How To Break Free From Self-Made Slavery
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” ~Jesus
What does it really mean to be a slave? Does it mean you’re bound up in shackles? Does it mean you are being forced to work, or something else you don’t want to do, for free?…What is slavery?
Jesus defined what true slavery is: self-made slavery. He said, “You’re really only a slave if you are a slave to sin” (see John 8:34). What I didn’t understand for so long was how could sin make me a slave? After all, I’m in control of my own attitudes and actions, right? And further, the Bible says that I’m dead to sin and alive in Christ (see Romans 6:11).
So if I do sin, because I’m a new creation in Christ (at my spiritual core, I’m Jesus is there) then it’s not really even me who sins (because Jesus can’t sin), but instead, it’s sin itself in me, as a parasite, a foreign object (see 2 Corinthians 5:17, 5:21, Romans 7:17).
Yes, I know this is difficult to grasp, but this is the truth of the gospel which sets us free, which is…we’ve had a supernatural DNA swap with Christ! This is hard teaching to understand! And it was Paul who began to teach this way. The self-proclaimed, best former legalist ever (see Philippians 3:4-6), Paul said sin has no control over who we really are, as Christians! How is that even possible?! This is why Peter said, “Paul’s letters contain some things that are hard to understand,” but he goes on to call Paul “a dear brother with the wisdom that God gave him” (see 2 Peter 3:15,16).
So, if sin in me is simply a leech, and I can’t rid my body of sin on this side of heaven, even as a Christian, what am I to do? Paul answers that exact question right after he calls sin a foreign object in his own body: “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25). Jesus is who sets us free from the slavery of sin! Not us! Instead, we die in spirit, by grace through faith—once—and we become alive with Christ, actually resurrected in His spirit (see Romans 6:3,4, Galatians 2:20, Hebrews 10:10). So now, as believers in this, we are all holy saints who “sin sometimes,” but make no mistake, sin does not define us in any way!
Knowing this truth about our spiritual identity is crucial because sin is still a part of our lives as human beings–as flesh. So what do we do when sin does peak out its ugly head? We recognize it, and turn from it. This is called “repentance.” Repentance of attitudes and actions that don’t match up with the character of the Holy Spirit allows Christ to live through us–but this is not what keeps Him in us. What keeps Him in us, is our one-time repentance of unbelief in His forgiveness of our sin.
So the longer we take to repent of sin–not unbelief–the longer we will be a slave to it. This does not mean you become un-saved until you turn from a particular sin. If that were the case, we’d all be in trouble because Christians sin, a lot.
So the question is, “How do we break free?!”…Jesus tells us!
One of the best things about Jesus is that when He tells us what’s wrong with us, He doesn’t just leave us there—He wants to help us learn and grow, in Him. As He gently corrects us, He always guides us in the right direction, away from sin, so that our actions and attitudes will begin to match up with God’s plan for our lives, as well as Who is living in us.
His answer to help us break free from the self-made slavery of sin, is one word: Grace. All of your power to overcome sin comes from His grace. Most of the time, when we can’t break free from a particular sin in which struggle with severely, it’s because we are trying too hard to stop. What we need to do is stop trying to stop, and rest in His grace. Sure, it sounds counter-productive, but when we stop trying, and instead, we begin to rely on His grace, miracles can happen! My sobriety is proof of this! It wasn’t until I stopped trying to quit, that I actually did! And that’s because instead of focusing on quitting so much, I began focusing on beginning a new life based on showing Jesus that I actually loved Him—because of His grace.
When we begin to base all of our thoughts, words, and actions on Him; when we run everything by Him first, to make sure it’s truthful according to Him—even if it hurts—then we can break free from our self-made sin slavery by His grace!
His grace is what gives us the ability to break free from addictions, fear, codependency, guilt, loneliness, anguish, legalism, hate, criticism, unforgiveness, bitterness, and everything else that does not match up with Jesus Christ, who is in you.
So today, my friends, let me ask you something: Are you ready to break free? Jesus will personally set you free from sin and break your chains! Ask Him to! Allow Him to live through you, and He will make you a very free person, today!
A prayer for you: Father, thank you for making me spiritually perfect like you. Through my faith in Jesus’ sacrifice for me, I know this is what I am, at my spiritual core—perfect. Thank you for killing off my sinful spirit with Jesus, and raising me to eternal life with Him as well. Your Word says in Romans 6, that I have been set free from sin and I have become a slave to righteousness. Thank you for this gift! I AM a slave to righteousness! Shackled forever! Since I am like you in spirit, please use my body as a tool for YOUR good work, and reshape my soul—my mind, my will, and my emotions—as I get to know you deeper and deeper each day. The sin that is in me, help me to chain it up and starve it, as I continue to water my soul with all things Jesus. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who are stuck in a particular sin pattern, drench them with your grace. It could be an addiction, dishonesty, jealousy, pride, or an incorrect attitude of being extremely judgmental and hyper-critical—any sin struggle—help them. Let them come to understand just how much power is really in them, because of your grace! In Jesus’ name, amen.
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