Someone you love is being held prisoner and you have the power to set that person free.
The biggest challenge to your mission–if you choose to accept it–is that the prison is invisible and mobile. There is a way to penetrate its security measures, but instead of commando tools, it requires a different, specialized set of skills.
Galatians 3:22 (WNT) But Scripture has shown that all mankind are the prisoners of sin…
We all have the potential to be locked up, in the slammer, nailed & jailed, in the tank. Some are in the prison of sin for pre-meditated acts, yet many find themselves imprisoned simply because of acts they commit while living their everyday lives.
Humans sin–that isn’t a newsflash. The headline that should be screaming is this: We don’t have to be imprisoned to sin.
When you–a prisoner to sin–place your faith in Jesus Christ, an advocate is immediately appointed to your case. This advocate is the Holy Spirit, and He will work tirelessly to set you free. However, you can hinder your pathway to freedom to the degree by which you block the work of the advocate. The way to freedom is to give complete power of attorney to the Holy Spirit and be guided by His counsel and power.
There is a sad epidemic in the Christian world. Many have decided to believe in Jesus, but their lives don’t look much different than pre-decision; their lives don’t seem much different from other people who don’t supposedly have the Holy Spirit as their advocate. If being a Christian is supposed to lead to a power-filled life, why do so many Christians continue to feel powerless?
Gal 3:22 (WNT) …in order that the promised blessing, which depends on faith in Jesus Christ, may be given to those who believe.
While I don’t share all of John Piper’s convictions, I do see the missing link to this power-filled freedom in what he shares here:
For [many] the Holy Spirit [is] a fact of experience… a fact of doctrine. It is easy to imagine a spiritual counselor saying to a new convert today, “Don’t expect to notice any difference. Just believe you have received the Spirit.” But that is far from what we see in the New Testament. In Acts the Holy Spirit is not a silent influence but an experienced power. Receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit is a real, life-changing experience. Christianity is not merely an array of glorious ideas. I sometimes fear that we have so redefined conversion in terms of human decisions and have so removed any necessity of the experience of God’s Spirit, that many people think they are saved when in fact they only have Christian ideas in their head not spiritual power in their heart. if you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit — [you will experience] a new desire to magnify God in worship and a powerful disposition to obey God in everyday life.
Being baptized in the Holy Spirit is a topic that can lead to polarization in Christian camps. Ideas such as:
- There is no such thing as a separate baptism of the Holy Spirit – there is only water baptism.
- Every believer has the Holy Spirit in him/her upon conversion.
- A sign of being baptized into the Holy Spirit is the ability to speak in tongues.
- Speaking in tongues ceased with the age of the apostles.
…and on and on. It is yet one more ploy of our enemy, Satan, to confuse the source of power for believers in Jesus Christ. Get the believers fighting about doctrine and they will lose track of how to live with peace, power and purpose.
If you are a believer in Jesus and are struggling to live with freedom from habitual and debilitating sin–if you long to live a life marked by the power to face every situation, then look to Acts 2 to see how.
Peter was preaching to the crowd that gathered after the Holy Spirit filled the believers at Pentecost (vv 1-36). After hearing what Peter preached, the people wanted this power to come into them and they asked, “What should we do?” (vs 37). Peter gave them clear instruction that reaches through the ages to modern-day Christians. “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (vs 38)
They had to repent of what they’d been doing that wasn’t God-honoring– how they’d been living — past patterns and behaviors that were holding them down. Too many Christians today want Jesus to be their Savior but not their Lord. They want to hang on to their right to do what they want–to handle life their way–and they want God to somehow bless their mess.
Look what happened to those who listened to Peter, repented and were baptized. In verses 42-47, their lives were RADICALLY CHANGED. They no longer lived for themselves, they lived for things that had God’s kingdom values at the heart. They.were.changed.
In what area(s) of life are you continually defeated and worn down because of not doing things God’s way?
If you are a believer in Jesus and find that you are spinning your wheels locked in a prison of sin-patterns that defeat you and wound others, the question is this: Are you willing to repent? Are you willing to say, “Lord, my ways are not working. I lay it down and I make room for the Holy Spirit to be my guide. I want to be changed. I want to be free. I am done with my ways and I want to turn from them and do things Your way.”
Super easy words to type and read, but it requires tremendous courage to pray them. Until we do, we are the ones who walk into jail cells and shut the door behind us. No amount of talking, crying or counseling will have the power to set us free. It is a work of the Holy Spirit, and He stands ready to move in power.
Will you let Him?