Post by Faith Reboot’s Kelly Switala
I was locked in a prison cell with a death sentence. The only way justice could be served was for me to die. (Romans 6:23).
Chances are you were there too.
When I accepted Christ as my Savior, He proclaimed freedom for me – a captive- and released me – a prisoner -from darkness (Isaiah 61: 1). He opened the door to my prison cell and told me that I was cleared of all my wrong doings; my debts had been paid by Him on the cross. He didn’t tell me I was on parole or probation; He pronounced me as free. Not only did Jesus set me free from my sin, but my transgressions were also forgotten. I became a new creation. My old self was gone and I was free to begin a new life in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17-19).
I could be different ; I could change. I could walk out of that prison cell and live my life as though I had never sinned.
Something strange still happens. Sometimes I live my life as though I’m still a prisoner. Even though the door to my cell is wide open, I deny myself the freedom Christ has given me to walk out. I allow myself to feel like I don’t deserve to live outside of that imaginary cell. I believe lies that keep me in bondage instead of walking in the grace that Jesus offers me.
One of the biggest lies I catch myself believing is that Jesus is disappointed in me when I fail. Paul understood. He, too, described himself as a prisoner as he wrestled with the tension between the Spirit and the flesh.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner to the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (Romans 7:15, 22-24)
Jesus… Jesus rescues us from our bodies of death.
The truth is Jesus knows I’m going to fail. He does not expect me to be perfect and He fully accepts me as a work in progress. Hebrews 4: 15-16 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”.
Jesus was tempted by sin and he understands my struggle. Because He understands the battle between my sinful nature and my desire to please Him, He wants to help me by extending mercy and grace to me. I am still working out my salvation and, in Christ, I am free to get back up and try again. Jesus is not disappointed when I fail and get back up again; Jesus wants me to keep fighting against the sin in my life.
And so, like Paul urges me to do in Philippians 3: 12b-14…”I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”.
I press on. I walk freely through the door Christ has opened for me and I press on.
Are YOU living life in an unlocked prison cell? What are you “in” for? What would it take for you to leave that imaginary prison cell and walk freely in the grace Christ has offered you?