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True Freedom

by Cindy Hester

A couple of weekends ago while relaxing in Galveston with family, I happened to walk into the living room of the condominium where we were staying just in time to hear my nine year old grandson singing his heart out along with Toby Mac. He had no idea anyone was around, so he was giving it all he had singing from deep within his heart. The joy was palpable, especially when he got to the chorus. “When love broke thru, You found me in the darkness, Wanderin’ thru the desert, I was a hopeless fool, Now I’m hopelessly devoted, My chains are broken” - at which point he raised his arms to heaven joyfully breaking his wrists free from invisible chains. I could barely keep from shouting.

I had read an article earlier that week about how at one time the circus trained elephants to stand in place by latching a metal collar around an ankle, and chaining the collar to a stake in the ground. While still small, the stake held strong against the baby elephants’ attempts to break free. During the struggle, they would experience painful cuts which served as painful reminders of the consequences of such attempts. Once an adult, due to the elephants’ size and strength, they could have easily released the stakes in the ground. However, painful response learned as babies kept the adult elephants bound by a shackle that in reality held no power over the animal.

Often, we as humans are held bondage by such learned responses. We need the knowledge of our reality and strength in Christ to understand those restraints hold no power over us. I know from personal experience, however, that even after we realize we can pull the stake from the ground; it takes the power of Christ to sever the metal collar, chains, and stake we drag around after breaking free from the hold of the ground.

 Still others escape the physical prison holding them hostage yet continue attempting to function while still bound in chains - much like a prisoner who masterminds his escape yet his hands remain chained together. The prisoner may escape the prison, but until someone breaks him free of his chains, his ability is limited.

 I know what it is like to be bound by chains, even after escaping the prison of abuse. It has taken the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s matchless grace to break the chains of worry, anxiety, shame, guilt, inferiority, and hopelessness I carried into my new life. The old devil still comes around trying to slap that collar around my ankle and pound that stake back into the ground. However, by God’s grace I have learned to recognize his manipulation and lies. I have learned to run to my Father’s truth in order to refute the lies with which the enemy attempts to keep me grounded and in place.

You see, our Heavenly Father designed us for freely given, unconditional love and grateful obedience. Forced, ingrained restraint was never his plan. He wants to see us sing with palpable joy of how our chains are broken because we have personally experienced His grace setting us free. If you long for this freedom, it is yours for the asking. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him should be saved.” John 3:16-17

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