Do you suppose it’s possible for a person to be so deeply in bondage that he actually becomes conditioned to accept it? So much so that he almost prefers the security of his cage to freedom and the responsibilities it brings? Some prisoners continually go back to jail because they are “institutionalized.” When released, they purposely commit another crime so they can return to the security of bondage. They don’t want the responsibility of freedom.
When the children of Israel were unhappy wandering in the wilderness, they wanted to return to Egypt and be Pharaoh’s slaves again. Why? Because when they were slaves, they didn’t have to fight any battles or make any choices. If you’re a slave, you have no choices; you just do as you’re told. When you’re free, you must make choices and take responsibility for your decisions.
Perhaps we, too, with our religious systems and traditions have come to feel secure and comfortable in our bondage. In the early church, Christians were set free from the old law to begin to live under grace. Everything that is legalistic in our walk with the Lord has to go, because God has delivered us into spiritual liberty. It’s easier to die for Christ than to live for Him — easier to be religious than to be spiritual. Religion does not require us to have revelation or perception; it only requires us to follow forms, doctrines and traditions. Spirituality requires us to walk by revelation, to seek God for ourselves, to have Him speak to us personally.
There are all kinds of bondages. Some are ensnared by their emotions, others by their opinions, or decisions or circumstances. We can become so engrossed in our restrictive circumstances that we fail to grasp what the Lord is doing. He may be trying to shock us into taking a step of faith.
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God forbid that we sit in our cages any longer after the door is open. We’ll never inherit God’s full provision; never completely move into the Promised Land.
It’s time to let the Holy Spirit teach us to be free, to throw off our bondages, even the religious ones, and walk in the Spirit. Time to unlearn the things which have conditioned us. The Lord wants to set us free. Why do we continue to sit in our cages when He has opened the door? God pleads with us, “Come on out of the cage! You’re not as bound as you think you are.”
The Rev. Anne Barber, pastor of My Father’s House Church, can be reached at 776-9016.