So often the focus in religion is to convict us of what terrible people we are and how we need to get right with God. We are told again and again how corrupt, how messed up we are on our own - I suppose to push us towards God and to cause us to repent from our ways and seek to change ourselves.
Yet this is NOT the gospel we see preached from Christ.
The reality of the situation is not that we are terrible creatures, but that we are captives. We are prisoners. And what we need is not more shame or guilt heaped on our heads, but rather the good news of a rescuer! Christ is that rescuer. He tells us in Isaiah 61 that he was sent specifically to announce freedom to all captives and pardon all prisoners! And ALL includes me and you.
Captives or prisoners aren’t free to be who they are. They must act in accordance with their captors. They eat when they are told, they sleep when they are told, they are never free to be themselves. They aren’t free to see their loved ones or go where they choose. They are puppets, at the mercy of their jailors.
Freedom changes everything. Christ sets us free so that we can then be who we were made to be! The true problem was that I was under someone else’s control. Our hang ups and bad habits can lead to strongholds, and Jesus says that there is a prince of this world who is the jailkeeper. We know that hurt people hurt people, and the perpetuation of this self-inflicting pain over generations has ensured that we all end up captive to the dark thoughts of self-hatred, confusion, ignorance, and shameful lies about ourselves.
From the time we were young, either through other people or through ignorance on our part, those lies took hold and we didn’t stand a chance. Somehow or other, we all come under captivity to the father of lies. We aren’t free, and we are controlled by thoughts that aren’t even our own. In fact a large majority of the thoughts in our minds are not original to us at all. They are lies that were heaped on us along the way when we didn’t have the power to fight back. Much like a prisoner forgets what it feels like to have autonomy - the lies we adopted during our life caused us to forget who we really were. We were living, but not as free beings.
But the good news is that we are children of a Creator God who loves us so much that he came down into our dark prison in order to preach good news over us, heal us up, pardon our ignorance and set us free! Repent means “Change or renew your MIND!” Our mind is the battleground.
Christ sets me free from the control of other influences that seek to dominate my mind - ALL other influences. And this creates in me the desire to follow HIS influence and become more like him. Because as I get in touch with my own nature, I find that my Father made me in His image. He put His beauty in me. His power. His love. His very nature. And that is what the darkness is trying to chain up and keep hidden.
Experiencing the freedom from all of the negative lies that hold us captive opens the door to becoming ourselves - in all of our God-given glory. As we follow him out of the darkness, through the open door and into the light, we will find with ever increasing joy that we are slowly shedding, layer by layer, the captive mentality that we were so used to. Our mind becomes free, our heart heals, and our very lives become boundless. “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
He did what we could not, but our role is important too. He calls us to be alert, to take every thought captive and ask it where it came from. Then ask our loving Father if it should remain or if we need to banish it. Be VERY selective about which thoughts you choose to believe. ONLY the ones from Him. ONLY the ones that contribute to your freedom. Because if we don’t take our thoughts captive they will end up enslaving us again.
Allow Him to continually set you free from the bondage of lies so that you can increasingly live in the power and love that He came to give. Stand in your freedom, daughters of God!