They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’? John 8:33
The necessary and beneficial conviction of scripture is lost on me if I paint with too broad a brush. I am like the Pharisees who heard Jesus speaking about knowing the truth and being set free. They took a broad glance at their lives and didn’t see slavery anywhere. They were indignant at his inferences. They couldn’t see that they were enslaved to the deception that veiled His deity.
I can also paint with too broad a brush. I should stop and ask Jesus, “What do you mean by that as far as I’m concerned?” Instead, I take a quick peek across the horizon of my life and check ‘enslavements’ off my list. Alcohol, prescription drug addition, anger, sexual immorality. As they’re crossed off, I’m beginning to feel good about myself. I declare that I am absolved completely of Jesus’ words.
Not so fast. I have not entered the territory of my soul where thoughts run rampant, where fears control, where depression taunts and ensnares. I have my default ways of thinking that lead me to places like hopelessness, like resentment, like futility. Am I not in slavery to my own soul without repeated applications of scripture? Others around me may not see the chains on my wrist as my countenance often bears no trace of bondage. Yet, without application of Jesus’ words, the minefields of my mind will never be disarmed. The doorway to a new world of new thought processes will never be made available to me. David said that God delighted in him, rescued him, and brought him out into a spacious place. He was not referring, I believe, to something geographical. He was speaking of a spacious inner world where faith, hope, and trust shatters prison bars.
How can I identify places where I’m enslaved? Look for what keeps me up at night? Look at the issues over which I obsess. Put my finger on the problems I keep trying to problem solve but can’t. These are the places where, if I’m quiet, I can discern the bars of my cell. Jesus promises truth for every worry, truth for every trap, and when applied, the cage that Satan promoted will begin to rattle, loosen, and then fall away. Jesus turns the walls into a dance floor.
I don’t want to apply Your Word with a wide paint brush. I need a surgical strike. Amen