Can I be honest? I fought a private battle for about three years. As the dark weeks turned into months, and the months into years, it felt harder and harder to remember what the light looked like, and to believe that it was still attainable. I knew that Jesus set captives free, but no matter how much I prayed, my own freedom felt a million miles away.
And when I had lost nearly all hope of recovery, when I had accepted that I would live in the dark for the rest of my life, I had a heart-to-heart with Jesus. And three simple words came to my spirit. You’re already free.
I didn’t feel free. In fact, the words seemed to downplay the overwhelming battle that I had been fighting, and losing.
Jesus Set Captives Free From More Than Sin
But I was reminded at church, just a few weeks before Easter, that Jesus didn’t just take away the sins of the world when he died for us. He also took the weight of the world from our shoulders and carried it on his own when he died in our place.
When I used to pray about my situation, I would tell God all about my chains, how they frustrated me and caused me to lose hope. I would describe the nagging anxiety I felt in my chest.
Then I would walk away from my prayers and wait for God to fix it. And when I wouldn’t see an immediate and miraculous resolution, I would set to work deliberating over my next move.
But God never intended for his children to figure out life, and all of its moving pieces, on our own. The burden I was carrying was never mine to bear.
Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ. (Romans 6:10, MSG)
He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own. (2 Corinthians 5:15)
My old way of life, before I accepted Jesus, required me to carry all of the burdens that life placed on my shoulders. They rested heavy on my chest, made me sick to my stomach, and kept me up at night as I replayed every detail in my head.
But Jesus already died for those things. He freed me from my bondage, from all bondage, when he died on the cross.
So why was I still living in chains?
Jesus Set Captives Free, Not From Trials, But From Being Enslaved By Our Trials
None of this is to say that as Christians, we will never face hardships, but that we can find peace in our trials. We were meant to find God’s peace, and God’s perspective, in our trials.
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
I prayed for freedom from my chains for years, when Jesus had already freed me from those chains over 2000 years ago.
Jesus Set Captives Free – How I Live in That Truth
You’re already free. Those words felt both obvious and revolutionary all at once.
That knowledge changed the shape and the feel of my prayers that day. Instead of telling God about my chains, begging for my release from them, I thanked God for my freedom from them, for his work on the cross thousands of years ago.
And when the lies of my chains worked their way into my head just a few hours later, I responded with God’s truth that I was free. That I had always been free. I responded with Romans 8:28 (NIV):
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
I held tight to the promise of 1 Peter 1:6 (NLT):
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.
And as I spoke the truth of my freedom over my own negative thoughts and self-defeating beliefs, I began to act on and live in that truth. I uncovered a new hope for the future, and discovered joy in the smallest of things. I stopped trying to orchestrate my own salvation. Instead, I rested in the knowledge that God would work all things for my good.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
If you’re carrying a burden today, I would encourage you to put it down. God never intended for you to carry it. In fact, you’re already free. Jesus made sure of that on the cross.
Speak your freedom over your life. Thank God in your prayers that Jesus set captives free, and that, that includes you!
Respond to the darkness of your captivity with the truths of Jesus’ work of rescue and freedom on the cross. Write down Bible verses about freedom. Keep them handy so that you always have a response when your burden tries to rear its ugly head.
Wrap It Up
Following Jesus doesn’t mean that bad things will never happen, or that we’ll never face dark times in our lives. But it does mean that we are no longer prisoners to anything.
You’re already free. Embrace your freedom today.
P.S. It’s hard to feel free when you’re walking through trials. Our new 21-day devotional is refreshingly honest, down-to-earth, and speaks to the heart of the matter—how can we reconcile our trials with our faith? Check it out here!
Disclosure: While all opinions are our own, we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate advertising programs, designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites, at no additional cost to you.