Chains can be ugly. They can be loud and hold us back in obvious ways. Chains can be things like addictions, pornography, deceit, and others sins that keep us in bondage. We can see these chains holding others down, and can even see them in ourselves if we choose to look.
But chains can also be pretty. Chain can masquerade as jewelry and hide behind feelings of justification and comfort. Chains like fear and pride will lull us into a false sense of security until we have grown so used to the bondage that we’re not longer able to realize we are enslaved.
Psalm 107:10-13 says, “Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons, for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High. So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down with none to help. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart.”
We are all born with the chains of humanity, but other chains develop that are more personal to us. God loves us too much to allow us to live as slaves, even if the chains are pretty. Fear is a chain I have been struggling with, and, until a few weeks ago, I didn’t even know it was there. It had hidden itself as a safety net, keeping me from taking risks that might hurt me, but also keeping me from opportunities God had. Pride, selfishness, and laziness are other chains that can appear pretty.
The verse does not end with the chains, but with God’s redemption of those in bondage. He is the one that can reveal what we are not able to see ourselves. Sometimes he does it gently, and other times he “bows their hearts down with hard labor.” His plan for our life is not bondage, but freedom from that bondage. All we have to do is allow him to reveal the pretty hidden chains.
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