Be Set Free This Independence Day
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The celebration of American independence is a special time in the United States. We recall the history of a colonial population that was oppressed by the mother country and the fortitude displayed by those who took a stand against this maltreatment. For many Americans it is an inspirational remembrance and I encourage you to celebrate the United States in all its glory this July 4th, but give me a few minutes to ponder an Independence Day even more critical to your human experience: Spiritual Independence Day.
Human beings are beset on all sides by sin. In short, sin is disobedience to God. Sometimes it is overt, but many times there is “secret sin” that we hide behind the veneer of our daily lives. Over the years, failure to recognize, repent of, and turn from this sin results in us becoming shackled by it. Our lives become oppressed by the work of Satan. We grow into defeated, despondent, discouraged, bitter, and ultimately hopeless people when sin takes us captive. Our spirits long to be set free from this spiritual bondage.
In the book of Acts, chapter 12, the Bible provides a beautiful illustration of literal, physical deliverance from the clutches of evil. The wicked King Herod was arresting key figures of the early church for the purpose of persecution. He captured and killed the Apostle James and when he saw how this pleased the Jews, he seized Peter with the same intent. Herod imprisoned Peter and assigned four squads of soldiers to guard him. His situation appeared hopeless, but the church was earnestly praying for him.
When Herod was about to bring him out for trial, that very night Peter, bound with two chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while the sentries in front of the door guarded the prison. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell. Striking Peter on the side, he woke him up and said, “Quick, get up!” And the chains fell off his wrists. “Get dressed,” the angel told him, “and put on your sandals.” And he did. “Wrap your cloak around you,” he told him, “and follow me.” So he went out and followed, and he did not know that what the angel did was really happening, but he thought he was seeing a vision. After they passed the first and second guards, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened to them by itself. They went outside and passed one street, and suddenly the angel left him. When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s grasp and from all that the Jewish people expected.” (vv. 6-11)
Almighty God miraculously set Peter free from his life-threatening, seemingly hopeless situation. This is the same power that God offers us to escape the grasp of oppressive sin in our lives. Let’s examine the parallels:
- Peter was taken captive and was powerless to emancipate himself
- The enemy’s goal was Peter’s death (destruction)
- The church earnestly prayed for Peter’s deliverance (faith in God)
- God came to Peter’s rescue and set him free from the enemy’s possession
This biblical record emphasizes how God will grant us independence over the spiritual oppressors in our lives. We must recognize our condition and that we are powerless to save ourselves. It is important to remember that the enemy’s goal is our destruction. We must have faith that God can set us free and surround ourselves with likeminded believers who will intercede on our behalf. Then we must walk in this faith and expect to receive our spiritual independence from the oppressive force of sin that is purposed to destroy us. We are set free through the power of God. Celebrate freedom and your Spiritual Independence Day today!
Scripture is quoted from The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.
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