Sunday, May 29, 2011

In This Day Of Worship Allow Jesus To Set You Free From Your Prison

The best friend you will ever have is Jesus and until we reach that understanding we will continue to struggle in our relationship with him. We have this image in our mind that we have to be china-doll perfect before we can be ushered into God's presence or have fellowship with the Son of God. We consider all our faults, failures, defeats and sin as preventing this relationship with Jesus, and they did before the cross. We need to remember:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

It is not the fact that we often fail God that is the problem, it is the unconfessed stuff that winds up getting us in trouble. That is when we refuse to be honest with Jesus and fail to tell him about our failures, defeats and sin. What we try to keep to ourself we will be accountable for on the day we physically stand before him. The things we decide to be honest about will be forgiven and forgotten as if they had never happened. This is the kind of relationship we have with God, where he is willing to have an open and honest relationship with us so he can strengthen us against our weaknesses. He wants us to come in when we are covered in filth and ugliness so he can help clean us up but he can't do this if we aren't talking with him. The psalmist of Psalm 142 had an understanding of this relationship:

I cry aloud to the LORD; 
   I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy. 
I pour out my complaint before him; 
   before him I tell my trouble. (Psalm 142:1-2)

Doesn't this sound like something you would do with a father or a big brother. We go to him with our complaints and our trouble because we need someone who will listen. But more than that, we need someone who will listen who also has the ability to help us out. Sometimes these things can get us down to the point where we start losing our way.

Let's face it, there are some things that we just want to hide from. We would rather pull the mountains down on top of us and stay out of sight until it passes. There are some things that paralyse us and we really don't know the next step to take, but if we have cultivated this relationship with Jesus properly we would agree with the psalmist:

When my spirit grows faint within me, 
   it is you who know my way. (Psalm 142:3)

You see, God has to be more than someone you worship on Sunday; he has to become the best friend you have ever had. Jesus is more than someone who died on the cross; he is your big brother, your protector, your strength, your source of wisdom and power. He is also your constant companion through the Holy Spirit in you. The psalmist did not even have the Holy Spirit and yet he understood the importance of this relationship:

I cry to you, O LORD; 
   I say, “You are my refuge, 
   my portion in the land of the living.” (Psalm 142:5)

I have no clue what you are facing today or how you are feeling because I don't know you and you don't know me. To you I am only a bunch of words on your computer screen and you are nothing more to me than a number in the "read" column. But there is one who knows you intimately and he invites you to know him intimately. He wants to set you free today from your prison of doubt, worry, fear, anxiety, hopelessness, depression and what ever other dark place you find yourself in. There is no sense going to worship a God you do not believe can set you free from your prison. However, don't stay home, instead change your thinking. Get your thoughts off your troubles and look to the promises of God. Trust him! Put the full weight of your trust in God this morning; pour out your complaints; tell him your troubles; declare him as your strength and your hope. Pray with the psalmist:

Set me free from my prison, 
   that I may praise your name. (Psalm 142:7)

It doesn't matter what the prison is; perhaps it is marriage problems, addiction to something, simply hopelessness or even loneliness. There are lots of different prisons but Jesus has the key to all of them. Make the decision that if Jesus has said it you believe it, throw yourself into his arms and be set free today:

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)

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