Please see the poem “Unshackled Wings” which goes with this meditation.
Have you ever been in such a prison? Maybe you say, “of course not; I’ve never committed a crime that would put me in jail.” No, I never wound up in jail either, but in a prison nevertheless. For a very long time I didn’t recognize it because it had become such a part of me – insecurity, inferiority, trying to do things to prove my worth. Yes, I was a Christian and a “good girl” from my early childhood. But somehow over time, people said things that while wrong, I believed, and when I reached adulthood, I wasn’t very sure of myself.
It took time but when I asked Jesus to be my Lord and not just my Savior, I began to realize the great love of Father God. He had loved me so much that He sent Jesus to die and pay for my sin so that I might become His child! I’d known that since a young child but somehow it didn’t go from my mind to my heart. However, when I asked Jesus to be my Lord as well as my Savior and to take control of my life, then the Holy Spirit filled me like I’d never been before.
Ephesians 4:30 tells us that when we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. That means we can never not be a child of God if we have truly accepted the death and resurrection of Christ as taking our place of punishment for rebellion against God. However, Jesus said shortly before He went back to heaven after His resurrection that you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses (Acts 1:8).
If you are like me, you read about the disciples in the Bible and the mighty things they did and then think about yourself and see no power in your life and not even much consistency. You wonder, what is the difference? I believe a part of it is asking God for all He has for you. That’s not all but it’s a starting place. God gives all of us spiritual gifts but often we don’t even know we have them. And then there are those prisons mentioned in the poem.
Romans 8:1 states flatly that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We must learn to believe that! Where does inferiority or whatever other demeaning idea that we’re not worthy of God’s best come from? We can be sure that does not come from our heavenly Father. Our great enemy Satan, who is the adversary of all who love God, uses people to plant those wrong notions in our mind. Now yes, we made mistakes in the past, maybe even willfully have done what we knew was sin, BUT when we confess that to our Father, He forgives us according to 1 John 1:9. That definitely does not mean we say, I’m sorry I got caught, please get me out of this mess. Rather, we truly are sorry for what we did and promise God that we will try our best never to do it again. However, sometimes those thoughts linger on and maybe we don’t forgive ourselves. Or maybe others know about what we did and they continue to accuse us; perhaps we even had to suffer the consequences of our wrong acts. How do we ever get over all the thoughts?
We must learn to redirect our thoughts away from all the accusations toward what the Bible tells us: Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things (Philippians 4:8.) As we pray to our heavenly Father and read His Word, we will learn more about how to do that.
2 Peter 1:3-4 (MSG) encourages us in this by stating: Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you — your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust. Ephesians 1:11-12 (MSG.) adds: It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
I’ve found what helps me most when unwanted thoughts of my unworthiness come, I simply tell Satan to take a hike because Jesus loved me enough to die for me, so that makes me infinitely worthy! Yes, Believers can tell our worst enemy to back off because James 4:7-8 gives us that authority, saying: Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Now Satan isn’t the cute little red devil with horns and a long tail that we see pictured; he also isn’t a figment of someone’s imagination. He is as real as you are. Because he is a spiritual being, like the angels, we can’t see him but that doesn’t make him less real. You know air is real and necessary for life; yet you can’t see it, but you wouldn’t dare go into a closed room and let all the air be sucked out.
When we get rid of the negative, we center on the positive. God loves us and has given us all we need to live godly lives, as long as we focus on Him. Thanking our Father helps us focus more clearly. Simply start thanking Him for everything you have – your salvation, your family, your home, job, health. The list could go on for ages, couldn’t it? Don’t forget to thank Jesus for His death and resurrection so that we can get rid of those chains that bind us. Christ said about Himself “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Yes, Christ died and rose again not only so that we could have eternal salvation but abundant life here on planet earth, and one way we do that is by breaking whatever invisible chains bind us in depression, anger, or any of the many ways Christians can be imprisoned by sin and our greatest enemy. Determine today that you will no longer be content to just get by with doing all the works of a Believer but begin to be really alive and embrace that abundant life Jesus came to give us.
 All Scriptures are from the New International Version except those marked MSG., which are from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.