Prison: Dark, lonely, confined, chained, isolation, punishment, apart from society.
How would you define it?
It’s a place most don’t want to go. It’s also more than a place – it’s a state of being. It describes a life apart from God- the condition of our souls as we are born into this world – dark from the sin that separates us from God, and chained to a mindset and lifestyle that leads us further from God. Only the light of Jesus in our lives can set us free from this prison. The key is within our grasp- we only need to ask Him to free us. God restored humanity’s relationship with Him by sending His one and only Son into the world to take on the punishment of our sin. Yes, Jesus took our place in prison, even death, so that we wouldn’t have to die for our sins. He hands us the key freely, if only we’ll accept it.
Yet, something holds us back from accepting the key. We don’t see the key, or we don’t realize that God has given the power to walk out of the prison of sin by believing in Him and His son Jesus. What is this thing that tries to hold us back and how can we get rid of it?
For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. (Ephesians 6:12)
There is a real enemy lurking to keep us imprisoned in the sin nature- Satan. Satan used to follow God and fell away to serve himself, and he wants to take as many people with him to hell as possible by thwarting people’s advances toward God. Satan fears anyone breaking free because He knows God’s power and how others will break free too if we do.
Though our enemy has come to steal, kill, and destroy, God wants us to live to the fullest.” (John 10:10)
Some of the enemy’s tactics include doubt, disbelief, busyness, discouragement, isolation, power, lust, deception, depression, confusion, hurt, and more. He can make us think we are getting what we think we want, only to lure us into the trap of a life apart from God (prison of sin). He’ll stop at nothing to deceive us, even using loved ones and well-intentioned folks to plant seeds of doubt and fear. The Bible is full of stories about this, including one in the beginning with Eve and the deceptive serpent. The serpent was Satan getting her to focus on the one forbidden area instead of realizing all that God provided her. Because of that one deception, we now have to deal with sin. However, through Christ, we can now have a relationship with God.
So, how do we protect ourselves from the tactics of the enemy? Put on the full armor of God! (Ephesians 6:10-18)
As you read the types of armor, picture yourself putting on armor, and seek to understand what each piece represents. Then, when you are faced with an enemy attack on your soul, you will be able to withstand the flaming arrows of the evil one.
- Helmet of Salvation. First, we must decide to trust God with our lives and love Him with all our heart, soul, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5). God’s word says that if we confess with our mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
- Breastplate of Righteousness. Righteousness means that because of God, our lives are blameless and just – God becomes our righteousness through Christ. “He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) When we are in Christ, the old has gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). It doesn’t mean we don’t make mistakes- it means that when we do, we turn back toward God and keep pressing forward. Breastplates guard our heart, which is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23). God warns us to guard our hearts above all else, and rewards us with peace when we do (Philippians 4:6-7).
- Belt of Truth. Surround yourself with God’s truth more than the world’s messages. When we study God’s word (the Holy Bible) and know the truth for ourselves, we can better tell when thoughts are not from God. For any thoughts not from God, we can ask God to help us ignore them. “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free (John 8:36)
- Sword of the Spirit. Read it, study it, memorize. This is our manual for life. When we know the word for ourselves, we are less likely to be caught off guard with the enemy’s twisted truths. Pierce untruths with God’s word that is “sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) “…so My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do.” (Isaiah 55:11).
- Shield of Faith. Shields are for protection, and they are also an offensive weapon for pressing forward amidst the enemy attacks. When we come together as Christians in faith, we are a stronger unit to combat the enemy’s tactics and to achieve what God has called us to do.
- Feet prepared for the gospel of peace. We must not stand still and allow the enemy to keep us imprisoned. When God sets us free, we can walk in peace and share His love with others. It’s a call to go and share.
So, get to know God if you don’t already, and be set free from the prison of sin. The, put on the full armor of God so you can withstand all the attacks of the evil one!