The Captives Go Free

God has been teaching me a lot about liberty as I’ve digested Beth Moore’s revamped Breaking Free study. She says, “I once believed only the spiritually lost were captives. God pried open my comfortably closed mind from the inside out . . . If anyone told me Christians could be in bondage, I’d have argued with all the volume a person can muster with a yoke of slavery strangling her. I was the worst kind of captive, a prisoner unaware.”

My journey through this topic has revealed a few startling truths and come incredibly close to home (sometimes literally).

First of all, Jesus arrived with a mission in this world, and it was to put an end to bondage. Luke 4 tells the story of the moment He quotes Isaiah 61: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” Christ’s perfect life and death broke the chains on our souls—or at least the obligation we had to those chains.

As bizarre as it may seem, countless believers choose to believe those chains still have power over them (I sure did). But the power is gone; it’s all pretend, all smoke and mirrors now with scary shadows but no teeth.

Paul pleads with the church in Galatia, “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” (Galatians 5:1). Instead, we are to turn to the grace purchased for us, running to Jesus whose “yoke is easy and burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). Did you catch it? We will be yoked to one or the other—either to a harsh master or a kind one.

I’ve learned the generational importance of choosing freedom. Scripture includes a number of people who refused to take care of business with God (rooting out idols or personal sin) and whose great-great-grandchildren still struggled with the idols, sin, and consequences deeply. But we are also given examples of how godly character changes family history for the better. We must decide what kind of link we want to be in our own family tree: will we stop the poison or channel it?

Believers are granted special benefits, but there is hard work to be done in removing the obstacles to enjoy them. These obstacles (sadly all of which I have battled for a long time) are unbelief, pride, idolatry, prayerlessness, and legalism. No wonder I wasn’t experiencing the glorious liberation intended for my heart! I was too busy making friends with the enemy!

I have also been through the taxing process of acknowledging generational bondage and how it affects me now. The pride, stubbornness, lack of self-discipline, and hyper-sensitivity I thought were my lot aren’t as unique to me as I once believed.

One of the best things I’ve learned are the sweet ways Jesus binds up the brokenhearted. He doesn’t gripe at us to get over our pasts and for goodness’ sake, hurry up! My Jesus tenderly walks us through healing the wounds which are so real and so raw we never thought we’d be okay again. (A favorite quote about this is “You’re so much neater of a person healed than you would have been well.” No pain is wasted.) He crowns us with beauty, removing our ashes of mourning, and fulfills the dreams He’s planted in us since childhood.

This isn’t just about taking off our chains and turning us loose. Just like the father of the prodigal son, God removes our shame, clothes us with purity, endows us with dignity, gives us a way to walk in purpose and stability, and then celebrates us with wild delight. No other master compares.

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