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What Still Holds You Captive?

A Commentary by Constance Vanides

Parades, family picnics, barbeques during the day, and colorful fireworks lighting up a darkened sky, Americans yearly celebrate "Independence Day", commonly known as "The 4th of July".

I learned as a child to memorize the "Declaration of Independence" and how important it was that our country separate itself from the oppressive control of the "mother country."

"It (Independence Day) ought to be commemorated... ," wrote John Adams, our second president, in a letter to his wife, Abigail, "... as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty."

We try to hold fast to our freedoms today. But are we really "free"? The prophet Isaiah predicted the coming of the One who would truly set us free.

    "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound..." (Isaiah 61:1)

Jesus had made it perfectly clear when He went into the synagogue and read that same scripture from the scroll of Isaiah, that He was the One who fulfilled the prophecy that very day. (Luke 4:18,19)

    "I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house." (Isaiah 42:6,7)

Where is this prison we continue to occupy, the one that holds us in confinement from which we need to be set free?

Our own bondage need not be with yokes and chains. It may be just as simple as allowing our thoughts to rule us. The enemy of our soul works in our mind, creating lies, placing doubts and unfounded blame, forging unforgiveness into our hearts and pressing us deeper into captivity led by the wiley one.

    "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith... " (1 Peter 5:8,9)

    "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." (2 Corinthians 3:17)

"And how is this done?" you may ask. Deliberately, by an act of your will, turn away from the evil that disturbs you. Turn to the Lord. Talk to Him. Ask Him to fill you with His promised Holy Spirit. Declare your own independence from fear and oppression! Hold onto Jesus who died to set us free!

Then you can shout out your own hallelujahs! Praise the Lord and set off rockets! Light up your "sparklers" and barbeque fires! Have yourself a burger! You are free!

© Constance Vanides

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