“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and the blind will see.” — Isaiah 61:1
Fredrick Douglass grew up as a slave in Maryland in the early nineteenth century. He suffered all the worst of a life of slavery. He was separated from his mother when he was an infant. For years he worked in the hot fields from before sunup until after sundown. He was kicked and beaten by his master and whipped many times with a cowhide whip until blood rand down his back. A few times he almost died.
Despite the harshness of life as a slave, Fredrick Douglass had second thoughts about escaping to freedom. He struggled with the decision because he had grown to love so many people who had become a part of his life.
He wrote in Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, An American Slave: “I had a number of warm-hearted friends in Baltimore–friends that I loved almost as I did my life–and the thought of being separated from them forever was painful beyond expression. It is my opinion that thousands would escape from slavery, who now remain, but for the strong cords of affection that bind them to their friends.”
It is difficult when life makes you choose between freedom and the people you are attached to. The tugs on the heart are strong, but it’s a decision that must be made. It is a decision that will determine the state of your heart and life for years to come.
Consider Mr. Douglass’s joy when he chose freedom: “I have been frequently asked how I felt when I found myself in a free State…It was a moment of the highest excitement I ever experienced.”
There is no more joyous moment than when we first discover true freedom–the freedom that comes through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When we see ourselves in our sin–without hope and without God–and we cry out in repentance for His forgiveness and cleansing–the weight and burden of our guilt falls away like a broken chain. We are free! We are free!
Once we experience the freedom that only Jesus can bring, we never want to return to the bondage of our old ways. The new creation we become is ill-suited to the chains of our old life.
Are you still living in the bondage of the old life? Are the affections of this life giving you pause in the complete and total surrender of your life to the Lord Jesus Christ? You do have a choice. He came to set the captives free! You can be free today. By His blood and through His grace you can live free!