There once were two slaves shackled together in a desert. One slave had put the shackles on herself and the other slave, the shackles were placed upon her. Both slaves tired of their deprivation, cried out to the Lord for help. One day, a He came along with a cool breeze that refreshed them. They were amazed how his clothes were unstained by the desert dust and he looked as though the intense heat did not even touch him. He said to them, “You are free. Come and follow me.” The slave who had put her shackles on herself at once recognized who He was and saw that her chains were loosened from her ankles. She immediately jumped and shouted for joy and followed Him in her new found freedom. The other slave stood quiet and still looking on as they continued on. Watching until she could see no more of the dust there steps made, she looked down at her own feet. The shackles were laying on the dirt. They were not around her ankles anymore, but instead of following as the other slave had, she remained by her shackles. Having her shackles on for so long, she was afraid to believe that they were really off of her. Since she could remember, they have always held her back, but now nothing did. What, in her mind, was she supposed to do? How could she be sure? If she followed Him, what else would happen to her? How could the other slave be so free when she chose to put her shackles on? “It is different for me”, she told herself. “Nobody understands what this has been like. I didn’t ask for this. This happened to me. How can I ever truly be free?” Days turned into nights and nights to days as the slave stood by her shackles. Slowly she reached down and placed them back on her ankles. “This is all I know.”, she said. “This is all I have.”
As she stood there, she would see freed slaves passing her. Some were walking. Others running. All following the One who had freed them. Many would stop and say “Look, I am free! He freed me!” Again the slave would say to herself,”Sure, it was easy for them to be free, but how can I , after what has been done to me, ever be?”
More time passed and the slave grew restless. Her shackles did not feel secure like they once had. All that she had grown accustomed to in order to survive, the desert heat, the isolation, the emptiness, the thirst…all seemed to grow intolerable. “There is no place for me!”, she cried out. “I have no place where I belong.” Broken, her tears began to wet the cracked dry dirt that she fell down upon. “God, where are you?”, she asked. As she was on her hands and knees, a familiar breeze came and blew on her the same cooling wind. As she stood up, she heard a whisper, “Whoever I have set free, is truly free.” As she heard this, she looked down and once again saw her shackles laying in the dust. She watched the freed slaves traveling past her as she did everyday only this day she did something different.
Her heart pounded as she made that first step past her shackles, and after that first step she quickly made another one. All at once a joy came over her that she had never known. Many slaves left their shackles behind, but she grabbed hers and went running. As she ran past slaves, she would ask “Have you seen the One that set you free?” They would joyfully point the way. When she came upon Him, she fell on her knees holding her shackles out to Him. “Thank you for freeing me.” she said. “Please take these and do what you desire with them.” The Lord told her to stand up. “I will take these and show the world the power of my love through them. Follow me.” And she did. All the days of her life. Some days she ran. Others she walked as though the shackles were still on her feet. Sometimes, she would wonder about the whereabouts of her shackles, but when she did she would here His voice saying “Whoever I have set free, are truly free.” and she would stop worrying and place her focus back on the One she was following.
She spent the remainder of her days doing so and pointing the way to Him for others to see.
“Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:35-36.
But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. Romans 6:17-19