“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” – Isaiah 61:1 (NLT)
I was recently having a conversation with a friend who was remarking about the things that God seems to be doing and the changes He has made in my life. This person went on to basically say that there were things that needed to change in their life but they probably wouldn’t change. When I asked why, this person said they wouldn’t change because they didn’t want them to change, that there were things they were unwilling to give up, actions which are clearly at odds with the way Christ calls us to live. I started to think about this and realized that this in an issue of freedom and slavery. This passage from Isaiah speaks specifically to that. Actually, when Jesus began his public ministry, this is the passage He quoted in the synagogue that day. I wonder why.
See, many people seem to think that a life lived with Jesus means some sort of list of rules, dos and don’ts. This could not be further from the truth. Jesus himself said, in quoting Isaiah, that He came to set us free, to bring us the good news of freedom and life and to comfort us. Set us free from what? Slavery. Slavery to ourself, to the lies that satan feeds us, from the sin which we bask in as though we really enjoyed it. I can only look at my own life for a story of self-induced slavery.
During my twenties, I was a slave. I served so many masters, I had no idea what I was doing about half the time. I served the master of booze, sex and anger, just to name a few. I was in bondage and hated myself for every second I spent wallowing in those pits and then hated myself for hating myself. I was so turned around, I had no idea how to break free or which way was up or down.. And, satan was happy. See, he got me to agree with all the crap said about me, all the things I lived out. He got me to agree that I was a drunk, that I was a womanizer and an angry young man. Once I agreed, the chains were clamped on and I became a slave.
Then, to top it all off, my beloved sister died suddenly for some reason I could not possible comprehend. My world was rocked, shattered. I was numb, raging, confused and desperate. In that rage, that fog of confusion, He spoke to me. He told me he loved me and He had come to show me a new way, a way to freedom. Naturally, I was in no mood at the time to listen to a God who had just allowed my sister to die. But, things began to change and He would not stop chasing me, He would not let me go, He would not let me surrender to my chains. And, over time, He is making all things new in my life.
He has showed me how to live without slavery, without fear, without chains. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there are times when I still jump back into old habits, back into slavery. It is at those times that He simply reminds me of who He is and how much He loves me. I want you to know that you don’t have to be who you hate. You can remake yourself if you will only surrender to the One who makes all things new. If you find yourself wanting to change, to break free, then throw yourself on Him, His mercy, His love for you. He loves you and He will remake you. The Word says that He has created in us a new heart, that we are a new creation if we know Him. There is no compromise with evil. We cannot live in a way that says, ‘Well, give me this and I’ll do what you ask.’ It’s not that we don’t love God, it’s just that we love ourselves more than we love Him and, for whatever reason, we are addicted to our chains, our self-made prisons.
In the movie Braveheart, there is a scene which rings true with this theme. The princess is sent to barter peace with Wallace and his army. The king offers Wallace land, titles and a chest of gold if Wallace will only withdraw his army. Wallace’s response? He refuses of course because to accept this bribe, this agreement would make him a Judas to his own people, to himself. The princess says, “Peace is made in such ways.” Wallace snaps back with fire in his eyes, “Slaves are made in such ways!”
So, will you accept the offer that the great liar has for you? Will you accept his compromise, his chains? Why would we choose our chains? Why would we choose to be slaves? Would you be free? Ask yourself that question…do I want to be free?
Would you be free? Then you must stand and fight!!!