumulating some things that are beneficial and some things emotionally painful and damaging to your soul. You end up gathering unto yourself a lot of layers that will begin to weigh you down spiritually, mentally and emotionally. The accumulated layers of hurt, anger, resentment, fear of rejection, shame, bitterness, unforgiveness, etc. can even affect your physical health.
You are a born again Christian, learning how to follow the Holy Spirit and walk in love as you exercise your faith in God’s word. Through the blood of Jesus, you are free from the penalty and the power of sin but what about those layers of emotional pain still clinging to you? Those layers that you have been wearing like a coat for years. Maybe one or two of those layers came off when you received Jesus as Lord and Savior but many more are in need of removal.
You can become so accustomed to those layers that you don’t realize how weighted down you have become. You are carrying things you were never meant to carry. Jesus said, “Cast all your care upon Me…” (I Peter 5:7). He wants you to walk, not only in freedom, but in His peace and joy. In order to walk in the full manifestation of the new life Jesus died to give you, you must ask Holy Spirit to help you take off those layers of past offenses, of past hurts, fear, anger, unbelief, unforgiveness---everything that is weighing you down and hindering you from fulfilling your God-ordained purpose.
Plain As Day Ministries
November 13, 1998
Updated Feb.16, 2011
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An interesting article. God will bless your tremendous works for His greater glory through writing and Radio. Thank you Shirley. I am thresiapaulose varghese now in the US. Please add me to your friends list and comment my articles.Thank you.