Posted by: bellissimanh | September 25, 2009

Cuff Him!

My adult Sunday School class is currently studying the process of sanctification. I’m LOVING this class (thanks, David!). It’s very much like a discipleship class, covering the basics of the faith… but it’s also very challenging, regardless of where you are in your walk with the Lord. David has thrown out some very interesting questions to have us look into. For example, “Jesus is sitting on the right hand of the Father. Who’s on the left?” But I digress.

What I wanted to share with you was an incredible object lesson we had a few weeks back. In exploring the old covenant vs. the new covenant, we looked at the hold that sin has on us until we give our lives to Christ.

“Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:31-36).

If we’re honest with ourselves (and one another), we can probably all recall times when something had a hold on us and we felt powerless to break free. It doesn’t matter what led us there to begin with… pride, fear, a need for control, an empty space that needed filling… the end result was the same. Bondage.

“The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast.” (Prov. 5:22)

The enemy has this knack for taking something that may have even begun as a healthy desire and twists it, magnifies it, shapes it into something that begins to have dominion over us, and as a result, strongholds are formed and the thing just GROWS until we can’t seem to help ourselves anymore. It doesn’t just take over our minds, it takes up residency in our hearts as well.  Ironically, most times we don’t even ENJOY the thing, and we’d give anything to have it’s pull on us destroyed, yet we seem powerless to move even a breath away from it. It’s a sick addiction, this propensity to sin that we have. Have you been there? I know I have.

To illustrate the concept of bondage, Dave borrowed the handcuffs of an off-duty officer in our class. He then asked Joel to come to the front of the class and he put the cuffs on him. He left him there for about five minutes (although it seemed like HOURS to Joel, I know) and asked him from time to time… “How ya doin’?” “Is that hurting you?” “How do you feel?”

Awkward.

Uncomfortable.

Trapped.

Humiliated.

Vulnerable.

Helpless.

I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly how the chains of sin make me feel. Interestingly, our officer friend pointed out that the more you struggle against those cuffs, the tighter they get. You strive and strive, thinking to release yourself or find a way out, yet the more you wrestle, the harder they clamp down you.  Like a vise that just won’t give up the grip, the stranglehold of sin seems almost enough to choke us to death.

So where is the key? Check out these words of life from Romans 8:1-15:

1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature,  God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

 5Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

 9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

 12Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (emphasis mine)

“Abba, Father.”  Two words that bring repentance and godly sorrow. Life and peace. Healing and forgiveness. Liberty and celebration. Love and honor. Hope and a future.

We don’t deserve it, and yet it’s what He offers us. Being a slave to Christ is so much different from being a slave to sin. It’s one of the beautiful paradoxes of this Christian life. In chaining ourself to Him, we experience ultimate freedom. In giving up our right to ourselves, we receive the rights to an inheritance that shall never pass away. Praise You, Jesus!

“And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” (Heb. 9:15)

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Responses

  1. Love the visual of the harder you struggle to free yourself, the more they clamp down on you. So true, so true. love, s

  2. Thank you so much for this site. The Lord had been giving me the word “brokeness”. I got on the web and looked up the word an came across this site. I am so glad I did. I lost my Husband , it will be 2 yrs next month. I didn’t really know how broken I was until I ran into another person who had lost their husband and I had to talk with them just as someone had to be there for me. Keep me in your prayers and again, THANK GOD FOR THIS SITE in more ways than one.

  3. “Being a slave to Christ is so much different from being a slave to sin. It’s one of the beautiful paradoxes of this Christian life. In chaining yourself to Him, we experience ultimate freedom.”

    That is so enlightening because I think a lot of people interpret “freedom” as being completely unaccountable to others, but the reality is that we are all slaves to something. How beautiful to bind yourself to Christ instead of sin!

  4. good word lady! i don’t even have anything intelligent to say…some things are just better left to the original author 😉

    ps love your quote in your blog header!

  5. Amen, Amen, and AMEN!!

  6. I have been in strongholds of sin so many times that I often got mail at that address…an eating disorder, hatred (yes, HATRED) of a family member, sexual strongholds, and so much more over the course of my life. Goodness knows, the Lord should have given up on me long ago.

    I am so thankful that He kept on at me until I ceased my struggling and gave in to His Holy Spirit.

    Beautiful post. Love the handcuff analogy. It is perfect to illustrate a stronghold of sin.

    Leah


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