Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Chains That Bind

My devotions this morning refered to Chris Tomlin's "Amazing Grace".  He sings:  
"My chains are gone. I’ve been set free 
My God, my Savior, has ransomed me.
And like a flood, his mercy reigns.
Unending love. Amazing grace.”

I played the song on YouTube, and as I listened, my thoughts hovered over a beautiful truth that has thrilled my heart with the immensity of it's chains are gone!  I can walk away from the chains that have held me captive to defeat, fear, anxiety and all manner of sin.  We are free to live the abundant life of liberty.  2 Cor. 3:18b says:  " where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."  

We have been given the liberty to choose.

  We can continue to sit in darkness in our chains like a familiar albeit miserable old coat, or we can shrug them off, rise and leave them lying on the floor as we walk out into the light.  There is a human phenomenon called "learned helplessness".  What happens is that if we experience failure repeatedly, we come to believe that there is no way to experience a different outcome and we cease to try...even when circumstances change that would have allowed us to experience success.  Women trapped in abusive marriages can experience learned helplessness and decline to escape their tormentor, even when an avenue such as a shelter opening is provided for them.

Sin can be like an abusive husband who torments us daily and convinces us that we have no way out.  Well, I have news for you!  God provided a way out through Jesus Christ.  His work on the cross loosed the chains of sin, fear and shame that keep us from living the free, abundant life God intended for us.

The power of faith

What is the key?  Why it is faith of course.  Our beliefs are infinitely more powerful than any actual circumstance.  Why does one blind person sit in dark loneliness, feeling worthless and pitiful while another has a vibrant joyous career and social life?  Faith.  Somewhere along the way, they came to believe that such a thing was possible for them and they began to walk according to their belief.  Were there obstacles and failures along the way?  Most certainly, but their deep belief led them to try again and again and adapt and find another way if possible.  But they would not give up. 

I am not just speaking of belief in our intrinsic value or our unique abilities, but of a belief that the work of Christ is finished and that we truly are no longer bound by our chains...whatever they may be.  When we walk according to His will for us, we can be assured that we will find strength to complete the good work He has begun in us.  It is only when we believe the lies of the enemy in that time of temptation that we fall and run back our old ways.  

Walking in freedom can be a very foreign, even scary experience.  We must take courage and hold tight to our Lord and Savior (and the hands of some dear friends who have gone before) and learn to walk, much like I am seeing my beautiful granddaughter begin to take her first faltering steps.  Sometimes she has to sit down, just because she gets so scared!

Eleanor Roosevelt said:  "Do something every day that scares you".  What an adventure life becomes when we live by those words!

Lord Jesus:
Give us faith to walk in the abundant free live you are offering us.  We refuse to listen to the voices of fear, shame, worry and helpessness.  We are free indeed!