Devotional by Cheryl Monaco
I was watching an old movie, “Support Your Local Sherriff” over the holidays. There is a scene in the movie that reminded me of what Satan does to keep us from the freedom that we have in Christ.
In the movie, James Garner plays a man that just took on the job of sheriff in a lawless town that has been run by a “cut-throat” family called the Danby’s. James Garner had just witnessed the son “Joe” from the Danby family kill an innocent man in the saloon. As soon as he became sheriff, his first order of business was to arrest Joe for murder. Before the arrest could be made, he went to see the Sheriff’s office, where the jail cells were located. The town was very proud that they had just upgraded and remodeled the office and jail. There was one problem. The bars for jail cell hadn’t come in yet. It was just a brick room with no window bars and no bars within the cell to keep the prisoner contained. James Garner looks around, takes a piece of chalk and draws a line where the bars should have been. Taking a can of red paint, he splatters it on the floor just on the other side of the chalk line.
James Garner then goes to the saloon to arrest Joe Danby. He brings his prisoner to the jail cell. Joe laughs that there are no bars in the cell and nothing is in place to keep him there. Joe crosses the chalk line and looks down to see the red splotches on the floor and asks what it is. James Garner informs him that the splotch is blood from the guy that tried to escape earlier in the day. The prisoner then jumps back onto the other side of the chalk line and into his cell.
Joe Danby’s father then comes to visit his son in the jail. If you could have seen his face when he looks at his son sitting in a cell with no bars! The father says, “There are no bars nowhere! What is keeping you in here?” Joe answers, “That guy out there. He won’t let me move an inch without jumping down my throat! And he keeps lying to me about whether his gun is loaded.”
Later in the movie, the bars to the cell actually arrive. Since Joe has nothing better to do, you see him holding the bucket of cement for the guy setting in the bars. A couple days later, the entire Danby family shows up to help Joe escape from prison. They tie ropes to their horses and to bars. After an unsuccessful attempt, all of the Danby men are on their backsides on the ground and the bars haven’t budged. Joe then tells his father, “I could have told you it wouldn’t work.” “Why?” The father asks. The son then tells his father that he helped set the bars in the place and they did a great job!
How does this apply to us? So many times in life, we feel like we can’t be successful or accomplish something because we are holding ourselves prisoner with invisible bars. God is saying to us “What is holding you in here?” And you say “That guy out there”. We blame the devil who lies to us, we blame others who tell us we can’t be successful. That red splotch on the floor is not the blood from someone who tried to escape previously, it is the blood of Jesus who died so that we could have our freedom. Galatians 5:1 (NIV) says “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, a DO NOT LET YOURSELVES be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
The definition of freedom is “The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.” In Galatians it says “DO NOT LET YOURSELVES…”. It is our decision…Not the devil’s, not anyone else’s. It says that Christ HAS ALREADY SET US FREE! The next words in the verse are “Stand firm”. We have to decide to believe that we are free and then stand our ground, or stand firm. How do we stand firm? By replacing the devils lies with God’s Word and believing God’s Word.
In the movie, after Joe has believed those invisible bars are in place because of lies, Joe actually helps to set real bars in place. Often in life, we believe those invisible bars are in place and then start to erect actual bars that hold us back in life. Do some reflecting. What is holding you behind those bars? Let’s see those invisible bars for what they really are in life. Stop listening to the devil’s lies, know that Christ has already set us free, stand firm, and then go on to do great things for God and others!