Unchained Freedom

God’s Word is not chained....2 Timothy 2:9

"I have faith in God, I just don't know if I have faith in myself."  When she spoke the words & I felt like I was drowning in the face of my own fears as she exposed hers.  

My friend had recently received a prophetic declaration over her life that she would lead worship in new ways for the sake of the kingdom.  And with that, the chains of incompetency & unworthiness bound her as if there were no power in the world that could break them.  But that day, by sharing her heart & believing I was a safe place for her to unload all those emotions, she moved from being frozen by fear toward action in Love.  

In the days following our conversation, her words, "I have faith in God, I just don't know if I have faith in myself", echoed emphatically in my head.  How can such a small phrase be so full of freedom & bondage in the same breath?  

We believe in a God so big He can do anything.  He can part the Red Sea, He can heal the sick, He can even raise the dead to life, but for some reason in our own world we aren’t sure He can do what we need Him to do.  We let our head lead our hearts astray & we forget He wants to move in us for His purposes.  

As I was praying for my friend after our conversation, the Lord brought the story of Paul & Silas to mind.  

You see, Paul & Silas found themselves in chains, imprisoned for doing what they knew the Lord had called them to do.  But they didn’t let their chains stop them.  In the middle of their imperfect & broken situation, they started praising the Lord & that’s where the miracle happened.  In the middle of singing praises, their chains broke off & they were set free.  But the story didn’t stop there because the chains actually broke off of all the prisoners in the jail cell that night! {Acts 16:20-34}

I began to realize the truth of it all…I realized that sometimes just acknowledging our own chains is the way to real freedom.  Whether our chains are physical, mental or emotional, when we keep praising the Lord while in our bondage, we are set free.  And the great thing is, our freedom spreads to those around us.  True freedom brings a contagious atmosphere that cannot be denied & everyone wants it.  When Paul & Silas praised the Lord in their chains, they & all the people around them were set free. 

Could it possibly be that the way to freedom is to praise Him even when we are bound in our own chains?  Could it be that when our minds are bound to our own weakness, that simply deciding to bind our hearts to His strength will change everything? 

Paul & Silas didn't deny the power of the physical problems that held them in the jail cell that night.  They chose instead to praise Him in the middle of the darkest night, bound by chains they could never break on their own.  They gave their hearts the freedom to let God work & they were set free from both physical warfare & spiritual warfare.

They opted for praising even if their circumstances never changed.  Prior to the chains breaking off, we have no indication that they had received revelation from the Lord that they would be physically set free.  However, they continued faithfully in what the Father had called them to, in order to walk in spiritual freedom.

So what if praising in our chains is what we need to bring freedom to our world & in turn God shows us what true freedom looks like?

This world is broken & there will be situations & circumstances we will each face where God is asking us to keep trusting Him, believing Him & praising Him, even in our chains.  But miracles can only happen in broken places.  No miracle working is needed in perfection, so maybe we need to choose to keep singing His praise in the middle of our dark night in order to be set free.

Here are some thoughts on praising in the middle of chains to be set free:

Don't give up on what God has called you to ~ Sometimes our hearts grow weary in doing good because of the battle against the enemy who is constantly looking to falsely accuse us & put us in chains.  But we must ‘keep on, keepin’ on’ as the saying goes.  Remember that Paul & Silas had each other, so engage a friend to help pull you up to praise the the Lord when you are bound by your own doubts & you in turn, can do the same for that person.  Two are always better than one.  {2 Corinthians 8:10-12, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10}

Sometimes we have to rejoice in our circumstances in order to let God change our circumstances ~ There are many examples in the Bible where people’s circumstances didn’t change until they chose to change their heart’s perspective.  Think of Daniel, Joseph, The Israelite people, Paul & Silas.  Each of these situations required praise for the Lord in their situations before He could change the situation.  We must choose to praise Him, even if our circumstances seem to stay the same externally.  Praising Him in the middle of our mess brings His supernatural presence & gives Him the freedom to come & be the miracle we need!  {Luke 10:18-20}

You are the light in the darkness ~ The darkness is this broken world.  You are the light.  Jesus himself said so.  So if we are the light, then wouldn’t it be true that if we praise Him in the dark, we will light up the world around us?  We must keep choosing to follow & praise Him, even in the hard times so those around us can be set free also.  What good does it do for us to be set free though salvation & not live free in the abundance Christ has brought us to?  We must praise in the dark, to walk in the light.  {Matthew 5:14-16, Philippians 2:14-16}

What would happen if you praised Him even while you are bound by chains?  What would happen if you allowed the truth that's in your heart to penetrate your head & break the your own chains & the chains of those around you?