If I’m honest, the past few months have been a wilderness of sorts. Like the Israelites during their 40 years of wandering, I’ve found myself wrestling with the truths of who God is and whether He is really enough for me.
I mean, I know the gospel. I get it. But even though I really KNOW and BELIEVE the truths of who God is, what Christ has done on my behalf and the power of living in light of the gospel, I’ve found myself plagued with spiritual amnesia.
I’ve forgotten His goodness.
I’ve forgotten His ability to forgive the multitude of sins that I continue to struggle with, as if I’m too unclean to be forgiven.
I’ve doubted His ability to use me in spite of the fact that I’m a weak, needy sinner in desperate need of God’s grace and power.
Like the Israelites, feeling like God’s grace wasn’t enough for me, I’ve carefully crafted a golden calf called Self. Because I’ve believed the lie that I can somehow clean myself up enough for God to really use me someday.
And like the Israelites, I’ve continually wrestled with God, pushing back His grace and provision and goodness and fleeing to the dysfunctional comforts of my former slavery.
Like a Caged Bird
This oppressing mistress, this cunning slave master, self-condemnation, was a debilitating part of my life before I met Jesus, and every so often she beckons me, promising me that the only way to somehow justify myself is to wallow in her lies. And before you know it, she’s got me in shackles, paralyzed and despaired.
“You’re a fraud. Clearly, you are NOT called to vocational ministry.”
Like the Israelites who rebel against God and scheme to return to the “luxuries” of slavery in Egypt, even though we have been set free by Christ to the slavery of sin, how often do we flee the grace of Jesus and scramble back into the arms of captivity?
Like a bird that has been caged for her entire life, which, at the first opportunity of freedom, remains in the cage, door wide open. The cage has become a comfort. A safe place. And the sweet little bird will never do what it was created to do.
To swoop and to soar.
To sing praises to its Creator from the treetops.
To relish its freedom.
Because something about freedom is just a little bit scary.
Because something about grace is just a little bit uncomfortable.
But, sweet friend, aren’t we often just like that little bird?
Jesus Paid it All
Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. In full.
Jesus flung open the cage door and set us free from the slavery to sin (John 8:34, Romans 6:18).
But somehow we forget. Or maybe we don’t believe it…like, really believe it way deep down into the little nooks of our souls. Or maybe, just maybe, our sin and shame have become like my dear friend says, “a warm blanket” to us. A dysfunctional comfort.
And like a bird, we long to swoop and to soar. To relish in the freedom we’ve been given. To glorify God by enjoying Him forever.
But, instead, we remain in the cage, trembling and despaired, unable to grasp hold of our new-found freedom.
Sweet friend, may we, hand in hand, ask ourselves a few questions to help us excavate our hearts and uncover the real reasons we continue to remain in the cage? Because I long for us to be free. To glorify God through our freedom. To enjoy Him. To do what He has called us to do with boldness and confidence in Christ.
What mistress beckons you? What sin or struggle keeps you enslaved?
What truths of the gospel are you NOT believing?
What about captivity entices you? Why does slavery have so much power over you? What keeps you in the cage?
Dear friend, I’d encourage you to spend a week or more processing through these questions. Ask God for eyes to see the roots. Ask Him for wisdom, discernment and an oh-so-brave, tender heart to see whatever it is that He wants to show you. Just promise me you’ll be kind to yourself just as Christ is kind to you, as He knows we are but dust and He understands fully our struggles, having been tempted in every way (Psalm 103:14, Hebrews 4:15).
And once you mine your heart and uncover the roots, be diligent to replace the lies with truth from the Word of God. Meditate on the truths of who God is, who you are in Christ, and the gospel. And strive to believe it.
Deep down in the nooks of your heart, believe it.
We can do this, my friend. Freedom is calling.
I’d love to hear from you. 🙂
Do you find yourself encaged like this bird, given freedom but struggle to swoop and soar? How does this affect your daily life? Your relationships with God and others?
Has God freed you? If so, how has that changed your life? How has that allowed you worship and serve Christ and find joy in Him?