When I was in East Asia sound asleep one night the fire alarm started blaring in the hotel I was staying in. It was no question what I should do next. I threw my coat on and in a haze of confusion and still half-asleep I stumbled out of the hotel towards safety. There was no time for thinking through the issue. The only thing I could do was act and if there was a actually fire in the hotel, I needed to move very quickly to get myself to safety. Thankfully, there was no fire, some old guy, doing his morning tai-chi must have set off the alarm by accident, but I didn’t know that and I wasn’t going to take any chances.
Some things in the bible happen very quickly. One of those things happens to be deliverance. God delivers Israel from slavery in Egypt almost overnight, God gives deliverance to His people through the death and resurrection of Jesus, all which happened very quickly once Jesus was arrested. Then, a day will soon come when God will bring ultimate deliverance for His people when Christ returns. The bible says that Christ will be like a thief in the night. We do not know the day or the hour, we are simply called to be ready.
I can’t help but think that maybe some of us have missed God’s deliverance, because we weren’t ready or willing. Jesus says, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”(Luke 9:52). Could it be that maybe God is speedily pulling us out of captivity, but we want to stay angry. We cannot forgive those who have hurt us, so we stay stuck in captivity, when all God wants to do is pull us out?
We keep looking back. We do not focus on what is ahead, so we keep our eyes on what was. God has work for us to do for His kingdom, but we cannot fully know that work until we follow God out of captivity and into His freedom. Many of us stay stuck in fear, anger, un-forgiveness, pride and rebellion for years, not because there is no deliverance for us, truth be told, God is always ready to deliver if we are willing to run with Him out of captivity. The problem is not God’s willingness to deliver. The problem is our unwillingness to let go and follow. We cannot seem to let go of things like; control, hurt, anger, betrayal, fear, past mistakes or something or someone that has hurt us deeply.
Now, this doesn’t mean that we’ll be healed in an instant from something in our lives that might be causing us strife, but it does mean that we no longer allow ourselves to be held captive by thoughts and actions that only throw us into a pit of despair and unbelief. It may be that God chooses not to heal us of some infirmity or release us from some hardship in our lives, but you see, I don’t think the point of deliverance is from the thing that is causing us difficulty. I think our deliverance comes from our negative responses to that difficulty where we grow angry, bitter and resentful. The deliverance is found in letting go, embracing our struggle and believing in God’s goodness through it.
God, no matter what comes about in my life, I long to sing your praises. It is not a thing, circumstance or a person I need deliverance from. It is my own self-righteous, sinful, unbelieving attitude that I need deliverance from. Lord, create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast Spirit in me. Show me where I have kept myself in captivity through thoughts I have embraced as truth that are a smoke screen of pure deception from the pit of hell. Lord, I want your joy in my heart. Today, I choose to walk in the freedom that only Christ can bring. Today, I choose to run with you towards my freedom and deliverance in Jesus name, amen!