One link at a time
Imagine for a moment being chained. How do you think you would feel? Incapacitated? Crippled? Claustrophobic? I watched a close loved one be handcuffed and I immediately felt paralyzed and helpless. The power of empathy can be overwhelming. Entrapment can make those who are free feel weak and pitiful just as much as those who are bound.
This month, November, I am joining with others to pray for abused victims of sex trafficking. I wear a yellow scarf every day to remind me of the light of Christ that exposes darkness. I consider the dandelion, a fragile sprout that lasts one day, yet in that short time reproduces its seed hundredfold. I search out scriptures on spiritual warfare. I read articles about the global web of evil being spun and people’s constant efforts to thwart its operations. I have initiated and engaged a few in conversation. Overall I feel like I am making very little impact for this cause, but what it does produce in me is a new awareness of abuse both in my life and in my circle of influence.
I am a little more attentive. I am a little more aware of my own vulnerability. I recognize a little more the spiritual chains that have not been released, yes, unseen, but clearly present in actions and attitudes.
There is a story in Mark 5 of a man who was so chained spiritually he couldn’t even remain in physical chains. The power within him could not be bound. He lived in the mountains and tombs and cried and cut himself continually. He was so tormented he could not even be among people. It records he saw Jesus afar off and ran to worship him, but then questioned his business with him. When Jesus asked his name he answered “Legion, for we are many”. The spiritual demons within this man recognized Jesus, knew He was to be worshiped, instantly were subject to His authority, yet greatly feared Him. “…the devils also believe and tremble.” (Js :19)
Some prayers are answered only by prayer and fasting
“Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Mt 17:19–21 NASB)
“And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.” (Lk 2:36–38 NASB)
We think of fasting as abstinence, but in both of these passages maybe fasting means adding, not abstaining. Faith as a mustard seed will move mountains…but in this case, prayer and fasting.
Anna served in the temple until her age of 84. When she saw Jesus she spoke about the child to all whom were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” (Is 58:6–7 NIV)
This is what we can do through Christ and what He can do through us.
Jesus wants us to loose the chains. Not only the physical, but the spiritual. It is Christ who will lead us and help us, but we must be willing to obey what He says.
- What prevents us from opening our mouths?
- What keeps us hiding in our own insecurities?
- What makes us self inflict?
We have an enemy who wants us to believe we are weak and helpless, yet the very Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us. Christians cannot be possessed, yet can be imprisoned by the influence of control.
Look further into the story and read what happened.
When Jesus cast out the demons, the man was then rightly restored to his own mind. (Vs 15)
“…So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Rom 7:25 KJV)
When he wanted to stay with Jesus, Jesus told him to go and tell his friends what compassion had been shown him.
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Mt 28:20 KJV)
It is our task to declare what He has done wherever we go.
So, did I break chains this month? Perhaps a link or two in my own life. Or, perhaps my prayers went forth and did what I may never see. Human trafficking is control. It all begins so innocent. Cast a smile, comfort a lonely child, befriend someone. Abuse is manipulation by deceit clothed in kindness, all for selfish gain.
With just a few days left in November I am beginning to count the links that have been broken in my own life. When you pray for another’s freedom sometimes you are set free of a few of your own heavy loads that you didn’t realize you were carrying. Let’s be aware at the root levels. I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit’s leading me to participate in this. We break chains of abuse and start building lifelines of hope. and we continue to pray to know the difference.