Summary: Easter is the celebration of how Christ has set us free! Here we discuss how Christ has set us free, and how we can continually realize that freedom in our daily lives.
My Chains are Gone!
A funny thing happened in Darlington, Maryland several years ago. Edith, a mother of eight, was coming home from a neighbors house one Saturday afternoon. As she walked into the living room, she saw five of her youngest children huddled together, concentrating with intense interest in something. As she slipped near them, trying to discover the center of attraction, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Right dab in the middle were five baby skunks. She screamed at the top of her voice, ‘CHILDREN, RUN!!!” Each child grabbed a skunk and ran.
-contributed by Ralph Juthman
I thought this was a cute illustration of what Easter truly means, and how we tend to take it for granted or forget altogether.
Today we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ! And as we do this, we acknowledge that Jesus did not do all of this in vain, but for the purpose of coming to set us free from the bondage of sin, and the things that plague us! Because of Jesus, our chains our gone!
But believers, just as unbelievers, have a hard time realizing this liberation. Like the children in the story, we cling to our sins, our fears, our hurts; and we deny the very miracle that God has done in our life.
Today, I want to examine what it means to be free, and how we too can realize what it means to be free—Our Chains are Gone!
Romans 3:23-24 (NLT)
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
A few weeks ago I was preparing for service, and I was listening to a Christian Group named Delirious. And through the lyrics I felt as if God was revealing to me a systematic approach to realizing the Chains of Life being removed through 3 key words:
carry out a systematic or formal inquiry to discover and examine the facts of, so as to establish the truth
Hebrews 10:22-23 (NIV)
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
There’s an interesting correlation between drawing near to God and investigating our own hearts, that I think is more than just coincidence. Because when we draw near to God, we begin to naturally see what doesn’t fit in His image for us.
Anybody brave enough to watch the show CSI? If you’re unfamiliar with it, the show is about Crime Scene Investigation, and the team that gets down and dirty in the scene of the crime to find out the facts. They have all kinds of tools, procedures and equipment that help investigate down to the microscopic level to realize the truth.
This is the type of investigation God wants us to allow to take place in our own hearts. This sentiment is echoed in the prayer of the psalmist:
Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
To investigate is to give more than just a passing glance. It’s more than walking up to the crime scene and going: Well, something bad happened here! It’s allowing God to really get in there and pointing out all the flaws, all the fears, all the shames and hurt!
If that sounds like a painful process, I won’t sugar coat it: It is. But if we want to discover the truth in our life, that we are set free, it is a necessary step. But this is also just the first step…
• dig out material from (the ground)
• extract (material) from the ground by digging
Here is the proverbial removal process. We’ve identified the areas that don’t measure up to God’s standards, now we need to allow God to take these things from us.
Sounds simple right? Then why is it that we continue to struggle with the same issues? The answer is that we have not fully allowed God to take it from us. We still cling to chains because that is what the sin nature inside us expects us to do!
Romans 7:21-23 (NLT)
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.