I read an article a long time ago about elephants. When elephants are young, they are placed in chains that allow very little mobility. They grow so accustomed to these chains that, when they are much larger and stronger, it never occurs to them that they are able to break free. The poor elephants have no concept of their own strength. The fact that they are very capable of breaking the chains that bind them never occurs to them.
I was reminded of that article when I read the following verse:
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery. -Galatians 5:1 NIV
So, I have been thinking about freedom and wondering how often I have forfeited my own freedom…allowed myself to be burdened by the yoke of slavery. Studying this passage opened my eyes to a very popular tool of Satan…I’m calling it “believed bondage.” This bondage is real only in the aspect that Satan has convinced us of its existence. He has distracted us from the truth…which is that Christ has set us free.
I allowed Satan to shackle me for many years. God has given me a passion for His Word and a desire to teach it to others. Yet, I have always felt inadequate. I have no formal schooling in theology. I am deathly afraid of public speaking. I work in a field where everyone and their mother feels called by God to write or to speak or to sing, etc. Seriously, I could not possibly come up with something that has not already been discovered and taught by someone far better equipped than me.
So, I have been standing with limited mobility…limited usefulness to God…forgetting that my chains have been broken by what Christ did on the cross.
As I finish up my reading of Isaiah, I have reached quite possibly my favorite passage of Scripture. I’m sure I have said that about numerous verses as I have read through the Bible. However, this passage is very special to me. I have never mentioned it to anyone, but I have always felt like this was my life verse, so to speak. I feel like it describes what I believe God has called me to do…actually, it is what every believer is called to do.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengence of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. – Isaiah 61:1-3
Though I have read this many times and love it…something new occurred to me this time. I have always felt called to write and teach but, as I said, have never felt able to do it. However:
- Because the Lord has anointed me…I am not called to do anything because of my abilities. The anointing comes from the Lord. How many ways does God have to show me…how many verses does God have to bring to my attention…how many situations does God have to place me in..before I get it through my thick head that it is not about me?
- That they may be called trees of righteousness…God sends us to preach good tidings, so that others can know the truth. There are so many people, Christians and non-Christians, who need to know that it is for freedom that Christ has set them free. So many people continue to live in bondage not realizing that the shackles around their feet have already been broken. We are called to preach the good news so that others can come to know Christ.
- that He may be glorified…Everything I do…Everything I say…Everything that happens to me in this life, be it good or bad…It is all to be used for His glory.
I woke up this morning with a heavy heart. I can’t explain it. I have been very much in the Word this past week and have been having some great moments with the Lord. Yet, I woke up this morning feeling very much attacked. I should have expected it. Every time I have one of those mountain top experiences I am a big target for the evil one. My prayer is that I wouldn’t stay down though. That, even when Satan gets a shot in, that I would get back up and continue on and that it would all be used for His glory.
It’s not about me…it’s about those who are bound and do not realize that the prison doors have been opened. It’s about those living in captivity who do not realize that they have been set free. It’s about those who mourn who need to be given the oil of joy and the garment of praise.
And it is all so that He may be glorified. I count it an honor to be a part of His plan and a tool in His hand.