Thursday, February 21, 2013

No Chains Please!

Acts 26:29
Paul replied, “short time or long—I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

This Joy that I have, the world didn’t give it and the world can’t take it away. The peace and Joy that come from Following Jesus is one of the greatest feelings on earth. Once you experience the transformation of the Holy Spirit, it’s something you want everyone to have. The conflicting consequence is that coupled with that experience is the cost of commitment.

There is a cost to be a Follower of Jesus. Because Jesus teachings often go against cultural norms, there is a chance of persecution, isolation, and even chains. You feel great on the inside while experiencing persecution on the outside, whereas, if you don’t have Jesus all could appear well on the outside while you are in bondage on the inside. The good news is that he or she whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

Paul had been arrested and put in chains for preaching Jesus. He stood before King Agrippa telling his story of how Jesus had met him on the road to Damascus. Paul had met the risen Savior live and in person! Paul asked King Aprippa if he believed and the King asked him, “Do you think you can persuade me in such a short time to become a Christian?!” Paul said, “I wish you and everybody listening could become what I am minus the chains.”

It’s amazing that many young rappers want to get some chains as the first sign of success but Paul says, “I want you to have everything but the chains.” If anybody should know the weight of chains it’s African-Americans who have survived the legacy of slavery only to be introduced to a new slavery via the prison system. We have glorified chains without looking at the painful symbolism behind those chains. Paul says I want you to have everything that comes with knowing Jesus but these chains. What Paul was saying in essence was:
  1. I want you to have a relationship with Jesus without being persecuted by religious people. I think more people would come to Christ if they didn’t have the weight of mean religious people to contend with.
  2. I want you to believe in Jesus without being beat up for what you believe. More people would come to Jesus if we didn’t use God’s word as a club to beat people who don’t believe what we believe.
  3. I want you to experience Salvation without having to serve a sentence in Prison. It’s unfortunate that some people can’t surrender to Jesus unless they are in jail or prison.
  4. I want you to experience the freedom in Christ without being weighed down by opposition.
Paul knew his chains were a consequence of what he had done in persecuting other Christians before he became one. He put them in jail, beat them, and even condoned killing them. Paul knew his chains were not a litmus test for Christianity. We all must bear a cross but we all don’t have to be chained. Live your life unchained but connected to Jesus.

Dear God,

Thank you for sending Jesus to set me free. I choose today to live my life unchained, and to freely share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

In His name,

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