I am quite thankful that I have never served time in an actual prison. I have never been in jail or incarcerated in any way by our penal system. There is no pride in that statement; just a sense of gratitude that I grew up being taught not only “the rules” but in a stable and affirming home that kept me from chasing after things that would ultimately hurt me. Whenever I drive by prisons I am overwhelmed with a sense of sadness and I pray for the people locked behind the walls.
This Sunday in our worship service I will be talking about “Freedom in Christ.” This is a theme that has personally transformed my life. The truth of the matter is that there are many people that have never been physically imprisoned that are holistically far more lacking in freedom than some of the people that will be behind bars for the rest of their lives.
Therefore, it is so vitally important to understand our need for true freedom and how pervasive being imprisoned is for each of us. This aspect of our world’s brokenness bumps up against the reality of how many lives are lived out in “quiet desperation” or chasing the next thing. The next thing could be a million different things, ranging from our addictions, to our personal struggles, to being abused or abusing others, to….
Do you need to be rescued from some prison? The answer is yes for each of us. We all need to be rescued from the power of sin and death. That is why Jesus came. You have heard me say that many times if you have regularly attended Oak Hill’s worship services, but I want you to understand today the comprehensiveness of Jesus’ rescue mission and our prison break.
It took a long time for me to realize how many prisons I have chosen for myself over the years. Some of them were obvious to me even at the time. Others, such as my addiction for control and security came to light later in life. Now, I have no doubt that some of you would disagree that this is truly a prison from which I needed to be rescued if I were to describe this to you. But I am absolutely assured that my “do all you can and get everything in order” attitude has many times masked my lack of faith or trust in God. I worshipped or exalted myself by claiming the need to worry and be anxious. I claimed God’s role in my life as my own. OUCH!!
We need to be rescued from prisons of fear and bitterness, from prisons of pride and an empty existence. We need God’s Word and Spirit to reveal that many of the “trappings” of our culture are not just little inconveniences or habits, but they are full-blown prisons that can drain us of freedom and life. We can be locked up in a prison discontent whether we have a lot or a little, whether we have a good job or no job, whether we have a large house or a studio apartment.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Free in Christ,
Pastor Nick Mundis