I once heard a story about the months following the abolishment of slavery in 1865. It was about a 45 year old slave who was released by his slave owner, but refused to leave---refused the freedom. The slave owner, in fear of being convicted of the crime of holding him, began to forcefully attempt to remove the slave from his property. But the slave would not leave. When asked why he wouldn't, he simply answered, "What else should I do?" The slave owner explained, "But you're free now. You can have a regular life now. Freedom has been granted. Why are you denying it?" The slave answers, "I've been a slave all my life. All I've done is the work on your plantation. All I know is the skills I've learned here. What else should I do? This is all I know."
"Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you." Romans 8:5-9
Hello readers. Welcome to my heart. Let's begin.
If you've been reading my blogs for awhile, you may have become aware of how in tune I try to be and stay with my own brokenness. Even the title of my entire blog is at its depth an expression of deep healing. So the question I've proposed to you, and most recently to myself, is the question why do we desire our chains?
Here's why I am asking. If you're a believer in Christ, and you've tasted the salvation that we have experienced and the freedom in Him that comes along with it------why do we still desire the chains of our sin? Answer it with this question in mind. What's your thoughts of the slave not wanting to leave?
I feel that we may have gotten ourselves into something. Because, if we're freed from sin, why do we still desire it? If we're alive, why do we still desire death? I think it goes all the way to the truth that we're all born into sin. We are all born with a sin nature and we have dealt with this nature since birth. It's evident in children, when you do not have to teach children to be selfish and greedy and angry, and violent. They innately do it---inherited sin. So, imagine this brokenness has become a part of our identities. Just like the slave, all he knows is being a slave. All the skills he knows is as a slave. All he's even done and worked has been as a slave. So maybe many of us have identified ourselves in our sin.
You cannot miss that. Maybe you have identified too much of yourself in your sin? Maybe you're so used to being depressed, or so used to being lustful, or so used to being angry, or so used to being insecure, that you've identified yourself with your brokenness. It's become who you are. I remember the first few weeks of dealing with my issues, I had a hard time imagining a world without them.
Then it hit me.
I'm used to my chains. Because here's a truth about humans, we ALWAYS find a way to be okay. We always respond to situations, we are never neutral. We never just endure pain. We will find a way to ease it. Whether its good or bad, we will find a way to ease it. So what I've found is that these things we turn to have been comforts at one time. Whatever it is we're addicted to or struggle with, it was once a comfort. The porn has at one time comforted our desire for intimacy. The flirtation has at one time comforted us with our desire for attention and self worth. The drugs comforted our depression or insecurity at one time. The drinking comforted our desire to make the pain go away or the loneliness of not fitting it. The cutting comforted us by giving us another pain to focus on.
Before we were free, we adapted to our chains. The first few weeks in our chains, it hurt bad, but our natural tendency is to ease our own pain, so in that we got comfortable. In other words, we figured out a way to deal with the pain.
But, we're free now. We've been freed from those chains, from those past sins. But our identities are still tied up in them. So just like the slave, it was easy to free him, but what shall he do?
Give him a new identity. Help him get the slave out of him. He's still thinking slave. He's still acting slave. Even though he's free, he's still a slave in his heart. We have a few modern sayings like, "You can take the thug out of the hood, but you can't take the hood out of the thug." It's the same message.
God can take the slave out of slavery, but He must and will work to get the slavery out of the slave. Our minds are still desiring slavery when we desire our chains. We STILL desire death. We STILL desire our chains because they were once comforts to us. And friend, it's going to be a battle to get the slavery out of you. You don't just fall into godliness, it will take focus and discipline. You don't just fall into being a man of God or a woman of God, it takes submitting to Jesus and allowing Him to transform your heart and desires.
You're free now. Stop desiring your chains. We must----friends---we must allow God to give us new identities. Those past sins does not define you anymore. Those addictions do not define you. Things in your past does not define you. You are free. You've been made new. Jesus is your new Master. He has your new identity in Him, pursue Him, love Him, grown in Him, love Him.
Those chains are no longer you. Get up. Walk away from them. You're free.
Friends. You're free.