plastic shackles

shiny toy guns can, and have, passed as the real thing.
pretend handcuffs have bound unsuspecting younger siblings for decades.
plastic shackles have graced the ankles of the neighbor kids more times than parents care to know.

i've fallen prey to pretend methods of bondage often enough.  as a kid, yes. but, i regret to admit, more recently as well... as in, today.   just today i fell prey once again to the LIE that i'm not good enough.  just today i believed the LIE that i can't. just today i agreed with the LIE that it's probably not worth the effort.  just today i gave in to the LIE that it's too much, too hard, too heavy.

i know that if i am struggling with these kinds of lies then you might be too.  here's what helps me break free.

first, the truth. Jesus says in John 8:32 'that if you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. then you will know the TRUTH and the TRUTH will set you free'.  Jesus refers to himself as the TRUTH in John 14 when he says to Thomas 'I am the way, the TRUTH and the life'. so, by reading and knowing scripture we become far better acquainted with Jesus and learn the truth.  we are taught how to recognize it, telling the difference between lies/false-truths and the actual TRUTH of who God is and what He says is true about us.

next, the lies. the Bible says that Satan is the father of lies. '...he was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. when he lies, he speaks his native language for he is a liar and the father of lies.' John 8:44 he will always and only distort truth.  yet that distortion is typically very convincing.  i know i believe and agree with it more than i should.... but that's because there are hints of truth in it.  it's easy to respond, "... i know, i know.... you're right".  the enemy doesn't make a habit of telling us bold-faced, flat-out lies as often as he does the partially true, almost believable ones.  and it seems that there is just enough false-almost-truth to get us to join in.  and once we grab on, we tend to sink fast.

being aware of the lies and knowing the truth are the keys to the plastic shackles.  the actual mind-bending plot twist is that the shackles are, in fact, plastic... they can't keep you bound.  believing that God's gift of freedom, through Jesus death on the cross, is REAL and actually TRUE is the way we become free. the realization that we have the victory through Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:56-57),  that greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4)...

so next time you or i feel bound or defeated, let's make a pact to dig into scripture and find the truth.  even if that moment is dominated by emotion, and our eyes are filled with tears and our hearts are heavy and our minds are darkened and all we can do is call HIS name.... JESUS.  that name IS truth.  let's take up our shield of faith and with it expertly extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16)... tears and all.  whether we feel like it or not.

lets break those plastic shackles into pieces.  render them powerless.  walk away free.