Freedom is the theme throughout my new historical novel The Planter's Daughter. Each of the main characters longs for freedom from something that is keeping them from living the abundant life that God intended for them. Adella Rose, the planter's daughter, longs for the freedom to choose her own destiny. Seth, our hero, needs the freedom forgiveness brings. And Jeptha, the slave I chose to represent all the other slaves, obviously longs for physical freedom. Everyone, I believe, at one time or another, has allowed themselves to become enslaved, whether by sin or another person or a circumstance, to the point they are no longer free.
I've lived in that bondage, and I imagine many, if not all, of you have, too. So many different things can keep us trapped, enslaved even, ultimately preventing us from living in joy and freedom. To name just a few: unhealthy relationships; past experiences; past mistakes; past abuses; alcohol; drugs; tobacco; pornography; sex addictions; materialism; money; and on and on.
The apostle Paul talked about this very thing in Galatians 5. Some of the newly converted Christians were being told they had to conform to the old Jewish rituals in order to be saved, rather than simply believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. He wants them to understand that they---and we---are not justified by the works of the Law but by faith in Jesus Christ. Verse one says, "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."
Paul isn't talking about the kind of slavery Jeptha, Aunt Lu, and the others experience as slaves on Rose Hill plantation. They had no choice but to live as slaves. Their very lives depended upon obeying their white master. Paul is talking about the kind of slavery we bring upon ourselves by our own choices. In the Galatians case, they were in danger of making Christ's sacrifice on the cross somehow not enough for eternal salvation. They had to make a choice: trust the Truth Paul was teaching, or go back to the old ways that God himself deemed insufficient when He sent his Son to redeem us. Like you, I've walked that road. I've let choices I made keep me in bondage far too long. I've even let experiences I had no control over prevent me from living in the joy God wanted for me in spite of the unpleasantness I experienced.
Are you in bondage to something? Or maybe even to someone? Jesus Christ can free you from it! All of the things I listed above that keep people enslaved today can be broken, like a chain falling off of you, by the power in Jesus Christ. Are you in a relationship that is keeping your from being the person you know in your heart you should be? Ask Jesus to give you the strength and courage to walk away. NO relationship on earth is worth the price you might pay if you stay in it! Is alcohol, drugs, tobacco, food, or something else keeping you enslaved? Our bodies are the temple where the Holy Spirit resides, so he will most definitely help you overcome whatever you are putting in your body that isn't healthy. Sex addictions can absolutely be overcome by the power and the blood of Jesus Christ! I personally know someone who has defeated that very thing, and I tell you, it's a beautiful thing to see how free this person is!
I'll leave you with Jesus's own words on the subject found in John 8:35-36:
"A slave is not a permanent member of the family but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed."
Live a life of freedom, folks! If you have a specific need, I'd love to pray with you. Leave a comment or send me an email to MichelleShocklee@MichelleShocklee.com.