Break Every Chain
What do chains do? They set limits. Sometimes that’s good, such as when a boat is connected to the anchor by a chain, so it can only drift just so far. And a chain is a welcome sight when we approach a vicious dog. But there are chains that aren’t so beneficial; chains that represent bondage, keeping us from freedom, and limiting us in ways God never intended.
What are your chains? We all have them in our lives. There are things we have allowed to limit us, chains that have kept us bound. It could be a chain like an addiction such as to a substance (including food), or self-harm, pornography, shopping, or too much media. We can spot such chains by how we try to hide how significant they are in our lives, or deny they have that much influence they have on us. The thing about these kinds of chains is we will never see them broken, even by Jesus, if we don’t first admit we have them. We will never desire to change what we don’t acknowledge there is a problem.
But when we do see these chains for what they are, when we finally loathe them for how we’ve allowed them to tie us up and limit us, when we call upon the power of the name of Jesus, He will break these chains. Sometimes He does that instantaneously, like those gates of Heaven swinging wide, but very often His power is displayed by helping us conquer ground, step by step. This power is no less significant than the immediate breaking of the chains. In fact, it can be more so.
Quite often the person who has this addiction broken in one sudden event is someone who would not have had the strength to endure the process of recovery, or perhaps their sudden freedom is meant to release them to serve in a special capacity, or be a sign of God’s power in some way. It can tempt people to pride if they have been suddenly released and they see others having to struggle for freedom, as if they are somehow stronger or more special. It could just be they were actually weaker, and needed an emergency release from bondage to save them.
But for many others, the breaking of the chains is more like how God gave Israel the Promised Land. When they crossed the Jordan River, the land was theirs. God had given it to them—done deal. But they had to fight many battles, and take the “given” land battle by battle, city by city, acre by acre. It was still accomplished by the power of God, the outcome was not in doubt, but Israel had to take by faith that the battle had been won in the power of God, even before they had possession of all that had been promised. There are many reasons for this slower process, too many to deal with in this article, but the same progression can be true for us when the powerful name of Jesus breaks our chains of addiction. The fact remains, we cannot be truly free of what has us chained without His power.
Another strong chain that binds us is fear. Is there anything that limits us more than that? The chains of fear don’t always show up as trembling or anxiety. Sometimes fear manifests as doubt or control. Perhaps God has challenged us to take a step of faith or obedience, and we balk. We doubt—His word (Did God really say/mean that?), His goodness, His provision, His power…These chains of doubt and fear hold us back from taking the next steps of obedience.
Control chains us because so often faith wants to take us where we can’t micromanage outcomes. We don’t want to let go of the wheel and trust God. We want to steer, to direct, to determine. The problem is we don’t realize that what we see as a controlling outcome is really a chain that is rooted in our fear to let God be God and exercise His sovereignty in our lives.
There is power in the name of Jesus to break that chain, too. Part of this process is for us to realize just how powerful that name is, and just how good and loving that power is. Yes, when we think of unbridled power, it can cause us to tremble. That is something to fear. But when we realize that God’s goodness and His love are as limitless as His power, and are inextricably linked together with that power, we can allow His loving power to break our chains of fear, doubt, and control and set us free to trust Him to wield that power for our good.
But there are some of us who face chains that are beyond our control—chains of illness, some financial losses, oppressions that can’t be thrown off. I think of friends who struggle with illnesses such as MS or mental health, and though they have prayed for years to be free, they are still bound by those chains. Is there power in the name of Jesus for them now, or do they have to wait for heaven?
They may need to wait until then for new bodies to be freed from the chains of pain or infirmity, but there is a freedom that comes in fully trusting God in the midst of suffering. You see it in the likes of Joni Tada or Nick Vujicic. Their bodies are limited by very real chains, but they have allowed the name of Jesus to break every chain on their hearts and spirits. They have a freedom that far too many able-bodied people have never experienced.
So, I ask you again, what are your chains? If you don’t know, ask God to show you. Then ask Him for a willingness on your part not to cling to the chains, but allow the power of the name of Jesus to break them all.
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries