FREE INDEED – An Allegory
I remember my prison cell: four small walls – it was a simple box I was existing in. I would decorate, try to make it seem like it wasn’t so bad. But the company was almost unbearable.
I was imprisoned with…my selfish thoughts, my worries, my bias’s, my insecurities, my guilt, my criticisms, my questions, my doubt, my unbelief. Often they would gang up on me and give me a good beating. To say the least, I was barely existing.
Although it had seemed I was making a life for myself, there in that tiny space, I knew in my heart there had to be more to life than just this prison cell. I just didn’t know what I was missing since I couldn’t see outside my four walls.
When people would pass by, I had always been pretty good at looking fine. “It’s not so bad in here,” I would say to them. “I mean, who doesn’t have troubles now and then. I like my cell. I feel independent. It’s my world and I’m the one in charge.”
But the truth was, I was facing life without parole and then death by execution.
That was my life before something extraordinary happened. Someone came to the jail one day and purchased my pardon. He set me free.
He set me free!
I have to admit, I was afraid to step out of the cell. It’s all I’d ever known. Who’s to say I’ll find anything better on the outside? He beckoned me to come. So, I had to make the choice. Would I go or would I stay in my familiar pitiful existence?
I CHOSE to step outside my cell!
Immediately, I saw rolling meadows of peace and resolve. I felt a huge burden lifted from my shoulders and I was able to run in the wide-open spaces. I somehow knew inside that THIS was what I was created for.
He gave this gift to me. He showed a love that I still can’t understand. I was ashamed of my long rap sheet of disappointments and failures. I thought of hiding it from Him, for fear He’d change His mind. But He already knew and told me it was me He came for, exactly as I was.
I had nothing to offer Him in return except my willingness to go with Him and still He helped me escape! But He’s not finished! Peace, joy, hope, wisdom, power, righteousness – He wants to give me all of this everyday of my freedom! Wow! He wants to put these gifts into my life to replace those prison companions. He said HE would do it!
Realizing He offered all of this, I took Him up on it – receiving from Him all He promised and the boundless joy of God.
Now that I have begun to experience this joy, certainly I would never return to my chains! Right?
Honestly, that’s what’s so shocking! Sometimes, fears and doubts creep in and I choose to doubt His love – after all HE’s done, I choose to doubt Him! I think back to the familiar life of my cell. Sure, it was a pathetic existence, but it was secure. That’s when I begin to feel the chains again!
Although I’ve found myself in this place more times that I desire, He remains patient and gently reminds me – Wherever the joy of God is not present, (Wherever you are not giving Me access to your life to break the chains that hold you captive) the death sentence is still at work. I realize now, that, even in my freedom, I have to choose to walk away from the chains that bound me.
I have to tell you…Pardon can only come one way. Christ’s death is the pardon. If I say to myself that I do not want to come by His way – admitting I am in trouble -deserving of the cell and the sentence, then I have chosen my chains.
Back when I lived in my cell, my cellmates talked about this Person who could pardon. They’d say He was cold and uncaring, making them admit that they needed His help and, without Him, they were doomed. Instead, they chose to convince themselves that their cells and their independence were all they needed.
They were right about part of it. He DOES command that we come by one way alone. But, amazingly, this way is a boundless entrance into freedom – full pardon and forgiveness.
HE is freedom.
If I could ever go back and tell them the truth, I’d say God doesn’t go about pretending we are all right when we are all wrong. Instead, He goes about making a way for us to become ALL RIGHT…and SET US FREE!
So, my life has been about making choices – beginning with the one I made, when I left my cell that day. Now, I daily choose to cast off the shackles and weights from my past – as the Bible calls them…”sins that so easily beset us.”
For those of you still in the cell, life out here is more than I ever hoped for – greater than I can describe to you. All I know is that I’m free.
I am free!
Today is a day meant for freedom. If you aren’t living in it, you can!
Originally posted December 2011.