We have a friend who is in and out of prison. Small crimes scattered over 20 years or so, see him ‘put away’ for 8 months here, 12 months or two years there. He came to see us the other day to tell us he’s planning on going back to jail. He is intending to breech his parol so the law is forced to ‘lock him up’.It seems bizarre to our minds that someone would RATHER be in prison than walking free. The courts have deemed him free, the police have deemed him free, our law has deemed him free, yet he wants to be imprisoned!
His thinking has become so distorted that to be in prison seems easier for him.
When in jail, his free-will is taken away; he is told when to rise and when to go to bed, when to eat and when to go outside; and he has no choice in anything. Yet this appeals to him more than living as a free man who can choose his own lifestyle and make his own decisions.
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
Yet I’ve been living like that! Hooley-dooley, how the heck did that happen?
I don’t think I’m the only one either. I have a feeling that many of us live like that in certain areas of our lives. You see, I have freedom in much of my life but keep some of myself ‘behind bars’.
Even though I know that when God sets us free, he wants us totally free, I also know that I am holding onto some things. Why? Possibly, probably because I’m like that friend of mine: fear holds me back! I’m too afraid to bring them out into freedom. I don’t know what will happen if I haven’t that one thing to cling to. For some ridiculously distorted reason, fear paralyses me to be free. I’d rather hold myself imprisoned in certain areas than face my fear.
This prison comes in many forms but it’s always FEAR that leaves us behind bars….
It might be a grudge we simply ‘can’t’ let go of, yet we know it is causing anger and anxiety within ourself more than the other person.
It might be that we eat for ‘comfort’ or have any variation of an eating disorder, yet we know the habits we’re stuck in, are causing terrible health to us physically and emotionally.
It might be that we turn to alcohol to ‘relax’, yet we know we’re doing it more often, or drinking more and more of it, or are actually addicted to it; but can’t imagine our life without it ‘dulling the pain’.
TV might be where we unwind every night – yet falling asleep on the coach in front of it is breaking our back and leaving our minds dulled or muddled.
We might take pharmaceutical drugs that we needed at one stage in our life, but now we’re just too scared to go off them for fear of what might happen.
We might be in a shocking relationship or workplace but our fear of being alone or having to change jobs is too much to think about.
We might use our body or looks to enjoy the flirtations of the opposite sex, but it brings no lasting personal gratification. We simply feel empty but can’t imagine not getting that ‘kick’ from flattery.
It may be that we know we are not fit, or even have some sort of health problem but can’t seem to gain enough courage to begin an exercise program.
There are many ‘prisons’. Any number of unhealthy addictions or unwholesome mind-patterns. Jealousy, pornography, gluttony, cruelty, hatred, rage, unfaithfulness or a lack of self-control – unfortunately, the list seems endless.
Yet we were designed by God to live free lives… Somewhere along the rocky road our thinking has become so distorted that we cling to some of these painful, hurtful, damaging patterns. It seems bizarre!
Well, I’m declaring 2015 as the year of freedom. So watch this space! See this brave Princess rise!
It’s time to let go and let God! As scary as it is, we need to be bold enough and brave enough to open the prison door and release OURSELVES!
In the Bible, Jesus says, ‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.’
(That’s Revelation 3:20)
Do this with me now, ok – let’s stand up, close our eyes and imagine we’re behind bars. Shut I n a cage. There’s a door in front of each of us and Jesus is knocking on it asking us to allow Him in. It’s our choice, and we might be a little afraid, but we’ve had enough of prison life and we know we can push that door open and be set free at last!
Completely free. In our secret areas and in our whole life.
When Jesus says That he’ll come in – he means it. He’s with us for the long haul. He won’t bail out when the going gets tough. He will be with us through thick and thin, bringing his healing and love and grace and forgiveness with Him. Empowering us.
Oh, we so want to be free! By opening that door, we are! We are now more powerful and powerfilled… more effective! I’m more ME and you’re more YOU!!
Now, THAT is clear thinking!
The old distorted thinking where we’d rather be imprisoned, helpless and powerless seems ridiculous in light of this new deal, doesn’t it?
The best part in inviting Jesus in, is that we no longer have to rely on our own strength (which we’ve proved time and again, only lets us down) now we have supernatural strength! A helper when we’re feeling helpless against something… A helper giving us the bravery to face anything, fearLESSly! It is such a good deal.
Freedom really is worth fighting for. That’s why Jesus allowed himself to be nailed to a cross and then rose from the dead – winning the final battle against life and death. Jesus already fought for our freedom. Now, we are free indeed!
Goodbye prison. I’m not coming back! I’m FREE INDEED!