One of my relatives has been visiting his brother who is in a halfway house after serving 9 years in prison. It was not his first time to spend years behind bars. He is getting a real taste of freedom. He has a paying job. He can walk to the store to spend his money. He can take a bath immersed in water for the first time in 9 years. He is going through a little culture shock because the world has changed so much in those nine years. He is more than intimidated by cell phones and technology. He seems to not only enjoy his freedom, but so far he realizes he needs to guard it. I’m certain he will face temptation to go back to his old life—even though he knows it leads to that hellish life of imprisonment. I pray with all my heart that he finds true freedom in Christ which cannot be taken away as we keep our eyes on Him.
Father, I was talking to someone else last night who never went to prison but was just as much a prisoner of darkness. She was held down, humiliated, abused, fearful for her life and the lives of others, was made to feel absolutely hopeless. She was drug down into a pit of darkness where there seemed no way out of. And yet she is finally free! She absolutely knows she was freed by Jesus. She is living in the light of Jesus Christ instead of the dark deadly pit of sin. She also needs to guard that freedom. There are constant temptations trying to pull her down. As long as she keeps her eyes and soul focused on You, that darkness has no power over her. When the temptation comes to go back towards her old dark hopeless life, all she has to do is call the name of Jesus—the name at which all powers must fall.
Lord, as we celebrate America’s freedom once again, I think of the cost of that freedom. It was bought with the blood of men and women willing to die for our freedom. But even America’s freedom is fragile. We must guard it—not only with people who are still willing to give their lives to defend it—but with our personal responsibility to use that freedom wisely; to live our lives in the light of Jesus; to shine out with Your love and holiness that comes only from the high cost of Jesus’ holy blood given for us so we could be free. Father, when I am tempted by the world to go back to my old life, let me guard my precious eternal freedom by looking to You! Because of Jesus, I am free indeed!
Jesus read this scripture from the Old Testament as recorded in Luke 4:18-21: “ ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of our Lord’s favor.’ Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on Him, and He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’”
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13
Father, am I living in prison or in freedom?