Bondage! Sometimes it encompasses us and holds us back without us even having the slightest hint. The word "bondage" seems so heavy and negative. That's because it is! It is defined as the state of being a slave. And the definition of slave means that one is excessively dependent on or controlled by something. No one really chooses to be a slave. Bondage can often creep in even when we think we are doing something good. But over time, we realize that instead of us having a hold on a thing, the thing has a hold on us! This is unhealthy. It puts strains on relationships, our jobs, families, friends, our health and most importantly, our relationship with Christ. Like race horses, our sight becomes narrowed when our eyes are hindered by blinders and someone or something is tugging on the reigns from the saddle. We race on through life and then wonder why we've never enjoyed the fields we were meant to roam. Bondage is often hinged with fear and keeps doors of opportunity shut. The abundant life that Jesus gives when we fully trust Him, is just that, ABUNDANT LIFE! I love the definition that Wikipedia gives for abundant life: Origin. The term "abundant life" comes from the Bible verse John 10:10b, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." "More abundantly" means to have a superabundance of a thing. "Abundant life" refers to life in its abounding fullness of joy and strength for mind, body, and soul. If we are to be slaves, let us be slaves and bondservants of Christ, living the life of His choosing, for His glory and His namesake. For therein, our slavery is full of joy!
For His Glory,
Today, we welcome a blog from Judy Ingle. Judy shares a story and her thoughts from Galatians 5:1 as she found herself in a tangled mess! Be blessed as you read and think about the releasing the bondage in your own life!
It was a good day for getting outside to enjoy the ever-welcoming sunshine and the crisp breeze that lingered from a recent rain. As a matter of fact, this day would be a "work day, a get out of the house I'm going stir crazy day." I'm guessing most of us have experienced that by now. Being bound by a pandemic is challenging to say the least, however, as Christians we know we are free in Christ, nothwithstanding our circumstances. Getting outside and breathing the fresh cool air was invigorating.
I could already hear the sound of a chain saw. My husband Jimmy was already hard at work clearing trees and vines. He had pulled his trailer close so I began to help. I started to carry limbs and dragged small trees with the vines still attached. Little did I know I was dropping vines along the path to the trailer. Unknowingly, I had become entangled in these vines. They were wrapped around my feet causing me to be "all tangled up." It took me a few minutes to unravel the annoying vines before I started working again. I was free now, and so much easier to walk. Shortly after that, I tried throwing a large limb with leaves onto the mostly filled trailer. But as I heaved it over, the limb hung on a vine that in turn grabbed my sweatshirt causing me to stumble. I almost went down but fortunately I only fell into our parked riding lawn mower. Ouch! Thankfully, I only had a scratch and later a bruise.
Within seconds, the words of Galatians 5:1 rang through my mind:
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with yoke of bondage."
This verse stayed in my thoughts the rest of the day. Although the chain saw noise was loud, I believe God was whispering His Word to me and possibly a lesson to be learned. I've never been entwined by twisty-tangly vines before, but I quickly found our their entrapment not only hindered but they also impeded my ability to function. They were slow and subtle twisting around my ankles. My feet felt heavy at first, but I was unaware that I was encumbered until they almost brought me down. Sounds a lot like sin doesn't it? The subtly of sin, when undetected can also bring us down. If we fail to acknowledge God daily we make ourselves vulnerable to all kinds of interference from the world. Consequently, before we know it, we can become yoked and bound by confusion causing us hardship while also separating us from God. "Be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage," is a definite statement, therefore we are not supposed to be controlled by anything apart from the Holy Spirit.
Could it be possible that some of us are in bondage and not even know it? Could we be under sins control. What about the bondage of time, fear, indifference, complacency, and even lethargy? I do feel I'm complacent sometimes and often suffer from lethargy. We must not let ourselves be held or controlled by these or similar things so we can live our full potential for Christ. This is my meager attempt to explain how Galatians 5:1 related to me on this particular day.
A yoke of bondage is a heaviness we do not have to bear. A yoke was placed on the necks of a pair of oxen of equal size to share in the load they carried. The yoke was placed on by using bands or bonds. However, unlike the oxen, we do not have to bear our burdens. We do not have to succumb to any bondage with which Satan tries to entrap us. Jesus can release the yoke of whatever it is that has us in an entangled mess!
Our burdens, our entrapment, can be shared with Jesus Christ. Someone once said, "A joy shared is doubled, but a burden shared is halved." Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you...For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11: 29a, 30b.) His yoke is easy, it is not heavy and painful, it is good and not hard or harsh. He carries the weight and discomfort for us. When we take His yoke upon us, His yoke is gracious and is "Lined with Love" (Matthew Henry.) I love this phrase. Even when life or troubling times are out of control, we can release all control to Him and trust that He is able. He is ever-present, ready to assist us and comfort us. Why would we ever carry the heavy load of life and resist his promised presence? Only Christ can rid us of the yoke that so heavily binds. We can take His yoke upon us as we yield ourselves to Him while He is working everything to our good and His purpose. May He give us an awareness to look for the "little vines" that so easily entrap and disengage us from our Saviour. I want to be bound by the love of God and free to serve him faithfully. It is wonderful and liberating to be free from the world's bondage. "If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:36.) In closing 1 Peter 2:16, we are to live "As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God." Thanks be unto our Heavenly Father for His indescribable love and care for us.
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord!
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