We can’t think of a better example of how Jesus set you free than a story our friend Mark Hankins told us. As a boy, living in Texas, he had a job unloading live chickens. Before transporting the chickens, their feet were tied together so they wouldn’t hurt one another while traveling. When they were unloaded, the straps were cut off, but they didn’t realize they were free. They would just lay still on the ground, as though their feet were still tied. It wasn’t until Mark slapped them that they realized they were free and began running around!
Just like those chickens, Jesus set you free, but you need to get a revelation of your freedom as a born-again believer. John 8:36 says, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” Freedom has already been provided to you through Jesus. But your part is to accept that freedom and stand in it.
That is where the real battle is: in our own minds. The yoke of bondage doesn’t always come from the enemy, or even from outside forces. Many times we are the ones who internalize things that aren’t true and literally put ourselves into bondage.
The Slavery Mindset
In the book of Exodus, the children of Israel had been set free from slavery. However, their minds had been conditioned to their way of life in Egypt. Each time an obstacle came along, whether big or small, they would cry out, “We would have been better off back in Egypt!” Their mindset was so stuck in their old, familiar life of bondage, they couldn’t expect better, even after all of the miracles God had performed for them.
Can you imagine a slave, having escaped his bonds, ever willingly returning to that condition again? In reading the story of the Exodus of the Jews, it always comes as a surprise when the Israelites complain about their freedom. God had split the Red Sea, allowing them to escape from the Egyptians on dry land, miraculously made the bitter waters of Marah sweet (Exodus 14-16), and provided sweet manna from heaven every day to eat! (Numbers 11:7-9; Exodus 16). Yet, they began to complain to the Lord and accused Him of allowing them to starve.
“Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: ‘Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!’” – Numbers 11:4-6
New Covenant Slavery
This slavery mindset of the Israelites is just as much an issue today as it was then. Paul wrote his letter to the Galatian church because there were Jews teaching new Christian believers, whether Jew or Gentile, that they must still follow the laws that God had given Moses. By trying to fulfill the law by their own works, they were moving right back into the bondage that Jesus came to free them from.
The truth is that Jesus set you free from the requirements of the law! Your relationship with God is no longer based on following rules and regulations. Instead it is based on your faith in Jesus, who fulfilled the law perfectly for you.
“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
The Strength of Sin
Jesus set you free from anything that would try to keep you bound, from living the abundant life (John 10:10). This is even referring to good things, if we make laws out of them!
Here is a really common example among modern Christians: “I have to spend an hour (or any specific amount of time) praying and reading my Bible every day.” This is obviously a good goal to have. We aren’t saying that you shouldn’t pray and read your Bible daily! However, have you ever made a goal like this and then felt guilty that you didn’t follow through? That guilt and condemnation is a trap of the enemy. As you feel guilty, “I didn’t pray long enough today, and I didn’t read my Bible at all,” your focus has shifted from Jesus’ success for you at the cross to your own natural ability. Now you are looking at yourself rather than at Jesus!
This is what “the law” does: it gives strength to sin. 1 Corinthians 15:56 says, “…the strength of sin is the law.” Have you ever noticed that children who have been given the freedom to do anything they want, except that one thing, seem to always gravitate toward the one thing they’ve been forbidden from doing? Here’s another example: You may not even like to eat many sweets, but the minute you say, “I’m going on a diet—no more sugar,” you begin craving sugar like you never have before? There is something about “law” that sparks a carnal desire for the thing you’ve been denied.
Jesus Set You Free
Jesus came to set you free from this carnal desire to do or have what you have been denied. This freedom also releases you from feelings of guilt and condemnation when you “miss the mark” (Romans 8:1). By removing the “law” as a requirement for you, He has enabled you to not have to deal with the strength of sin in your life any longer. Freedom is what gives us the ability to live free from sin, and to live holy!
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”).” – Galatians 3:13
Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). Jesus fulfilled the Law by keeping it perfectly. He lived His life completely without sin, following every single rule and regulation to perfection, all so that you wouldn’t have to!
God knows it isn’t possible for you to live perfectly. His sacrifice ensured that you would not have to feel the impossible pressure of expectations of perfection! He did it for you, so that you could live free from anxiety, guilt and condemnation. Most importantly, Jesus did this so that you could have an intimate relationship with God. Rather than running away in shame when you have made a mistake, you can run to God instead!
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16
Learn how to remove every hinderance of the purpose and power of God operating in your life!
This teaching will empower you to completely purge the filter of slavery from your thoughts and words. Break free and start living in your God-given purpose, hope for the future, provision, health, and love!
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