We all have probably felt prisoner to something at one time or another in our lives. It is inevitable. We live in a fallen world.
My prison: An addiction that began at age 11, grew deep roots through teenage years of dumb choices and a dysfunctional home, and became disgustingly stealthy after I got married in 1995. In late 2001, God led me to full repentance before Him and a full disclosure with my wife, thus beginning the road to recovery from this lifelong battle. And as they say, the rest is history…
At least that’s what I want to say. However, the last 14 years have been among the most joyful, triumphant, discouraging, and at times utterly hopeless moments of my life and that of my family life. I would like to say that once God showed me the path, I never looked back. Unfortunately, like Lot’s wife leaving Sodom, I looked back again and again at the addiction, the object of my affection. Only, my “pillar of salt” was a wall of shame and self-serving destructive behaviors that continued to keep me in bondage to the very thing I most despised.
About 5 years ago, God set me on a different path, one which was less about performance (how sober can I be) and more about affection, desire, pursuit of the beautiful Jesus Christ as the object of my greatest affection. It is why I write what I write. And it is not a quick-fix road. One of the major themes that has come out of this has been the theme of “Freedom”, freedom from the bondage of sin and self. I wear a “Freedom” band on my left wrist day and night reminding me of the beautiful truths taught me 5 years ago by 180 Degrees Ministries. It is a sweet truth to me.
Some of the sweetest words spoken by Jesus to my heart are:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
19 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” Luke 4:18-19 (NLT)
Though the last 5 years have been filled with their share of struggles, God has shown me that He HAS and IS setting me free from and for something:
From: The bondage (oppression) of shame and guilt; the bondage of “doing what I don’t want to do, and not doing what I want to do.” The bondage of destructive behaviors that leave those who love me asking “Why”. Bondage.
To: Live and Love… the entire point of my blog and now, my life. Freedom to live life for God, loving Him, loving others, accepting my humanity and all of it’s imperfections. Freedom to pursue Christ as the object of my greatest affection. Freedom to enjoy life without having to be “religious.” Freedom… To Live and Love. Jesus said “if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed.” John 8:36 (ESV) Am I free? I have no doubt. Do I struggle sometimes in this life? Absolutely. The answer? Jesus. When I’m hungry, the answer is to eat. When I’m thirsty, drink. When my soul is thirsty for anything in this world that will fill me up and help me escape the pain I’m in, the answer is… Jesus. May we treasure Him today!
What is God setting you free from? What HAS He set you free from? Share! Tell others. This is a dark and painful world, and the hope of Christ needs to be shared.