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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Not just another "anti-virus" program!

We are made free - we didn't get there on our own.  It isn't like we somehow did a "Harry Houdini" act and came out of the chains and locks "magically" - regardless of whether they were emotional, spiritual, or physical bonds.  We needed a deliverer.  I know I didn't possess the emotional stability to bring myself out of the places of depression I've experienced on occasion in my life. I also know I didn't possess the physical stamina to withstand the bonds of the things which physically wanted to keep me back like chronic pain.  We don't act as our own "deliverer" in this life - we are "made" free from those things which hold us in bondage - we aren't "making a way toward freedom" on our own.  To attempt this is as dangerous and unreliable as thinking we could find our way out of the chains and locks while submerged head first under water like Houdini. The world wants us to believe the "illusion" of being able to set oneself free, but remember this - it is all an illusion!  Houdini had more than a few "slights of hand" and "tricks up his sleeves" to get him free from those chains and locks! Whenever we rely upon the "tricks" we can muster or perfect on our own, we are relying on things we "know about", but we might actually find the thing which binds us the strongest is something we are less than familiar with!

We have freedom now, because Christ made us free. So stand strong in that freedom. Don’t go back into slavery again.  Listen! I, Paul, tell you that if you start following the law by being circumcised, then Christ cannot help you. Again, I warn everyone: If you allow yourselves to be circumcised, then you must follow the whole law.  If you try to be made right with God through the law, your life with Christ is finished—you have left God’s grace.  I say this because our hope of being right with God comes through faith. And the Spirit helps us feel sure as we wait for that hope.  When someone belongs to Christ Jesus, it is not important if they are circumcised or not. The important thing is faith—the kind of faith that works through love.  (Galations 5:1-6 ERV)

The truth is we get ourselves into some pretty tight jams in this life and we don't have a clue how to get out of them.  Some are of our own doing and we should have known better, but somehow we just plowed straight ahead and now we are reaping the ill-effects of the wrong decisions.  At other times we find ourselves completely in bondage to things we just have no clue why we are under their hold.  Either way, we need to recognize we don't obtain our freedom from these things apart from God's grace intervening in our lives to bring us the deliverance we so desperately need.  We might think we can stand strong on our own, but even the strength to stand is given by God.  Many who think they are doing this by their own strength find themselves caving under the pressure of the weight of the bondage.

One of the dangers of "deliverance" is the memory associated with the bondage. You might not think this would be an issue, but if you talk with an alcoholic working through the 12-steps, you will find they are quite aware of the "pull" back into bondage again.  Why?  There is this memory associated with the bondage which exercises the control again and again, trying to get us to respond to it as we used to.  This is why it is so hard for us to break bad habits. We feel the pull and that pull is was can actually be the hardest thing to overcome.  It is God who changes our "memory" of the thing which pulls at the strings of our heart - he actually helps "dull" the memory.  It isn't that he makes us forget the bad habit entirely - he just helps us not bring the memory of it fully into focus at every turn in our lives!

It is his Spirit who actually helps in this process - for as we want to be brought back into bondage to the old ways of living - he is at work helping reminds us where our focus needs to be today.  He is not "re-programming" our brains, per se, but you kind of might associate what he is doing as similar to this process of re-programming.  I have had many a computer over the years and one thing I recognize is the tremendous mess things get into when little bits and pieces of this program get affected by some other program I allow to be placed on the computer.  They aren't always compatible with each other - one almost interfering with the smooth operation of the other.  In our brains, there are "programs" which are constantly trying to be over-written by other "programs" we come into contact with.  When this starts to happen, we get a mess of "error messages", but we don't have a clue as to how to deal with them.

This is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives - to help us deal with the error messages, avoid the conflicts in "programs" which attempt to get us all messed up!  Thank goodness we have such a careful watcher over our lives - for if you left it up to each of us to do what the Holy Spirit does, we'd make a worse mess of things for sure!  To be truly free of the bondage of the "interfering programs", we need to allow him to do the work he is there to do.  Just sayin!