Have you ever been handcuffed? Well, maybe not by law enforcement officers–but if you’re honest, you have been by life. Handcuffs are meant to subdue a subject to make it safer for the one who put on those cuffs. This is the image and thought that the Holy Spirit sent to invade my thoughts this morning.
There are forces other than law enforcement that want to handcuff us–and for the same reason. Those forces want to subdue us. Call them Deputies Of Fear, The Guilt Police, or a thousand other names (remember that demon name Legion from the Bible?), their intent is all the same. Handcuffed, we fail to experience the life God designed for us, and that Jesus paid for us on the Cross. And like those literal handcuffs, the more we struggle against them, the tighter they grip and hold us.
There are other sources that want to handcuff us. The news media–my, oh, my–they want to handcuff us to their views. The beast called cultural norms, which is about as abnormal as it comes, want to handcuff us to its values. And dear Lord help us, there are the handcuffs called political parties–they want to take us hostage and make us experience the Stockholm Syndrome. This list goes on ad nauseam. My point is whoever or whatever put those cuffs on us had made us their prisoner.
What are we to do, what CAN we do when we find outselves handcuffed? Unless we’re the reincarnation of Harry Houdini, we’re locked into those cuffs. What we need is someone with the key that will unlock them. Would you believe there’s a true story about this? In the Bible??? In Acts chapter 16, two guys, Paul and Silas, were more than handcuffed–they were bound by chains. Neither of them was a Houdini, so it seemed hopeless to the outsider. But they weren’t hopeless on the inside.
Around midnight Paul and Silas began a prayer and praise service. And do you know what happened next? Not only did their cuffs fall off, but their prison door flew open. How did that happen? Easy! They continued to operate and live as if those cuffs didn’t affect who they were and what they were doing. They didn’t pray and praise in order to get rid of their cuffs. They prayed and praised because that’s who they were! And you, too, can do the same. Maybe your cuffs won’t fall off and the prison door swing open–but you will find Jesus right there with you. And His Presence opens the doors to more opportunities than you can imagine. I leave you this morning with this song: