Do you remember the childhood saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?” Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, words do hurt. They can wound, bruise, and inflict great harm on the unassuming victims of a razor-sharp tongue.
Once in the second grade I was called a terribly obscene name by an older boy on the playground. At the time I didn’t even understand what the word meant–my young innocence could hardly fathom words of such cruelty. But I knew by the gasps of the other children that he hadn’t given me a flattering compliment. I felt like something was wrong with me.
His words communicated that I was bad, unlovable, and unwanted…
Sticks and stones.
Throughout my years in school I can recall other times when I was teased and called names–just for being myself. Over the years, those words of rejection locked me into a prison of fear. Fear of what others thought of me. Fear of how I was perceived by my peers. I worried whether I would be accepted by others, and constantly replayed scenarios over and over in my head.
Did I come across too strong? Was I too bubbly? Do others think I’m fake? Do they really like me, or are they just pretending?
I was exhausted in this prison, often feeling enslaved to my own self-defeating thoughts. I knew that God loved me. I knew that the words of others didn’t really matter. I knew that their opinions were merely “sticks and stones”, but it seemed that I could never fully live true freedom.
Until that night.
The night I looked up every verse I could find on what it truly means to be clothed in the freedom of Christ. It must have been a verse I skimmed over a dozen times before–but this time it hit me, and finally clicked.
Awake, awake, Zion, clothe yourself with strength! Put on your garments of splendor, Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again. Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, Daughter Zion, now a captive. Isaiah 52:1-2
Christ came to set us free from the prisons we have lived in for far too long. When we clothe ourselves in the strength and splendor of our great God, no weapon forged against us will prosper. When we envelop our souls with his brilliance and power, we put on the armor of God–and his gleaming garments of light will push back the darkness of defeat. Instead of wallowing in the dust, we rise up as a royal priesthood, seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6).
[bctt tweet=”When we clothe ourselves in the strength and splendor of our great God, no weapon forged against us will prosper.” username=”christinbaker12″]
If God is for us, who can be against us?!?
The enemy will try to defeat us with sticks and stones, but Jesus was crucified on two cross-shaped sticks, and three days later, rolled away a stone–forever defeating death and the grave!
That night on my bed, I wept tears of great joy. The truth of God’s Word radically set me free from my prison of shame, fear and defeat. Whenever I sense those lies creeping back, I remind myself that I am covered, clothed, and surrounded by the strength and splendor of my Father.
Here are three ways I’ve learned to experience true freedom in Christ:
- Identify the lies of the Enemy
- Replace the lies with the truth of God’s Word
- Clothe myself with the splendor of Christ
Words Set me Free
The other day I was deeply struck by a picture book I read with my children. Words Set Me Free by Lesa-Cline-Ransome tells the powerful story of Frederick Douglass and his road to freedom from slavery: through the power of words.
As a young boy, the wife of Frederick’s new master taught him the alphabet and how to read a few words (although this was emphatically against the law). When his master discovered this, he forbade his wife from teaching Frederick–but unbeknownst to this couple, their young slave would spend the next several years secretly teaching himself to read and write.
Frederick was eventually sent back to his former master in the south. Years later, he obtained a quill and paper from another slave, and carefully wrote a letter declaring his own freedom, signing the letter as if it were skillfully penned by his master. He escaped from his plantation, and whenever he was questioned, he showed his letter of emancipation–and lived the rest of his life a free man.
Frederick’s letter of freedom reminded me of another letter written by the prophet Isaiah…
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners… Isaiah 61:1
In the same way Frederick Douglass used the power of words to declare his freedom, Jesus, the Living Word, proclaims freedom to all those captive to the clutches of sin. His words of freedom bring healing to our bones and life our weary souls.
And this is why I write.
The day I discovered true freedom in Christ, I knew that God was calling me to use my words to proclaim to the world that He is the way, the truth, and the path to abundant life. I am honored to join my sisters in Christ in the Blogger Voices Network, as we all put pen to paper (or more accurately, finger to keyboard!) and use our words to tell our stories.
To tell of His goodness.
To declare as bloggers that we are free.
Free to write what God has placed on our hearts in hopes that others will be encouraged, and may find a little more strength to live freely, love fully, and together as one voice, glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 15:7).
Will you join us? Check out the Blogger Voices Network page here!
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Be sure to visit Sarah Geringer’s blog tomorrow for our final blog hop–you will truly be blessed!!
How have you experienced freedom in Christ? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
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