Thursday, February 18, 2010
Lifted Out of the Box
It has just been recently that I have been enlightened to the fact that the major portion of my life has been spent imprisoned in some kind of a box. The first couple of years of my life were enjoyed in the confines of a crib..a playpen...a carseat...a highchair...a stroller.... or my mother's arms. They were meant as a form of my protection, and even as I started to explore the perimeters of my well guarded fortresses, and began climbing out of the crib or playpen, I was reminded over and over again how dangerous it was to be unconfined or unrestrained. As I grew, the boxes became a little bigger, and the borders went a little farther, but I began to slowly understand that there was a well planned conspiracy to keep me within the four walls of my safety zone. Now the box became my room....my yard..and my city block. I would get glimpses of "the outside" once in awhile, but was quickly reminded by my parents and peers that scary things were on the outside and the big wide world would gobble you up if you dared to dream a different dream than the one that lay inside of the box that was designed especially for you. As the teen years approached, my box grew and expanded...only this time it extended beyond the physical and began to develop inside of my mind, my thoughts, desires, dreams, and spirit. Although I was free to roam the four corners of my large box, other boxes of various sizes began to fill the box I was enclosed within, pressing me into the corner from all sides until I had very little room in my box left for me. The little boxes came in the form of peer pressure, desire to please others, obedience to the laws, parents, church, friends, teachers, ideas, politics, sexual beliefs, so many boxes...and being the opinionated person that I am...I had lots of beliefs and words on every subject imaginable. As adulthood approached, I began to see that others lived in different boxes than I did....but boxes just the same. The borders may have extended farther than mine, but they weren't any more free than I was. They were restrained by different ideologies or ideas...but they were still in bondage. I would look outside my four walls, with a floor and ceiling, and wondered if I would ever really understand what freedom was. It sounded sooo good. Jesus said that He came to set the captives free...and I definitely was a captive. The church (religious establishment) would tell you that Christ could set you free...but then they would tie you up so tightly in the bondage of fear, shame, or some other warped religious rhetoric. I now believe that they were so afraid that you might escape their grips and truly find the freedom that Christ talked about, leaving them to remain in their box all alone. So they worked even harder at keeping you in the same box as them. Religion (man created rules about how we should live under the law) is a horrible way to live. It keeps you in bondage. It keeps you in a box. Christ came that we may have life and have it more abundantly. I had been "religious" for many years...it has just been recently (the last couple of years) that I have really discovered God's grace. It is sad that it took soooo many years before I found the freedom I had longed for. I had tried to climb out of my box many times. But it wasn't until I lifted my arms to Jesus and said, "I'm ready to come out", that I was released from my bondage, and I want to share that with you. Religion produces "a works mentality", an "I can earn God's favor"... Religion produces "a judgemental" attitude, an "I am more holy than you" attitude. Religion produces hypocrites...pretenders....Grace produces an understanding of what Jesus did for me on the cross and a love and desire to serve and please him. Grace produces an uncondeming love for others. Grace (God's undeserved favor) gives us freedom without boundaries...because boundaries are unnecessary for someone who is so in love with the one who died for you. As I told you all once before...I quit attending church for over a year. It was the best thing I ever did....a time of growth and letting go of security...but God has called me back to church....and I LOVE IT! I WANT TO GO TO CHURCH! I CAN'T WAIT TO GO BACK EVERY SUNDAY! What produced such a radical change in my thinking and in my life? I was set free! It is all because of God's amazing grace...Jesus lifted me out of the box, and said I love you....be free! And I fell down on my knees and worshipped Him saying....I love you and it is my desire to serve you! Are you tired of being in bondage? Are you ready to be lifted out of your box? There is amazing freedom waiting for you outside of the box and His name is Jesus. I guarantee you...once you are FREE to worship....YOU'LL NEVER BE THE SAME!