If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free
indeed (John 8:36).
I have heard that an elephant can be chained by a flimsy
piece of rope, and that a rat exposed to multiple electric shocks will in time do nothing
to flee from the place where it knows the shock will come from.
It is said that you can chain an elephant so that the animal cannot break free. That is
not so surprising. But what may seem surprising is that in time, you could replace the
chain with a flimsy rope which the elephant could break easily. Yet, when the elephant
feels the slightest resistance from reaching the end of the rope, it will not even try to
The laboratory rat that is repeatedly exposed to a shock will in time just lay down and
take it. It will not try to run away even if the way to escape has now been made
In both situations, the animals demonstrated what is called learned helplessness. They
tried to resist uncomfortable situations at first, yet as time went on, they gave up even
trying to change their unpleasant situation. They had once tried to force their
boundaries, but their experience taught them that there was no point--and so they gave up
their fight for freedom--and eventually gave up their freedom without a fight.
The Bible tells us that Jesus came to set us free. Paul writes, "It is for freedom
that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again
by the yoke of slavery" (Gal.5:1). In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus encourages, "Come
to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you
and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your
souls. For my yoke is easy and by burden is light."
Jesus did not free us so that we could remain helplessly bound to the chains of our past.
What once held us as chains, no longer has power over us. If we are still enslaved it is
due to our learned helplessness and no longer the chains, since Christ has broken the
chains and set us free. It is not because we are bound, but because we do not truly
believe that we are free. Yet, Christ has said that you have been set free and "God
is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does
he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" (Num.23:19).
The skeletons in our closets and the sins of our past have a way of popping up in our
minds to remind us of our failures. If we allow, Satan will use them to cause us to feel
deep regret, and to become disheartened by our shame. We will become unable to serve God
because we think, "Who am I to be used by God. Just look at me." We become
helpless to move forward in our Christian walk because we have believed the lies of the
devil who holds us captive with a flimsy rope.
When you trusted Christ that what He did was sufficient to cleanse you of your sins, you
were given a clean record. What you have done you have done, but you do not have to let it
haunt you--it has been forgiven, and God does not want it to have control over you any
longer. He has broken the chains of your past sins, so that you may freely live for Him in
For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto
God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye
should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of
unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the
dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have
dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace (Rom.6:10-14).