Here’s the Good News

 “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy (luo) the devil’s work.”  (1 John 3:8)
 “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose (luo) on earth will be loosed (luo) in heaven.”  (Matthew 16:19)
 “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”  (Romans 12:9)
“The power of life and death is contained in the tongue.”  (Proverbs 18:21)
We have covered a lot of ground together over the past few days. We have looked at three different self-inflicted chains that we can place on ourselves that rob us of the joy, peace and freedom that the Lord wants to give us. We have looked at a heart of stone, at bitter roots, and at inner vows. Today we are going to look at a four-step approach from the Bible to dealing with all three of them and living in full freedom as followers of Jesus.

Step one is to Confess it. Each of these three self-inflicted chains are caused by lies. Jesus says in John 8 that the devil is the father of lies, because they’re the way in which he loves to bind us. One of the signs of the devil’s work is how difficult we can find it to confess that these three chains are issues in our lives at all. We refer to them as hurt, disappointment, being wronged, etc. The problem is that these are spiritual laws. Denial leads to problems. If you step off a cliff, you don’t defy the law of gravity, you demonstrate it! Our freedom begins by recognising sin for what it is. Romans 12:9 tells us to “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”
Step two is to Forgive and Be Forgiven These three chains usually begin with someone wronging us and, unless we forgive them, we will never live in full freedom. Matthew 18:34-35 tells us that God hands people over to internal torture if they refuse to forgive their brother or sister for the wrong those people did to them. He does that because he wants to wake us up to how serious it is when we react sinfully to other people’s sin towards us. The person who wronged you does not have to be there for you to forgive them. You don’t even have to tell them that you’re forgiving them! You can forgive people out loud, naming who they are and naming what they did, even if they aren’t in the room with you. Proverbs 18:21 explains that “The power of life and death is contained in the tongue.”
Step three is to Break It. When we confess our sinful reactions to God and receive God’s forgiveness, then we put ourselves in a place where we can truly be set free. When we repent (say we are sorry for sin), then we can renounce the power that the sin holds over us. 1 John 3:8 uses the Greek word ‘luo’ to tell us literally that the Son of God appeared to loose, or to destroy or render null and void the devil’s authority over us. Jesus uses that same word ‘luo’ in Matthew 16:19 to tell us that we now have power to break the devil’s authority wherever we go. So don’t hold back. Make the most of the authority that Jesus has given you to shatter these three self-inflicted chains.

Step four is to Keep Going in It. When you set out on this path of freedom, it can feel quite discouraging when the same bitter root or inner vow or hard-heartedness suddenly rears up its head again. You feel discouraged, because you thought that you had dealt with it – and you had! Living out our freedom in Christ can feel like peeling an onion. You deal with one layer of sin, and then another, and then another. But be encouraged, you are making progress. The testimony of many of us at Everyday Church is that one day the final layer of the onion disappears!
1)   Looking back on what you have learned about a heart of stone, about bitter roots and about inner vows, which of these three things do you think has the biggest impact on your own life?
2)   Are you ready to take some steps today to be set free?
3)   Look back carefully over the four steps which we have outlined for you. Do you fully understand what they involve? Is anything stopping you from praying that prayer right now?
Normally we give you a prayer to pray at the end of your Everyday Devotions. Today, we feel that it’s important that you frame your own prayer along the lines of these four steps.

1) Confess it    2) Forgive and Be Forgiven    3) Break It    4) Keep Going in it.
Today’s Everyday Devotions were written by Phil Moore, who leads our team of whole-church elders.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.
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