Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.“ (John 8:34-36)
Since surrendering my heart to Jesus Christ, almost four years ago, I have continued to struggle with the daily aspect of walking in faith and faithfulness. If I am redeemed from the slave market of sin (and I am!), if I am truly free and my chains are broken through the blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit (and I am!), then why the draw to sin – sometimes daily and often hourly?
As I have contemplated this paradox, it seems to me that we often follow our well-worn paths out of habit. Jesus has truly, gloriously destroyed the chains of sin that held us. We are truly free. But our old way of life, our old ways of coping, will continue to draw us. It’s like we pick up the broken chains that bound us so long and kept us enslaved, and we carry them with us – almost like a security blanket. It’s what we were used to, you see, and the new life that God is developing in us does not always, for all people, immediately drive out the old. We are mixed creatures still, practically, even though completely made new, positionally, in Christ.
But there is a grave danger in holding those chains, though they may feel like comfort. Not only do they bind and chafe, causing us distress and pain. They pull! Can’t you feel it? Those chains that once held us fast and drug us toward the abyss – the utter darkness and torment we deserved because of our sin – they still pull! Every time I give in to temptation to lust or pride or untruth, or whatever was my bondage, every time I pick up those chains again and fondle them, remembering how they used to give me false security, I feel them still pulling me – dragging me deeper toward darkness and away from the Savior who loves me and gave His very life to set me free.
Why? What sense does that make? To our old man, lots! That was our way of coping, of escaping the God who loved us and pursued us. We didn’t want to surrender to Him because that meant giving up our chains. Stupid, but we’ve all been there (or are still).
In the strongest terms I exhort myself, and you today: Drop the chains! Don’t pick them up! Turn, look into the loving eyes of your Savior, and walk toward the Light. Never let those chains drag you toward the darkness again. You don’t have to. In Christ, you are free!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)