Be Free From Paper Chains!
There have been hundreds and thousands of Christians that I’ve known in my lifetime, and in that entire time, I’ve never known a single person that has ever prospered that wouldn’t be open with other people, of their own free will, on a daily basis. We can build ourselves a jail cell and throw the keys outside and lock ourselves into it by allowing fears and imaginations and knots in our tongue. We build a jail cell with our feelings that we might not be able to communicate it properly, or our feelings that nobody would be interested anyway. We decide we can’t put a finger on it properly ourselves, so, “what is there to talk about?” All those feelings that cause us to be closed within ourselves have been a self-imposed imprisonment. I’ve never known one single person in my entire life that’s ever been free in Christ, who did not out of their own free will make themselves vulnerable to other believers around them.
So, if there’s one thing that I could suggest to you, it is that of your own free will, no matter how awkward it seems, no matter what you think the response might be, that you’d be open about what you’re thinking and feeling to other people on a continual basis. Not on an event basis, but on a life basis. Open yourself up about what your hopes and dreams and your fears and temptations and victories are; don’t just “watch,” and “observe.” But open up that jail cell—get out of there!
We’ve been together a long time now, a lot of us with you, and you with a lot of us, and we’ve not purposefully ever let you down and don’t ever want to. We may not be perfect; in fact, I’m persuaded that we’re not! But, as far as mortals can be, we want to be trustworthy, and not judge, not pigeonhole and not stiff-arm, but just walk together in peace and help one another. Anyone of us in any conceivable environment can lock ourselves into that cell. And I just beg you and plead with you to be open on a daily basis. Because there’s no amount of knowledge you can ever have—you can’t read your Bible enough, or pray enough or be in enough meetings—to ever open that jail cell. It comes out of relationship and out of vulnerability, that the Spirit of God, like the dove of Peace, swoops into our life and begins to make sense of things that have been bondage and a pain and a trauma in the past.
If you do this one thing for the rest of your life, I bet everything else will fall into place: be willing—as awkward and as stiff as it might feel at different times, and regardless of what you think the results might be—BE WILLING to be open and let your hair down, and just let people know who you are. And I bet you, no matter what anybody else says or does in response, that God will find an open channel in your heart to bring a freedom and a peace that you’ve never encountered before.
I know that all of our histories, our childhoods and everything, is different. We’re the product of so many things that satan has tied us up with. But like the brother said the other day: Our chains are made out of paper. And we can be free of those things.
If you don’t do anything else in terms of following God, if I could ask you to do this one thing, no matter what it cost you, if you could just do this one thing: be open and vulnerable on a daily basis with those that live around you. Share what you’re thinking, whether it seems to be valid or invalid, understandable or not, intelligible or not—whatever it is that you’re feeling—if you’d be open with that, and allow people to walk with you and pray with you and talk with you and they’d do the same with you, I know God will meet you there. And I say that as prophetically as anything else that’s been said ever before, that if you’d do that one thing, I believe you’ll see a total transformation in your life. I say that on the authority of the Word of God and relationship with God, that that one thing will set you free.
You will obey Him in the other areas of your life, too; but this one thing is inescapable…it’s a necessity in any of our lives. Would you be willing to risk that? If God would ask you to jump off a cliff, I believe you would do it. If God asks you to give over all your money, your possessions, to hand over your truck key, and go into Nairobi, I believe you’d do it. If God asks you to do this, would you do it?
If I’m wrong, you’ll get all your money back : ) : )…But if I’m right, I tell you it will change your life!