Note: if you’d like to start with the Introduction to the whole series, please start here.
Day 6 – December 4, 2020
Light a Candle:
If you have a candle, light it. This is a reminder that we are a people who live in darkness, without the light of God. And in the coming of Jesus, we anticipate that the light that was to come. He is our light.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners… Luke 4:18
“To the Jews who had believed him, 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, “Very truly I tell you, 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 NIV
“Prison is designed to break one’s spirit and destroy one’s resolve. To do this, the authorities attempt to exploit every weakness, demolish every initiative, negate all signs of individuality–all with the idea of stamping out that spark that makes each of us human and each of us who we are.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom
Prison is the place where we are robbed of our humanity. All our choices are removed from us. What makes us people is stripped away. We have no control. We can set no direction. Any hint of freedom is an illusion that can be stripped away at the whim of our oppressors.
An interesting thing about prisoners. Most know they are prisoners. They are aware of their condition, even if they try to exert their power, or control their corner of the prison yard.
Prisoners come in all shapes and sizes. Some are in literal prisons. They are locked up behind the cell bars. They see the light of day for only one hour out of twenty-four. Some prisoners are bound to the pain of what others have done to them. They live in abusive relationships, and there is no way of escape. Some are prisoners of personal failures that keep them from reaching out for something better. Some are trapped by their addictions which started as ways of coping and controlling uncontrollable needs. Some are caught in family patterns that were created to keep others at a distance.
Some of us have set up structures to make us think we’re free. The religious leaders in John 8 above did that. We work hard to create order out of chaos, only to find a deeper chaos working under the surface. They had so ordered their lives and the lives of others that it gave the illusion of freedom. But Jesus reminded them, they were prisoners too. And their denials only confirmed their status of being out of sorts with God.
Like the Israelites in Egypt, all of us are stuck in a life from which we can’t escape. We need a Deliverer. We need someone to rescue us from the oppressors that keep us enslaved to sin and death (see days 2-5). We need one who will break the power of the curse on humanity and open the way of life. We need one who will crush the head of the enemy who uses us as pawns in a heavenly battle. We need someone who will help us die to the flesh, so we can live in the Spirit of God. We need one who will tear down our idols that keep us from knowing the one true God. This freedom is what the world was waiting for! This is what most are still waiting for. Christ is that One! He is the Deliverer. He has come. And He is coming again.
What is the thing that’s oppressing you today? How have you tried to secure your own freedom? Have you found that wanting? We have good news. Jesus came to proclaim freedom to the prisoners. Name your prison to him today. And ask for him to break those chains by His love and power.
Lord God, our Father. You want us to be family around the table with You, the Son and the Spirit. You have provided a Deliverer, who is Jesus Christ. Today, I ask you to break the prison doors open that keep me trapped.
Lord, help me live in the promise of your restorative power, understanding that the curse has been broken. Lord, give me the freedom to choose you, over the enemy. Like Jesus in the wilderness, give me the power to say no to him and yes to you. Lord, help me die to the flesh and be made alive to Your Spirit. Lord, give me the courage to crush every idol I’ve created, so I might worship you without competition, or reservation.
I praise You, my God, for the freedom you have secured for me in Your Son, Jesus. To Him be the Glory forever, Amen.
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