The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. John 10:10
Have you ever tried to carry a bunch of balloons to your car for a birthday party?
You’ve just spent money and time watching someone carefully inflate a dozen balloons for your precious daughter’s birthday. As you carry it out of the store, other people smile–because there is something about a balloon that defies logic and gravity and causes people to smile–you, however, walk gingerly because you are terrified of one popping. Then as soon as you open the car door you remember the foolish dance a bunch of balloons causes you to do. You shove, and push–one escapes, and as you try to regather it, the others slide out of reach. Finally, you try to gently slam a car door shut hoping that none popped in the mayhem. As you drive home and the balloons creep scaryily towards your face, you worry that if one pops you may accidentially drive into on coming traffic before or after the heart attack. Then, sort of proud of yourself, you arrive home to let the balloons escape only to realize that they have impossibly tied themselves into a gordian knot. So while the clock reveals that within 17 minutes, 31 six year-olds are about to descend upon your home, you desperately try to unscramble the mess. When…one of the balloons escapes.
And at that moment you just stop, stand there, and watch that sole balloon dance towards the heavens…because that is what balloons are designed to do.
We inflate them with helium so that they will float. Yet, we then tie a little string around them to hold them back.
The other day, I realized most of us live like balloons. We are designed to fly, but the entrapments of the world, the expectations of those around us, the pressures of the day hold us teethered to the earth. Worry, anxiety, shame and guilt hold us back. The result is we shrivel like stale balloons slowly losing our vitality until one day someone mercifully sticks a pin in us.
Jesus warns us that the thief comes in to kill, steal and destroy. He wants to kill our dreams, steal our ambitions and destroy our relationships. He does so by teethering us to worldly worries.
At creation, the Lord breathed into our lungs. He filled us with His breath. He formed us. When Christ found his fear-filled disciples locked in an upper room, he breathed on them and said “My peace I give to you.” This is the closeness of God to us. The very breath we take is us filling our lungs with the Spirit’s presence of peace. You can go weeks without food; days without water, but you can only go minutes without air. The air we breathe is the very life-giving breath of God. Yet, rather than letting this lift us up, we allow the thief to tie us down with anxiety.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17
Christ, however, came to cut us loose. Repentence is how we become set free: “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:20
What is tying you down? What worries do you need to repent of in order for Christ to set you free?
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