What do you think of as a 'prison'? Is it the physical facility that holds convicted criminals? Or is it the strongholds in our lives that keep us from being who we may want to be or that God wants us to be? The strongholds in our lives can be physical limitations, emotional hurts, addictions to different vices, spiritual setbacks, or a many variety of chains that bind us down.
God is the 'chainbreaker' that is available to all of us. "Life’s circumstances change and sometimes we are humbled. Yet we can be hopeful and content knowing that there is One who has promised to never leave or forsake us. We can trust Him fully." [odb.org]
We must turn our eyes and hearts upon Jesus, rather than relying on our own strength. "I am prone to take action, in other words, not because I am a confident man of God, but because too often I have no confidence in God. I’m worse than someone who thinks “God helps those who help themselves” is an actual Bible verse. Part of my worry, of course, is not that God will abandon me, but that His purposes are different from my own. It seems that quite often what God expects from us is not bold speech or decisive action, but the very opposite: waiting, quiet endurance, and a persevering love that “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7)." [intouch.org]
We all need the Lord’s courage. A courage that relies on Him to guide us where He would have us go, to give us words to speak and silence when our words aren’t needed. A courage that loses this life in order that He would save it. While we may experience physical or other kinds of limitations, what really matters is that we continue doing what we can for the Lord until He calls us Home.
"In our society, we tend to make choices based on what will bring us the most happiness. But in the Bible, God’s concept of happiness is much better defined by the word contentment. Remember Paul saying, in essence, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11)?" [intouch.org]
Two weapons for being content when circumstances make us feel miserable:
- Remember God is in control; keep your eyes on heaven and the things of this world will go strangely dim
- Turn our obsession to satisfy ourselves into a love for others; God doesn’t tell us to live for our own convenience.
I wrote this blog over the past two weeks through my thoughts and devotionals I've read. It may sound selfish, but I have needed this blog as an encouragement to myself to get through this month of trials. I'll share one of my fears that acted as a stronghold against me and made me doubt God's plan for me. When I was in the hospital for 4 days, my IV was in my good arm-the left one. During those 4 long days, I could not move my arm on my own at all. The what-if's of fear set in. I prayed between my moments of fear to trust in God's will no matter what the outcome. God had mercy and I was able to move my arm as soon as the IV was removed. God freed me from that simple, yet powerful chain.
If you put your trust in God, He can free you too from whatever is holding you back from being the child of God that He created you to be. May God have the strongest hold on you!