There is a worship song that speaks of the power of the Lord breaking every chain in our souls to give us freedom. It means a lot to me personally, because I know there is nothing within me that can break free of the bars I accepted in this life: things that happened to me, things I did or omitted doing, ideas and attitudes that I allowed to take root in my mind. They comprise the cells that make me a prisoner of my past, my sin, and the iniquity that invades my soul like a black virus. I am a sinner; therefore, I sin. Yet there remains hope for people, to vaporize those chains and bars, even for one such as me.
The gospel of Jesus’ sacrifice tells much more than the story of a man that was crucified for our sins, and raised on the third day. His power to change us is the same power that made the stars, yet He focuses on changing human hearts, for He longs for one thing…relationship with us. If we accept His offer, that explosive, pervasive power resides within us for transformation, for reaching beyond anything we could be on our own.
Many times, the power that is available does not seem real, perhaps because we’ve heard that Sunday school story many times over, and because even after receiving Jesus, there are battles to be fought against within the mind and heart, ones that are all too visible to the outside world. And unfortunately, the world sees that as a reflection on God. The apostle Paul wrestled with these things within himself.
“For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate…For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not…I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! …Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” ~ Romans 7:15,18, 23-25; 8:1-2
So how is this power of transformation brought forth? REST. Resting in Jesus, in His completed work, allowing Him to do soul surgery and heart therapy.
“He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.” ~ Psalm 23:2-3
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” ~II Corinthians 3:12-18
He places His own creative power within us to carry out His will for the reconciliation of people into true intimate relationship with Himself. The best job in the world is allowing His transforming power to flow through us, yielding ourselves into becoming clear conduits for His love. In the process, He heals the infection in our minds, hearts, souls and bodies.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” ~ II Corinthians 5:17
Despite any problems we have, no matter what imprisons and infects our souls, His power was designed to overcome. God sent Jesus to become the sin on which He would pour out His holy wrath, for the hope that we might accept that transforming love and be saved into reconciliation and relationship with Him.
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” ~ II Corinthians 5:21
I have faith that He can break my chains and prison bars, because He has shown the strength of His faithful loving-kindness over and over and over again. All I need do is yield my fears toHim. Yahweh’s opinion trumps all others. He says I am more than a conqueror in Jesus. And that is the message of hope we have because of the Resurrection.
“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Romans 8:37-39