...and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2 Cor. 3 :17
As the story goes, there is a tried and true method for training that largest of land mammals, the elephant, to never stray, to stay bound to the trainer and the camp in which it resides. When the elephant is very young, it is leashed with a very heavy chain around the ankle to a stake. Because of the baby elephant's small size in comparison to the strength of the heavy chain, the baby elephant over time learns that it is futile to try to break away from its fetter. As the elephant grows, the trainer replaces the heavy chain with smaller and weaker chains. The deeply seated stake is replaced with more shallow pegs. And ultimately, a full grown elephant will be tethered to a delicate chain attached to a small picket, never straying, never wandering. It easily has the physical strength to simply meander off, snapping the weak links of its confinements. But it doesn't. The elephant has become so convinced of its captivity because of the early confinement of the heavy chain it wore as a baby that it never breaks free.
We throw around the loaded phrase in our spiritual walk, our 'freedom in Christ'. It attracts us, this notion that we can throw off the burdens and cares of this world and run with Him unfettered and unafraid.
But so many of us are in reality trepidacious pachyderms. We wear a shackle on the limbs of our heart. We only tread within the confines of our experience. And if we tend toward the outer borders of what we know, the chime of dragging chain lurches us back to awareness of our boundaries.
The links of that chain are made weak in Christ. It is our strength of belief in the old confinement and our lack of belief in His freedom that keeps us tied. The link of "what will so-and-so think?". The link of "but we've always done it this way." The link of "it makes me feel uncomfortable." The link of "past hurt, past failure, past embarrassment." The link of "pride." The link of "caring more about what the family will say over what the Lord is asking." The link of "tradition."
Links strung together, creating a weak chain that stoutly binds us to a static, stagnant, limited enclosure.
He came to give us so much more.
And He has freed the captives.
But there is a little something required of us, something that can be daunting. Something that requires putting aside past association. Something that requires a singular action.
That action is this:
A step of faith.
A simple swing of a formerly shackled leg, a stride toward the outer edge of the familiar. A step of faith.
Because in that one action, in that movement toward belief in His gift, the chains of confinement and limits and fear are snapped. The links are rendered useless. And with that step, the clattering confines of our impotent chains recede into a tiny echo behind us as we cross the boundary of limited understanding into the vastness of His heart.
We are free, my precious friends. Sin's hold has no power over us now. Move. Step. Feel those chains fall.
Straight into His arms.