Enslavement to anything other than Christ is bondage.
Holidays can provide an opportunity to witness the socially polished enslavement of people to subtle undesirable habits. The domination and control of others, denial of the needs or feelings of others, denial of problems obvious to others, use of guilt to manipulate others, refusal to self-examine, and so many more.
By observing and being subject to these habits for years, I have asked God repeatedly to steer me in a better direction or kill me. Seriously. God and I have an understood agreement that I would rather die than repeat these habits in my immediate family. The confusion and emotional turmoil they create is evil.
Over many years God has been faithful to heal me and lead me in new paths (Psalm 23:3). He has taught me to recognize the tendencies within myself, face and deal with emotional wounding, guard myself from repeating the habits and practice the new habits of the new creature since that is who I am (2 Corinthians 5:17). New habits include living as I am in Christ because of what He has done for me, remembering how my behavior is influenced by my past and implementing and maintain boundaries with myself and others. The boundaries give the soul structure and room in which to learn to live in freedom and rest.
Hard work and much pain I have endured to recognize and steer clear of such bondage (1 Peter 4:1). My growth has even led me to resign from a position I had taken in a Christian periodontal office. Unfortunately, those in charge had no management training, minimal people skills and were in no way open to making any healthy changes in spite of their dysfunctional office and association with Christ. The lack of professionalism and communication, failure to deal with recurring problems, denial of the needs of the employees, and refusal to correct a computer problem that charged patients for procedures they had not received (!) was simply over the top for me. (Last time I checked that was called fraud.) Because they refused to remedy these issues, I left the toxic tornado to spin without me.
When we are attached to habits that do not originate from Christ, we are tightly bound with ropes and chains that block the work of the Holy Spirit.
This disturbing photo provides a real life scenario resembling the extent to which we unknowingly live in bondage and the extent to which we need Christ for healing. The habits and coping mechanisms we entertain are so familiar to us that we cannot separate ourselves from them. We see them as part of us and they see themselves as part of us.
What a relief to know that we do not have to submit to such behavior in families or in the workplace. Bondage is bondage. Living in this world we will encounter the enemy at work in systems everywhere. When we do we must learn to stand firmly in Christ, speak the truth in love and then act on it with resolve. And let’s not be surprised when those in chains point and condemn us for doing so. We must learn to live comfortably in the fact that every person (ourselves included) has the right and freedom to make his choices, experience his feelings and face his consequences.
Let’s go to the mirror (James 1:23-24) and speak the truth (whatever it may be) in love to ourselves…without condemnation, only a desire to step toward freedom.
“I am in bondage to controlling others. God help me!”
“I am in bondage as an emotional slave to others. God help me!”
“I am in bondage to living in chaos. God help me!”
Whatever our issues, God is waiting and wanting to help us get free. But we must have eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart to receive. The Holy Spirit provides these necessary tools.
If we have trouble recognizing the bondage, we can ask God to reveal it to us through the eyes of the Holy Spirit. Only then can He help us.
When we see as He sees, we can agree (Amos 3:3) and work in unison with Him to facilitate healing the wounds that feed the sin cycle.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The Lord has made both of them.
2 Peter 2:19
They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.
Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice
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.
2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
1 Peter 4:1
For as much then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin;
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.