Jeff Long: Freedom is possible
While listening to the radio one day I heard someone say, “God doesn’t let you go, but rather he sets you free.” This brought to mind an episode of the Andy Griffith Show where Opie shot and killed a mother bird with his slingshot. Remember? In remorse, Opie raised the 3 little birds that were left alone in the nest until they had grown enough to survive on their own. When Opie released them he said to Andy, his father, ‘The cage sure does look empty now.” Andy responded, “Yea, but aren’t the trees nice and full?” You see, Opie didn’t let the birds go, he set them free where he and everyone else could enjoy them.
We can all take a lesson from this. When we turn from our earthly desires or the ‘cage’ that confines us, and we direct our needs to God, we too can be set free. Freedom is defined in Webster’s as, “Liberation from control of other and/or other substances.” In order for God to take control we must first experience this freedom; so in all senses, God sets us free. This is described by the Prophet Paul in Romans 8:2, “For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
In the book of Jeremiah, the Prophet is transcribing God’s words to backslidden Israel and Judah. Jer. 5:27 says, “As a cage is full of birds, so are their (those in Judah) houses full of deceit:…” Just as a cage confines birds; our houses (bodies) can hold sin.
Those birds in Andy Griffith were held captive in a cage for their own good. A time was reached when captivity became an unhealthy environment. Similarly, we are held captive by our own desires, and eventually put us in the same unhealthy (suffering) environment. Opie released the birds back to the wild where they belong for all to enjoy. If we aren’t released as Opie released the birds or if we don’t release ourselves, consequences most likely will follow.
Our suffering usually comes from the discipline of God. Early accounts of this were discussed by Moses in Duet. 8:5, “Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chastenth thee.” If we corrected our wrong doings as our earthly fathers ask, we usually weren’t punished because we had in a sense released ourselves from our desires to that of our earthly fathers. Therefore, when we release ourselves from our earthly (sinful) desires, we are releasing ourselves to God, back to where we belong. So then God is not only still with us, but in deeper fellowship than before; thus “God didn’t let us go, but rather He set us free.”
So admit to God that you are caged in by your sins and you need him to open the door. Then believe in Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection and receive the Holy Spirit to guide you. Follow the words of God (The Holy Bible) and you too can be set free. God bless all!
Jeff Long lives in Salisbury.