Staring out through the confining bars, Oliver and Sebastian long to be free to run and chase the wildlife that they can see beyond the bars. They bark and whine as the birds and ducks taunt them with their freedom. When I ask them if they want to go play, their enthusiasm is extreme. They cannot contain their exuberance as they jump and dance and turn circles waiting for you to unlock and open the door that keeps them in. Joy abounds!
Have you ever felt confined, closed in? It is one thing to be physically restricted, but what is worse is being spiritually bound and imprisoned. In the last several weeks, I have spent time with people who have been spiritually chained by so much bitterness, resentment, and animosity that they feel as though they have been shackled in a prison cell of torment. Some of them don’t even realize that they are spiritually bound by these attitudes because they have lived that way for so long. Whether it is the current events that are creating these heart issues or something that has occurred in the past, the damage that is done by these three temperaments is often acute.
When you permit these three postures to settle in your heart, there is no room for the Holy Spirit. As these destructive attitudes grow, the Holy Spirit is pushed out, and no longer can you clearly hear His voice. The roots of these venomous attitudes expand and deepen within the walls of your heart until they are anchored firmly in place. Letting them reign in your heart leads you to be more self-centered, evaluating everything and everyone in your life by how it or they affect you. Living life with these intense emotions binds, and chains you, keeping you from spreading your wings and fully realizing the potential that God has and wants for your life. It keeps you from seeing the desperation of others because you are only fixated on how their desperation is affecting you. Now you are held captive by resentment toward others as you attribute their behavior to your misery. God wants so badly to redirect your attention to himself, giving Him back the throne of your heart, and allowing him to give wings to your heart to soar, but you must earnestly ask Him to, He is the key to unlocking your chains. A simple, lighthearted, thoughtless prayer will not work! You need to muster all of your spiritual might and seriously call on, Jesus, the chain breaker, for help day in and day out – continuously!
Take some time to give some serious thought to what events have caused you to harbor such bitterness, resentment, or animosity. Ask God to reveal the root of the problem. Realize that if it is something from your past (even yesterday), you are no longer living in those moments. You are living in the present moment, one that holds so much possibility, so you need to put those past moments in the rearview mirror, but be careful not to fixate on that mirror or you will be sure to crash. Fix your eyes, instead, on what lays before you and ask God to help you let go of those things in your heart that do not belong there. Be deliberate in your action of surrendering to the Lord and let him do what is necessary to pull up those roots. For a while, it may not feel all that good, but when He is done, you will find yourself free, dancing with enthusiasm in His Joy! No longer will you be held captive by these destructive and confining attitudes; you will find yourself free to chase what God has planned for you all along!