Crossing Over: From Bondage into Freedom

Many people don’t admit it, but they are enslaved. Like a caged animal, many long for freedom, and seek the perfect opportunity to cross over. While some desire freedom, but don’t have to will to pursue it. The cross is the gateway to all kinds of freedom, because God wants us to be free from the enslavement of sin and worldly bondage. If there is any kind of enslavement that we should undergo in our lives, Paul encourages us to be slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:20). Sadly, most people don’t want that kind of enslavement. Instead, people are held hostage by all sorts of circumstances, some beyond their control and some by their choice.  Bondage comes in different forms, physical and emotional. Today, people are enslaved by other people, by systems and by things.

The Israelites were enslaved by other people.  For over 400 years they labored under harsh Egyptian drudgery. Slavery is still prevalent in our world today; children and women are held hostage against their will.  In many relationships, spouses, especially women, often feel enslaved by their significant other. Therefore, bondage is a real part of our world.  In most of these cases, the enslaved needs a deliverer to help them cross over. Most of the time, these people can hardly help themselves. At the right time, God sent Moses to help the Israelites. One bright day, they packed up everything and crossed over into Freedom. The same help is available to you today. If you feel enslaved by other people, call out to God to provide help so that you can cross over into freedom. Finding the courage to escape the holds of slave masters is scary, but God has promised to be your refuge, strength and help in times of trouble (Psalm 46).

The rich young ruler was enslaved by things. He had so much, but wanted something more. Mark chapter 10 said that, he, “ran up to [Jesus] and fell on his knees before him.” He asked. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”  Jesus told him to keep God’s laws, but the man said that he’s been keeping them since childhood. When Jesus told him, “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor…the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.” Amidst the luxury of life, people are still empty. They are held hostage by wealth, by jobs, by ideologies and by false doctrines.  Many have things filling them up but not fulfilling them or their purposes. Yet, they find it hard to let go, because worldly possessions have chained and restrained them. The rich young ruler found it hard to part with the temporal things of life to gain the eternal. If you feel chained to things, then as much as it seems impossible to let go, Jesus says, all things are possible when you seek His strength. May you find courage to release the hold the world has on you and walk with God.

Nicodemus was enslaved by a system. As a Pharisee, he was chained to Jewish systems, rituals and customs of his time. But, Nicodemus badly wanted freedom.  His heart was longing for the freedom to worship and to believe in Jesus. Fearful of the slave masters who promoted the Jewish system, He went to Jesus by night.  Many people in our world today are tied to systems of status, culture, religion or traditions. The Bible is clear which way they should walk and how they should walk, but it is difficult to leave systems because the condemning eyes of the slave masters are watching. Once Nicodemus understood the truth, God strengthened him to walk away from a fake, false and heartless system. The same power and strength is available to all who feel chained by the systems around us.

No one wants to be in physical chains, cornered in a prison cell or have a whip over their back every second. We openly accept and acknowledge those kinds of enslavement, and we will quickly denounce them. However, it’s the subtle and unseen ones that slowly kill us inside and like termites gnaw away the essence of who we are and who we are to become.  Sadly, too many people are physically free but chained by societal powers and influences. This kind of enslavement affects the work God has purposed for his people. He wants to set you free so that you can be exactly who He created you to be, and do the work He created you to do. Whether you are enslaved by people, things or systems, I pray that He will empower you to cross over into freedom. A new life and new prospects await you. There is  nothing earthly that you can hold onto that is not worth letting go to serve God.

It’s not enough to only long for freedom. Take courage, build up hope, get up out of the chains and through the strength of the Lord, cross over into freedom. So much more await you on the other side. If you are not in chains or bondage for the sake of God, then nothing should be holding you hostage.

Isaiah 52: 2, “Shake off your dust,  rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck.”

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