Dan and I have two cats. Manford is orange and Leo is a gray. Both cats have such funny personalities. Manford is 8 years old, vocal and particular. He lets us know when we are off our schedule. Leo is 5 years old, and very easy going. He is pretty much happy with anything as long as we feed him.
A few weeks ago, Manford got sick. It’s been a rough few weeks filled with vet visits, medications and discussions about chronic disease. It hurts to see him hurt. It also hurts to not know what he is feeling. Is he feeling ok? Does he have pain? Does the medicine help? Is he getting better? So hard to know!
One day, after a visit to our vet, I came home and placed our cat carrier on the floor. I opened the door, and expected Manford to immediately run out. However, he didn’t. He just laid in his cat carrier with the door opened for awhile. After a few minutes, I called him and he still didn’t come out. I decided that he must have been a bit overwhelmed from the visit to the vet, so I took the door completely off the carrier and left him there. I sat on the couch and watched him, and after 20 minutes he realized the door was opened and he carefully walked out. I didn’t rush to pick up the cage, and a few hours later I found Manford curled up in the cat carrier again.
I had all but forgotten this until a few days later. I was having some quiet time and read Galatians 5:1. In the Passion Translation it says this:
Let me be clear, the Anointed One has set us free—not partially, but completely and wonderfully free! We must always cherish this truth and stubbornly refuse to go back into the bondage of our past.
This verse immediately brought my back to Manford sitting in his cat carrier on our living room floor. I had opened the door. He was free to roam around our entire 1700 square foot house, but instead he choose to sit in his tiny little cat carrier. He perceived he was safe, however he would have been just as safe out in the house. Even after calling him, Manford choose to stay in his confined space.
This week is holy week. It’s the week that we slow down and think about the events leading up to Jesus dying on the cross and then raising again 3 days later. As I write this, I can’t help but wonder how Jesus must feel. I wonder how many times God has tried to call me out of a place, but I have stayed there because I have perceived it to be safe? I wonder how many times I have stayed partially trapped, because I choose to ignore that I could be fully free? Jesus died so I could be completely free. He is saying “Hey Lissa, you can come out of that bondage, because I opened the door for you” and yet I stand there still holding on to the very chains that I hate.
A few hours after Manford had walked out of his cat carrier, he went back in. He could have laid on a soft bed or chair, but instead he went to his cat carrier. How many times do I do that too? How many times does Jesus set me free, but I stubbornly walk right back to the chains he has already saved me from?
We don’t have to walk in fear, worry, despair or anything else that holds us down because Jesus has set us completely free. In the Passion Translation, Galatians 5:1 says that we must hold on to truth and refuse to go back. I have been guilty in the past of asking God to help me break free from the things that hold me back, but even though I desire freedom, I never put the chains down and hold onto truth instead. When I dig into the word, I quickly find that I don’t have to live in fear, I can choose to live with strong faith. I don’t have to live in worry, I can cling to mighty hope. I don’t have to walk in despair, the Lord promises unspeakable joy.
Today I want to encourage you that when Jesus died on the cross, he made the ultimate sacrifice, so that you could walk in complete freedom. I have never done this before on my blog, but today I feel so strongly about this topic, I am going to close with prayer.
Jesus, Thank you for giving your life for us. Thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice so that we can walk in complete freedom. Jesus, today I pray you would break every chain and every stronghold in our lives. I pray you would open our eyes to the way out you have already created for each of us. Jesus I pray you would replace our fear with strong faith. Replace our worry with mighty hope. Replace our despair with unspeakable joy. Jesus, I pray you would continue to show us new truth each day, so that we will remain free. I declare we are victorious in your name. Thank you Jesus for your freedom. In your name, Amen!