Lately I’ve been thinking about how Satan likes to keep Christians bound by chains, but the Lord wants us to be free of those chains. God has the power to break every chain in our lives. He wants us to live in freedom, to live in His power. Then I thought about how sometimes in my own life, I’ve carried those chains around with me because I thought I had no other choice. Sometimes I’ve even carried them around after the Lord broke the lock for me, but I just didn’t relinquish them over to Him. I still dragged them around even though He was waiting for me to give Him the broken pieces. There have even been times in my life when I have taken the broken chains and wrapped myself back up in them because it seemed more comfortable than walking in freedom, which is a lie from the enemy too. At one time in my life, I was gripped by fear. I remember the night and the situation Satan used to wrap that chain of fear around my heart. For more than five years, I lived in that fear and was crippled by it. I just thought, “This is life now. This is my new normal.” I didn’t like it, but I just figured that’s how it would always be. Until….one day….the Lord brought 2 Timothy 1:7 to my mind – “For God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind.” God didn’t design me to live in fear. In fact, He hated to see me bound by fear. As I realized that truth, I began claiming that Scripture. God broke that chain of fear for me. As I proclaimed that scripture day after day, I gave the broken pieces of that chain over to the Lord. When Satan comes back around and tries to ensnare me by fear again, I remind Him that the Lord broke that chain in my life by quoting 2 Timothy 1:7, and I don’t accept that chain any more. I’ve also been entangled by the chain of “regrets of past failures.” I’ve made some bad choices in my life that hindered my relationship with the Lord. In those times, when the Lord would convict my heart, I would repent of them, and God would restore me back to Him. God broke the chain of sin and failure. But Satan will come back to you and remind you of what you had done and where you were. He tries to convince you to stay wrapped in chains of guilt and regret. I’ve taken that chain from him before. That is a heavy chain to drag around, my friend, and one that we need never accept from the enemy. When God forgives you, He remembers it no more. Christ’s blood cleanses us completely as if we had never sinned. If you are living in regrets of past sin that the Lord has already forgiven you of, ask Him to break that chain of regret for you too and give Him the pieces that remain. If you’re dragging around a chain of sin you have yet to repent of, repent now and ask the Lord to forgive you and walk in newness of life without that chain around you.

Another chain Satan likes to bind us with is the chain of grief. Grieving is a necessary process. It is something we will all face and we deal with it in our own ways. Sometimes that grief can become chains around us to keep us from moving forward on the path that God has for us. When my dad passed away unexpectedly 14 years ago, I honestly didn’t know how I could face the days without him around to lean upon. There was an empty place in my heart, and there still is today, but God has helped me so my grief does not consume me. The memories we shared help fill that empty place. In March 2016 when Manette was in the hospital and we didn’t think she would make it through the night, I was a basket case. I kept telling my mom and my aunt that my heart was lying in that bed. What would I do when she was no longer here with me — to cheer me on in life’s adventures, to shower me with love in the way only she could, to assure me that no matter what I faced that God would be with me? God didn’t take Manette home that night, but gave us two more months with her. Four years later, I still miss her every day. There are moments in life I want to share with her. There are days when I wish my phone would ring and she would be on other end saying in that sweet voice, “Hey Michelle, this is Manette.” If I continued to focus on that missing piece of my heart and all that I have lost, I would be wrapping that chain of grief around me until that was all I could see. Instead, I’m reminded of what Manette told me after PawPaw passed away, “Sometimes we think God makes a mistake, but He never does. We just have to trust His decisions.” The Lord wants to break that chain of grief through the comfort of the Holy Spirit, through the hope we have in Jesus Christ that we will see our loved ones again, through the peace that only God can offer. God doesn’t want to erase my memory of them, but He wants their memory to fuel my life and to encourage me on my walk with Him. Satan wants us bound by chains because that’s one way he steals our joy and peace. It also hinders us from accomplishing God’s plan for our lives by weighing us down. If you are bound by chains today — whatever they may be — chains of doubt, fear, regrets, sins, grief, uncertainties, addictions — call out to the Lord and allow Him to break those chains and then hand the broken pieces over to Him. Then walk in His joy and freedom along the path He’s called you to.

Psalm 107:13-17 (NIV) Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.
Psalm 116:16 (NIV) Truly I am your servant Lord, I serve you just as my mother did, you have freed me from my chains.
Isaiah 45:2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.
Psalm 34:17-19 (NIV) The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in Spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers them from them all.
Psalm 91:3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fouler, and from the noisome pestilence.
Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

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