God has appointed Christ to provide freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. Yet how many of us are stuck in addictions, habits, and sin? We begin by making a single bad decision. Pretty soon we've pursued this bad decision to the point of developing a bad habit. Eventually, it seems, the choice seems to no longer be ours...we're trapped. Addiction. Captive. There are the obvious addictions seen in our culture. Alcohol. Drugs. Pornography. But there are also more subtle ones that entrap us. Spending that leads to debt. Cynicism that leads to hardness of heart. It becomes critical for us to specifically name our personal entrapments. What is it in your life that you seem unable to stop? Whether attitude or action Jesus has come to forgive, but also to destroy the work of our enemy.
Yet, though Jesus has unlocked the doors of our prison, many of us remain in our prison cells. Why? Either we don't know that we are free, or we we've gotten so comfortable with prison that we choose to live our life in bondage instead of freedom. The role of community becomes crucial at this point for two reasons. First, Scripture exhorts us to confess our sins to one another. We need community to enter into the process of leaving our prison. Second, we are set free to not be self-centered, but rather to be an extension of this freedom to others. In a paradox worthy of the mystery of the gospel, it seems that our freedom, while for our personal gain, is also intended for others to witness and experience. In order to remain free, we must enter into community by serving others.