Freedom: You Have Been Set Free

Jackson GarrellCircles

What’s your go-to road trip snack? 
Mine isn’t really a snack. It’s a beverage. For the entirety of any road trip, I need to have a piping hot cup of coffee in my hand. If the coffee gets cold, then we pull over to get more. If the cup runs out, then we pull over to get more. It helps to keep me focused but also drives my travel companions crazy due to the frequency of restroom stops. Apparently, there is a correlation between my coffee habit and restroom recurrence. 

It doesn’t matter what snack you take on the open highway; a road trip with friends is fun. Last summer, I was riding down Interstate 85 with a few friends in route to Atlanta for a conference. The trip kicked off wonderfully. The weather was gorgeous. Everyone was in a good mood. Someone brought homemade cookies. The shotgun DJ wasn’t playing country. We couldn’t have dreamed of better vibes for our seven hour drive. Just south of Charolette, the mood in the minivan came to a screeching halt— literally. We slammed on the breaks in the middle of the interstate. “This is just a normal traffic jam,” I assured the group. “We will be moving in no time.” 

15 minutes passed, and we had not budged. A half hour passed, and we remained unmoved. Finally after 60 minutes in park, we decided to check Google to see what was causing the mess. At the top of the news section, we read, “I-85 is shutdown due to pileup.” This was a staggering situation since we were no where near an exit. Thus, we just had to turn off the van and put it in park. As the southern sun baked the black asphalt, our vehicle became an oven, and the passengers felt like prisoners. We were trapped in the middle of a stressful situation. Two hours had passed with absolutely no progress. After one 120 minutes in the traffic jam, my mood went from anxious to agony, not because I was a prisoner but because I had drank too many cups of coffee. Thus, I needed to visit a restroom. 

I did what anyone else would do in a life-or-death situation: I panicked. The walls of the van began closing in on me. I could hear the hiss of blood rushing through my head. I began apologizing to God for taking convenient bathrooms for granted. I tried everything to take my mind off my desperate situation, but nothing was working. To break the unbearable silence, the driver belted out, “Does anyone have to use the restroom?” I snapped, “I do!” He continued, “How bad is it? Rank it on a scale from 1-10?” I gulped and then replied, “It’s about to be a one.” 

Despite my misery, a miracle manifested that day on the highway. Just as I thought I wasn’t going to make it, traffic started moving again. Within mere moments, we pulled into a crowded gas station. I ran inside, used the facilities, and purchased a fresh 40-ounce cup of coffee for the rest of the trip.

Have you ever felt trapped? Whether we’ve been trapped in traffic, waited in a line long, or been stuck in limbo while waiting for a reply, we have all been there. It’s tough to feel stuck. It’s tragic to feel trapped. Sometimes we get stuck for so long that we just become prisoners. A constant string of disappointments have morphed into an identity of sorts. It’s scary how our brain cells can become jail cells. Your thoughts can imprison you. 

Relationships can become a prison. You may know that you need to get out, but you just feel stuck in the cycle. Addiction can feel like a prison. You want to stop returning to that habit, but you feel trapped by the temptation. Pornography can become a prison. You may start to feel like your mind is always chained to that habit, thinking about returning again and again. Painful memories can become a prison. This is where your mind replays stressful scenes over and over again. You may start to feel stuck as your mind replays your pain throughout the night. 

READ: Luke 4:18 
“The Father has sent me to announce freedom for prisoners.”

God does not want you to live a life of captivity. He wants you to live a life of liberty. Jesus didn’t just come to Earth to preach. He came to emancipate people who are in prison. That may be you. I don’t know what thoughts or circumstances have you feeling trapped, but here is a practical process to help you break out of prison: 

Step One: Pinpoint your prison. 
Take an honest look at your life. Take inventory of your behaviors, thought patterns, or cycles that have you feeling trapped. It’s impossible to escape if you don’t know you’re stuck. Take some intentional time to reflect on your circumstances to help you create your escape plan. Whether you are trapped in a toxic relationship, dangerous thought patterns, or an addiction, your first step is to pinpoint where you’re imprisoned. 

Step Two: Identify the lie. 
Jesus has already done the work to set you free. Thus, any place where you feel trapped is just that: a feeling. It’s a trick from the devil trying to hold you back. You need to honestly ask yourself, “What lie is enslaving me?” Maybe you believe that you can’t overcome your struggle. Maybe you think that the cycle is unbreakable. Perhaps you believe that you aren’t good enough. Maybe you even feel like God doesn’t love you. Whatever lie, you need to identify it so that you can deny it. 

Step Three: Proclaim God’s promises as the keys out of prison. 
We deny the lie and then proclaim the promise. There are hundreds of prison-breaking passages within Scripture. Each of these is a promise from God. These promises have the power to break us out of prison. Though they may just be words on a page, they are still a promise from a sovereign God. These verses are physical expressions of a spiritual experience— freedom in Christ. 

Next time you feel enslaved to a lie, here are some keys to get you out of prison: 

God Is With You || Joshua 1:9
God Cares For You || 1 Peter 5:7
God Will Provide for You || James 4:2 
God Will Be Near You || James 4:8
God Will Always Forgive You || 1 John 1:9 
God Will Comfort You || 1 Cor 7:6 

You Are Loved by God || John 3:16
You Are Forgiven || Col 1:14
You Are Accepted || Rom 8:16
You Are Delivered from the Powers of Darkness || Col 1:13
You Have Purpose 2 Timothy 1:9
You Are Created in God’s Image || Rom 8:29
You Can Be Healed || 1 Peter 2:24
You Are Free from Fear || John 4:18
You Are Free || Rom 8:32
You Are Blessed || Eph 1:3

Go through these questions with your circle. Be honest. Be open. Talk through the tough stuff.
Q1: What’s your favorite road trip snack?
Q2: How can we become trapped in our own minds? What can set us free?
Q3: Why is it so important to God that we experience truth and freedom? 
Q4: Which of the truthful “keys” from the list above resonated with you? Why?
Q5: What’s one way you can remind yourself of this important truth every day this week?