However, even people who live in a "free" country can still be in bondage. For years I felt like my health problems kept me bound, like chains constricting me. Until God showed me that true freedom is rooted in our spirits, not in our circumstances.
The first step of freedom is knowing Jesus as personal Savior. Once He delivers us from the fear of death, our hearts know true freedom. However, many things in this world still attempt to bind us. Embracing freedom in our spirits is an ongoing process.
I wrote about this in my first book, Grace In Time Of Need. I hope this excerpt will encourage you today. Praise God that HE is the one who gives true freedom!
One thing I dislike about suffering is the feeling of helplessness, of being bound by my circumstances and unable to do anything about it. It feels like being in prison or dragging around heavy chains.
Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me. -Psalm 142:7
Whenever I would read this verse, I would ask God to set me free from the prison of my circumstances. Hundreds of people have prayed for my physical healing. Wouldn’t God be praised if He “set me free”? Year after year went by, and still God’s answer was “no.” I tried to trust that He had a better plan, but that didn’t stop me from continuing to ask for healing.
One day as I prayed yet again to be set free from my “chains,” God opened my spiritual eyes to see more clearly. He showed me that my health problems were not the real “chains.” They were like dental floss compared to the chains I had been blind to for so long. What really bound me were chains of fear, resentment, idolatry and self-centeredness.
These sins had been part of my life for so long, I didn’t even see them. It was only through the pain of my physical problems that the Lord brought such important heart issues to light. Those were the “chains” He wanted to remove. I couldn’t be set free from my prison until I saw clearly that the prison was not my circumstances but my sin. Then I asked Jesus to set me free. And set me free He did!
Being delivered from the chains of our sin is a process. As the Holy Spirit exposed my sins one by one, I faced them openly. I confessed them and asked God to replace the patterns of wrong thinking that I’d developed with His truth. Then I rejoiced as God poured out His forgiveness and healing. It’s His grace that works through our pain to bring the true freedom we so desperately need.
What I once saw as a prison – my health problems – became the means God used to set me free from the real chains in my life. I still have the health problems. I still ask God to heal me. But, I also ask Him to keep using my circumstances to show me the areas of my heart that need His healing and freedom. And I thank Him for allowing the hard times I need, so He can continue to set me free from chains I can’t see.
What “prison” are you in right now? Maybe it’s God’s way of reaching deeper into your heart to show you the real chains of sin you’re not seeing. He longs to set you free from those, so that you might praise His name.
O LORD, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant; you have freed me from my chains. -Psalm 116:16
(excerpted from Grace In Time Of Need by Joanna K. Harris)