This following post is adapted from Ps Phil Pringle's message on Sunday 30th September, at the C3 Oxford Falls 10am service. Watch it here.
UN-STUCK | RELATIONSHIPS
Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; The snare is broken, and we have escaped.
Psalm 124:7 (NKJV)
Sometimes our soul gets injured and needs healing much deeper down than at an emotional or mental level. I wrote a book called “Healing the wounded spirit” about the conditions which can leave us exhausted and feeling stuck. Jesus comes to bring healing to our spirit so that we don’t have to stay stuck, but can be set free, like the bird in Psalm 124.
When God brought His people out of Egypt after 400 years of slavery, they still had a “slave mindset” even though the shackles were gone. God brought them out of slavery to take them somewhere: the promised land. We likewise, travel with purpose as God’s plans for us are immense. When they reached the Red Sea however, they were stuck with the Egyptian chariots after them. You can be nervous about something from your past coming up behind you, to grab you but Jesus sets you free from your past. No matter what is chasing you, like the Egyptian chariots, God will destroy it. He promises in Isaiah 54:17 that no weapon formed against you will prosper.
In our current age we are surrounded by outrage and offence. You may think it’s new but the Bible tells us this is an old trap. Offence is a choice. Isaiah 29:21 speaks of “making a man an offender”. Mark 6:3 records the offence people took at Jesus simply for who He was: He never “gave” the offence. Don’t be infected by that culture. Choose scripture instead and Teflon coat your spirit with God’s peace (Psalm 119:165).
God’s love flowing through us towards others, gives the power to be un-offendable and keep “no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5c NIV). Richard Wurmbrand wrote that if you never record other’s wrongs against you, logically you won’t need to forgive them later. Protect your spirit and your relationships with love and God’s word.
Bitterness is another thing that can infect our spirits and Hebrews 12:15 warns us to watch out for it. When Cain and Abel went to worship God, Cain did things his way and was not happy with God’s response in his younger brother’s life. In family life, in church life, we can similarly feel like the big brother feeling hard done by when God blesses others. Some days you are the statue, some days you are the pigeon! It is a fact that life changes and it is far better to be genuinely happy when other people are blessed rather than being resentful.
The person in the Bible who is the most “stuck” has to be the paralytic in Luke 5:17-26. Luke tells us that on that day, “the power of the Lord was present to heal them”. God’s power is also available to you if you open up to Him. When the paralytic’s friends brought him to Jesus, completely unable to get himself “unstuck”, Jesus forgives his sins. Guilt can bury us. We often try to atone for our sins by suffering or working hard but that isn’t God’s will for us. Jesus went through the sacrifice of the crucifixion to set us free from our sins.
When we are in trouble we often say “God forgive me” in case the trouble was caused by something we did wrong. It can seem too good to be true that we can receive Jesus’ complete forgiveness for all of our sins. But just like the paralytic, if you receive it, you’ll walk away. God’s forgiveness heals and the things that used to carry you: you’ll carry them. When we ask for and then receive God’s forgiveness, we will be set free like a bird from a trap.
Something to talk about:
- Where are the temptations to offence in your life?
- How can we build habits with God’s word that prevent us from getting stuck or a wounded spirit?
- Is there a snare God has freed you from that comes up behind you? What is the Bible’s promise about it?