28 Feb Are you Captive…or Captivated?
Freedom has been on my mind a lot lately. I want my life to be a life of freedom; I don’t want to be a captive to anything. Instead I’d rather be captivated.
Paul talks about the law in Romans chapter 7. He talks about how the law started out as an excellent piece of work. But sin found a way to pervert the commands into temptations. Paul is a master wordist (if that’s even a word!) and he goes on about how sin looked dull until the law came in and then temptation made sin look enticing.
In Romans 7:17-19, Paul seems to be looking into my heart when he says, “For if I know the law, but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. (The Message)”
How many of us struggle daily with the same struggle that Paul dealt with all those years ago? I know far too well the struggle that he describes.
How do we overcome?
So how do we overcome that daily struggle?
Thankfully, Paul tells us in verses 24-25, “I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? … The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.”
Christ freed us from this vicious cycle of sin and death by setting us free from the law. Sin is still sin, but with freedom comes a new motivation for righteous living.
So I ask you…are you held CAPTIVE? Or are you CAPTIVATED?
A captive person by definition is a prisoner; a person who is enslaved or dominated; kept in confinement or restraint. When a Christian is still living in a captive state, they obey God’s commands because of the law. They are governed by rules and are often in bondage.
I know this type of living well. Basically, I’ve been a perfectionist all my life. In fact, I remember throughout high school, I got straight As, except for one B in Biology.
And what did I do? You guessed it…I circled that B on my report card. I focused on the area of failure, rather than on all the As.
The problem with living a captive life is that Christians who are living this type of life are prone to rebellion.
They can start seeing God as the big bully upstairs that doesn’t want then to have fun or let them do the things you want to do.
People who live captive lives can be prone to secrecy when they do mess up.
We end up trying to hide the things we do wrong, the way Adam did in the garden.
This type of living actually keeps us from intimacy with God. We still love Him, we still try to serve Him, but we’re still held captive by the law.
The captivated person is by definition a person who is attracted to something. Someone who is captivated is holding in attention or interest something or someone else because of its beauty or excellence. When a Christian is living this type of life, they obey God out of love, not obligation. They are governed by grace instead of rules.
This is the type of Christian that I strive to be. A woman who loves God so much that I don’t want to take my eyes off of Him.
Instead of reaching for an unattainable goal of being perfect, I’m just growing closer to Jesus.
A captivated person lives in freedom, but chooses to be a servant of Christ.
He or she chooses to give up their wants and desires in exchange for His wants and desires. They do this, not because they have to, but because they want to.
This kind of living makes us prone to confession instead of rebellion.
When we go wayward, we come running back because we miss the closeness we have with the Lord. We come and confess to Him because we know that’s what He desires most. This kind of living keeps us running to Him, instead of away from Him.
Sometimes, you hear people say that it’s more important what you do than why you do it. I beg to differ. The Bible says in Jeremiah 17:10 that the Lord searches all hearts and examines the secret motives of our hearts.
Plus, I believe the reason we obey leads to a more consistent obedience.
Let me explain, when I obey out of obligation, pretty soon, I will rebel. I’ll want to go my own way, and since the only thing that is holding me back is a sense obligation, then I won’t stand against temptation to sin for very long.
On the other hand, if I obey out of a deep love and respect for God, then when I am tempted, I can run to Him and trust His Word to keep me on the right path. It all starts with motivation. …
Studying this has brought so much freedom and joy into my walk with the Lord. I hope and pray that it does the same for you.