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Locked up no more

If you were doing a life sentence and the review board sent you a message they were considering letting you go free, how do you think you might react? How many of us would just choose to 'live free' within those cell walls? We begin today with a very succinct message - if you are declared to be free, walk free! One of the greatest privileges we enjoy is our spiritual liberty, yet we do a pretty fair job of living somewhere just below total liberty!

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. (Galatians 5:1)

Now, if we were just to look upon those "freedoms" as something nice to have and then live in the same bondage we have been spending our entire life trying to escape, wouldn't it be silly? In this entire book Paul has laid out the plan to have anyone who has been declared "free" in Christ to live as a "free person". Escape bondage and live free - not still in a cell of our own making or own another has made for us. Who sets us free - Christ. No other person or set of works has accomplished this freedom. The purpose of us being set free - to live a free life. In other words, we don't return again to those things which do nothing more than entrap us in enslaving thoughts, empty rituals, or unwise actions.

In the end, the goal of our freedom is to simply be able to stand - not just stand on a wobbly foundation, but stand strong! Does someone really embrace freedom and then actually prefer to go back to bondage? It is not likely. Yet, there are multiple examples of "tasting freedom" and "slipping back into bondage" in the spiritual world around us. For example, we use the term, "He fell of the wagon", to describe one who has known days of sobriety and then returned to the "demon alcohol" or "addictive substance". In scripture, there are examples of the awfulness of returning to bondage - in fact, it is likened to a "dog returning to its vomit". That paints a pretty accurate picture, huh?

So, how do we avoid the tendency to "return" to a place of bondage in our lives? Don't LET anyone PUT a harness of slavery on you. Two key words: Let and Put. Let: we allow or permit it - we actually "grant" the access. Put: to place under the power of something or someone - we allow or grant someone or something the access, giving them the "authority" to take the position of "power" in our lives. The first tiny word "let" carries a big punch - it can occur through intentional thought and unconscious awareness. We actually "grant access" to many things in our lives - some very specifically, others very passively. Those who enjoy freedom are those who learn to specifically "grant access" to certain thought patterns, specific edifying activities, and wholesome relationships. Those who drift back into "bondage" take a more passive approach to restricting access into their mind, will and emotions.

The second tiny word "put" carries as significant of a punch as the first - the process of harnessing an animal involves the activity of an external force placing the harness upon the unsuspecting animal. Did you ever stop to think what a horse must think the first time he is harnessed? Perhaps it is something such as, "Nice buckles and soft leather!", or maybe "Uh oh! I am not going to like where this is taking me!" The first response shows a lack of awareness of the "effect" of the harness - the second gives insight into the horse being led where he does not exactly want to go! We do both - we turn a blind eye and don't see what is right in front of us, and we wander along as though there were not other choices to be made! Learning how to control what we "let" influence us is part of rejecting the things people would want to "put" on us which are not specifically going to allow us to stand strong. It also means we don't any longer prefer the confines of our cell! Just sayin!

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