It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
There is a picture that has been vivid in my spirit for a while. It was a picture of a prisoner sitting in his prison cell with his head buried in his hands, deep in shame and agony. As I looked closer, I noticed many things strange about this picture. First of all, there was no prison guard. Not only that, the door of the prison cell was wide opened. I was shocked to notice that while there were shackles on the prisoner’s hands, but they have been unlocked! My instance response was to ask why is he still sitting there? Why didn’t he get out? How long is he going to sit there and waste his freedom away?
Immediately, the Spirit brought this verse Galatians 5:1 to my mind. It is for freedom that Christ has set me free. The shackles are unlocked. The prison door is opened. Why do I still imprison myself by refusing to behold the freedom that is already mine by not making a choice to stand up and walk out of the prison? How long am I going to imprison myself and waste my freedom away that Christ has already set me free for?
There was a period in time I felt I rather sit in my prison to read all kinds of “self-help” books all I want, despite of doors and shackles unlocked. Somehow, stupid as it sounds, the familiarity of being in prison gives me the illusion of comfort and safety. May be deep down I wonder to myself if it is more scary to live outside of these four walls into the unknown than to stay within the constrains of these four walls that nothing is unknown to me.
Jesus has already done all that He could have done for me. Jesus has already set me free. But He is not going to drag me out of prison. Getting out of prison is my choice. Whenever I feel wanting to run back to my own prison, rather be trapped by limits than the boldness to embrace the freedom and follow Him into the unknown, I always use the “active verbs” in Galatians 5:1 to encourage myself:
STAND FIRM THEN….
DO NOT LET YOURSELF be burdened again (by a yoke of slavery).
Don’t just helplessly sit there and justify to yourself with the lie that you have no choice, that you are a victim of the situation. I have to own up to the choice of my response. I have to choose to stand up, not weakly but firmly. I have to make a choice not to let myself to be burdened again, refuse to be a victim. No self-help book can do this for me. It is not to try harder with my own strength.
It is a choice of mindset. Like the Israelites whom God has already delivered from the life of slavery by taken them out of Egypt. But they still carried with them a mindset of a slave despite of their status of being in freedom. I have to make that choice to rid myself of that slavery mindset.
I find the following three steps very helpful.
Step One: AGREEMENT: I choose to agree with the truth of His Word, that it is for freedom that Christ has set me free. It is not for me to do a third person intellectual analysis. It is for my heart to agree with His Word as the first person: I have to say my “AMEN”.
Step Two: DECLARATION: Regardless of how I feel, I have to declare to myself and to Jesus His Truth over my life. I have to speak this truth into the depth of my inner being, into my situation, to the heavenly realm and to my Father.
Step Three: FAITH TO TRUST THAT MY REALITY WILL CATCH UP WITH HIS WORD because His Word will never go empty. This is the most amazing step. It is only recently that I comprehend a little more the power of Our God with His Word: He spoke His Word into the being of this universe. He works the same today. When we agree and declare His Word for ourselves, the heavenly reality will become natural reality like how He created the universe with just His Word.
When I behold that I am no longer slave, when I realize He invites me to sit at His table, not as His guest, but as His heir, His beloved child, I feel safe enough to trust Him to take me by the hand to journey life together with Him as my good Father, into life abundance outside of the four wall of the prison cell!