Today I gave up the victory. Today I gave in and let thoughts take their course. Today I didn’t take every thought captive but let myself be captured instead; captured and thrown back into the thoughts and habits of the past. But today I got out again… Grace and forgiveness unlocked my chains and I chose to walk out of my already thrown open prison door.
Yes, guilt told me I had no right to leave that place so soon – that place of condemnation, of accusation and punishment. But the truth is that I belong outside of the prison walls, despite the carelessness I often show by wandering within the boundaries of the jail. And so I left, and they had no power to keep me. Can you believe it?
Salvation had forever opened the door of my prison cell, but somehow I stayed sitting within on the cold, unbearably hard ground. For so many years I stayed there, just gazing through the open door. I learned about the light I saw outside and yet continued to breathe the stifling air of my inner prison. I knew about the power that unlocked my cell and the love that threw wide the door, but still I stayed inside. I didn’t venture into the light because, although it was beautiful, I saw myself as darkness; having been imprisoned for so long I saw myself as the sin, as the darkness, as the wrong… I was the evil, not the prison of sin itself. Or at least that is what I thought.
But little by little the light outside that opened door beckoned me and the wind whispered of the new creature I really was. Fear and Familiarity held me back. Fear of that Beauty seeing what I thought I really was. And the familiarity of the darkness. Perhaps fear also that, if I did venture into the light, I really would discover a new creation; one of beauty and hope and purity. And such a revelation would be too wonderful for me, too much to take in.
But fear would not have its way, and after years of staring at freedom through my open door, I finally walked out. And guess what I found? My fears were groundless, my dark perspectives false. The Light I thought would harshly expose merely enveloped and transformed. The truths I feared too wonderful to comprehend did not drown me, they fell like a gentle rain, seeping into me and cleansing my soul. What I hoped, but dared not believe, was real… I was free to be the new creation I became so many years before.
But my testimony of freedom is often threatened. The guards, you see, still know my name, they know my prison cell. They shout at me, they try to convince me I belong back inside, that I have no right at all to be free. They are lying, I know, but they know me. Or at least they know who I used to be.
And sometimes I feel like I know who I used to be better than the new me, the real me. It is at those times when I wander too close to their grasp, just trying to look into my old cell and see if it’s still there. That’s when they grab me and hurl me back to the place I thought I walked away from forever. They hurl me in, yes, but they can’t shut the door; no one, nothing has the power to shut that door.
So I’m back where I started, left with two choices – to stay in my cell, breathing toxic air and simply looking at the light while I slowly waste away, or getting up and walking through the accusations in the same power that unlocked my prison.
Today I chose to get up and move forward by grace into the freedom for which Christ Jesus has SET ME FREE!!!