A number of years ago our family found ourselves in a relatively new season in which we had transitioned where we were living and ministering. I was in a somewhat vulnerable state, licking my wounds per se, from a previous season in which we had walked through some pretty heartbreaking circumstances and broken relationships. I was a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom and found my plate to be pretty full and life, at times, exhausting and very stressful. Because of what we had recently encountered, I was absolutely fine with my self-proclaimed “busy” titles and life and had no desire to add anything else to my plate church and ministry wise. I had lost the zeal I once had to share Christ with others and was content to let my husband take the full-load of that responsibility. We were married, but not really a team as far as ministry goes at that point, which I was fine with.
I remember a pretty intense discussion my husband broached with me, challenging me to “get back in the game”, to see people, love them where they were at, and to let God use me to minister to them with what he had gifted me with. “Gifted me with??” In my mind, I had nothing significant to offer to anyone. I really had a difficult time seeing the things in myself that my husband so easily was able to list off. I soon after went through a time of repentance and inner healing that God was so gracious to give me. Dreams I once had started to come alive again, and I slowly started to dip my toes in the water of stepping into the uncomfortable and unknown, trying to be obedient as I felt the Lord was leading.
Maybe you can relate. Do you ever feel as if you don’t have anything to offer? Or maybe you feel a nudge in a certain area of life to step out and do something new, and maybe scary, but lack the confidence or faith to do so? Maybe you feel unworthy. I think we all have been there. In fact, I would venture to say most of us have difficulty seeing potential or having confidence in ourselves. Some are able to, but for most I don’t believe it comes naturally.
The enemy is a liar, the Father of all lies, actually. Jesus had this to say about the devil in John 8:44b,
“He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
The enemy would like nothing more than to bombard our minds with all of our failures and mistakes – to hang labels on us with chains that weigh us down and keep us from moving forward with the plans that God has intended for us.
Some of us keep “labels” of the wrongs that have been done to us by others as well – which are so easily used as excuses to keep us from placing ourselves in any kind of circumstance where we’d feel vulnerable. The weight and burden of these “labels” has immobilized us and left us feeling ashamed, unworthy, and unable to change or affect change. Lies.
The hampering these “labels of lies” cause is they can keep us from being in relationship with one another, and we desperately need one another! We ALL have something to offer. Each of our unique stories and what we’ve been through has the ability to help bring others through the difficulties they are facing or bring freedom from what they’ve experienced in the past. First and foremost, we need to allow Jesus to free us and bring us through the yuck and not get stuck in it. Second, we must be willing to then take opportunities to share how Christ has brought us through the good, bad, and ugly.
We don’t have to be slaves to sin and shame any longer…it’s time to break free of those chains! In John 8:31-36 Jesus addresses how to break free of the chains of bondage and sin,
“If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.” John 8:31b-32 MSG
It’s all about knowing Jesus. Believing he is who he says he is – Lord of all. Confessing that we need him to rescue us from our sin, shame, regret, and hurt and coming before him with an openness to repent and turn to him…giving him everything and allowing him access to everything. It’s remaining in what he has taught us in the word, because it’s truth. HE is truth. He is the one who sets us FREE!
“Jesus said, “I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave. A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will. The Son, though, has an established position, the run of the house. So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through.” John 8:34-38 MSG
When Jesus sets us free, those labels that have weighed us down? Ephesians 1:13 says,
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 1:13 ESV
The phrase “were sealed” from Strong’s Greek Lexicon is “sphragízō” which means “to stamp (with a signet or private mark) for security or preservation”. When we are in Christ, those old chains that hold the “labels of lies” are taken away and replaced with an official seal of heaven, the promised the Holy Spirit! What God has set apart for each of us to accomplish, he will enable us to do – unencumbered because the chains of our past have been broken – and we are empowered with and through the Holy Spirit, our paraclete, our helper…
If you are tired of the ugliness of sin, the weightiness of labels, the condemnation of the lies that keep you stuck, the stagnancy of not moving in the direction you feel led to pursue, or just know you need the freedom of Jesus – call out to him today! He loves you, he sees you, he knows all about you, and he is waiting to break you free of those chains.
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