Jesus died to set us free, yet how many of us walk around bound up in chains. Christ unlocked the shackles of our chains and dropped them at our feet…yet for some reason we have a tendency to pick them up every now and then and wrap them around ourselves.
What kind of chains am I talking about? The list is inexhaustible.
These are just a few of the chains that bind us –
Addiction, fear, anxiety, anger, brokenness, bitterness, moodiness, unforgiveness, laziness, feeling lonely, feeling cheated, feeling annoyed, or feeling like you want to quit.
Other chains we carry might be –
Having a victim mentality, being selfish or irritable, the need to be right, insecurity, lack of discipline, lack of moral boundaries, lack of confidence, guilt, pride, or shame.
Are any of these chains familiar to you? There are a number of these chains that I am familiar with, because every so often I find myself wearing them.
I read a story long ago that I have never forgotten. I think (?) it may have been from the book Pilgrim’s Progress but I am not sure about that. Regardless – it’s a great story and I will do my best to repeat it. It might give you some insight about some of the chains that you carry.
One morning a man went on glorious run up a mountain path. He was in wonderful spirits and anticipated a challenging and rewarding run.
When he had run just a short ways up the mountain path, he came across a guy sitting on the side of the road with his back against a rock who had chains wrapped around his neck, his ankles, and his arms.
The runner immediately jumped off the path to offer his help. He grabbed a hold of the chains in hopes of trying to unlock the chains and free this man of his burden.
He desperately looked for a tool to break open the chains when suddenly he noticed that the chains were, in fact, unlocked. He shrieked with joy and cried to the man, “Look at this!! Your chains are NOT LOCKED!! You are free.”
The runner was so excited he lifted him off the ground and said to him, “You are no longer bound…come run with me up this path. I hear it is a glorious run and there is incredible beauty at the top.- Come on!!”
The runner began to lift the heavy chains from the guy on the road when suddenly the guy took a hold of his wrist and said, “no.” Please leave them….you don’t understand…”
The runner was completely confused….”What??? Are you crazy? No! Let me help you. This is an awful way to live, you must come with me.” And the guy on the side of the road shook his head sadly. “Please go on without me…”
The guy on the side of the road didn’t want to run. Although his chains held him back, they were familiar and they felt safe. Running felt unknown and risky. He refused a beautiful and exciting run, he refused to challenge himself, and he missed the freedom that was his.
How often do I act in a similar way as the man sitting along the road? I have freedom in Christ – my chains are gone. Yet, very often I fall back to my familiar state and become comfortable with the chains that I carry.
I no longer have to wear my chains. At any given moment I can pray to Jesus and ask Him to change my heart, my viewpoint, and my attitude. He has the power to free me from the bondage of my unlocked chains.
He will lift my chains, but it also takes some effort and willingness on my part in order to run.
Do I want to run?
“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”
Until next time,