For God the Father has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14
In Chuck Swindoll's book, The Finishing Touch, there's a story told about how hard it is to live in deliverance and freedom when you've been in bondage for a long time.
The scene is a marketplace in northern India where people brought their wares to trade and sell. One old farmer brought in a whole covey of quail he had caught. He hoped to get the attention of passersby by tying strings to a ring fastened to a stick in the ground, which was then tied around the leg of each bird. With all that secure, the birds just walked in a circle, minute by minute, hour after hour.
Sadly, his PR ploy didn't attract much attention. It seemed nobody wanted these birds at all. But then along came a devout Hindu man, who believed in the idea of respect for all life, and his heart literally went out for these birds that were confined and were now merely walking in a monotonous circle when they were meant to fly.
He told the farmer, "I want to buy them all." So he did, and right after that he said to the farmer, "Set them all free. You heard me. Cut the strings from their legs and turn them loose. Set them free."
But a strange thing happened. Cut loose, you'd have thought those birds would have joyfully flown away, but they didn't. They simply continued to march around and around in a circle.
A little frustrated, the Hindu man shooed them off, but they only landed some distance away and they resumed their predictable march.
Freed from their bonds they just kept going round and round in circles as if they were still tied to the stake!
I sometimes think that in life, we Christians are a bit like these birds. When the Bible says we have been set free -- delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of the Father's beloved Son -- we seem to keep walking in the circles of our own wisdom and strength. In the sermon yesterday, I talked about the rescue of those Chilean miners in 2010. What an incredible story! But the rest of the story is that after that magnificent rescue many of the miners went back to very destructive patterns in their lives, which prevented them from making the most of this miraculous deliverance.
So here's a thought for today: you have been delivered from sin, death and the devil himself. Your eternal deliverance is sure in Jesus Christ. The strings have been cut; the strings that have kept you bound to your guilt, your sin, your fears -- they're gone. You have a Savior who wants you not just to be free, but free to follow Him in all things. Take a moment today and think about what it means to live in forgiveness, to live in grace, to live in mercy, and act towards others the way Jesus has acted on your behalf. That's a way of life that doesn't walk in circles but walks in purpose towards an eternal destiny that Christ assures for all who trust in Him. That's pretty amazing stuff.
Wouldn't you agree?
Take a chance today. Quit walking in circles and follow the Lord, who has given you wings to fly!
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, because of Your life and Your death and resurrection, You have given me real freedom, real deliverance, wings to fly. Help me soar in obedience to You as I trust in You each and every day. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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