SETTING THE CAPTIVES FREE
Earlier, we spoke of how many people keep themselves confined to a "prison" often times of their own making. See the previous post titled "Some prisoners are Meant to be Free". I promised we would look at some of the things that hold us captive, how we can release ourselves and what happens when we do.
Unfortunately, there are many things that can keep us "locked up". Many people have the false assumption that just because we gave our lives to Jesus Christ, we somehow become problem free. Life does not suddenly become a cake walk though, and in fact Christians can be faced with problems of a different sort than our counterpart non-Christians.
Christians can get snared into the same traps of captivity that the rest of society can. There are some who deal with addictions. These can range from drugs or alcohol, pornography, overspending, smoking, eating disorders, gambling and a host of others. Do these addictions make us any less Christian or "saved"? I personally don't think so, but they are things that hinder our growth and our walk with Christ.
Many who come to Christ have excess baggage. We may have grown up in an abusive home, suffered trauma, harbor resentment and even hate. Many have been exposed to "cults" and false religions or homes where God was used as a weapon of sorts, that have made us hesitant to commit our lives to a loving God.
Of course too, there are many that feel that Christianity has too many rules and requirements. They think that they have to give up their life of "fun" and become some kind of ‘kill joy'. This leads to being a "fence sitter"; choosing to stay rather neutral and not committing 100%. This too keeps people imprisoned by false concepts.
Certainly, many of us have to change our lifestyle. We cannot partake of things that are immoral and may cause a division between us and God. Scripture clearly states that we will become new creations, not wanting to be involved in the sinful activities we may have had in our old lifestyle. But is this really giving up anything? It's better to give up some bad habits instead of hanging on to them and risking our eternal soul.
If we look at a few Scriptures, maybe we'll have a clearer idea of this. In Romans chapter 6 we find some evidence of what I mean. Verse 18: "..and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. Just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so NOW present your members as slaves to righteousness." Continue reading to the end of the chapter for further.
Being a "slave of righteousness" does not hold the same bondage as being a slave to sin, but in fact holds a great freedom for us. Jesus said in John 8:34 that everyone who commits sin is a slave to it. Scripture also tells us that the wages of sin is death–eternal death. Another problem with sin is that one sin leads to another. It's like a snowball effect.
Think about this; have you ever told a lie? Most of us have, but it seems that you can't get by with just one lie because many times that lie needs to be covered up or justified with yet another lie, on and on it goes. Before you know it, that one "little" lie has grown to gargantuan size and you have become bound by it.
Sin breeds sin. When we live in and with sin, we are merely puppets of the devil. Take a look at 2 Timothy 2:26; "..and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil having been held captive by him to do his will." I don't know about you, but I don't want to have anything to do with that creep and certainly don't want to be doing his will!
It seems that this is becoming longer than I had expected! I will stop here for now, but will pick up this conversation in my next post here. Stay tuned for "Deliverance from Bondage".
Copyright 2004 Pastor Brenda Libby
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This should be 'required reading" for all new believers!
Though I have never cared for the term, carrying extra baggage, I do believe that you have pointed out some VERY authentic truths. There is no such thing as a person on this earth that has not sinned, no matter what he/she does--addictions, whatever. And you are right...many of these folks are Christians with good hearts. I enjoyed your write very much.