Back in 1999 I jammed out to my very first Christian song. Up until this point every “Jesus song” was out of a hymnal. Then came along Mary Mary with “Shackles.” Does anyone else remember this song?
Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just want to praise you
(What ya want to do?)
I just want to praise you
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
And I’m gonna praise you
(What ya gon do?)
I’m gonna praise you
Shackles are chains of bondage. Is there something holding you back, keeping you from living in full freedom? What’s keeping you from your true potential? This is your shackle. It is your prison where you are stuck living a smaller life than you were ever created for. Shackles look different for each of us. For some it is an addiction or bad habit. A weakness. Or perhaps your shackle is worry, a setback or failure that has you behind bars, a doubt or fear that serves as your prison restraining you in a place where you are stuck.
Yesterday I had a conversation with a dear friend and she shared with me she has no willpower. That’s a shackle. For me my shackle was once materialism and laziness. I was seeking the easy way and more stuff, and it was holding me back from fully living the life I was created for. What’s yours?
As a child of God you have been saved for all of eternity, but here’s what most of us miss … salvation isn’t just for the moment you stand before God to be judged and are welcomed into an eternity in heaven. I mean, that’s awesome. Kinda blows my mind thinking about when my moment in time comes. But remember this, salvation is for right now too. As a child of God and follower of Jesus, you have been saved right now. This very moment salvation is yours. What are you being saved from? Your shackles. Saved from living on Earth stuck in bondage. Your chains have been broken and you have been set free. This is what Jesus did for you.
Scripture shares stories of God breaking chains. Spiritual chains and literal chains behind the bars of a prison. And this is what he wants to do for you today too.
Peter was in prison, bound by two chains between two soldiers. In Acts 12: 7 it says “Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.”
Can’t you hear God saying to you this morning, “Quick, get up!” Get up from the mess you’ve been wallowing in. Get up from where you fell down. Get up from where you’ve been laying low and hiding out. Get up from where you have been stuck. Quick get up. And just as when Peter got up and the chains fell off his wrists, so will yours. You don’t have to live one more day in those shackles. Not when the price has already been paid for your freedom.
Don’t you know Jesus is a chain breaker, a prison shaker, a freedom seeker and redemption giver?
Rise up, your shackles are no more. Jesus has broken every chain. I declare victory over everything that has held you back. Just because it held you back yesterday doesn’t mean it has to hold you back today. Quick, get up … and after you get up, those chains will fall. But first, you gotta get up. Pick yourself up and claim your victory. Jesus destroys every stronghold. His power working in your life can break them all.
Your bad habit, laziness, worry, negativity, lack of willpower or focus, that is a shackle. God wants to take that shackle off your feet so you can dance. He wants to break the chains so you can lift your hands. AND HE CAN. He has that power. Maybe everything in your life tells you it will never happen for you. You believe you’ve always struggled with it, so you always will. Well, have you met my Jesus? If he can give the blind man his sight, if he can turn water into wine, if he can make the lame to walk, if he can raise the dead, you tell me why in the world couldn’t he help you overcome your lack of willpower? Why couldn’t he break the chains of your habit of worry?
Acts chapter 12 in my bible is titled “Peter’s Miraculous Escape From Prison.” Girl, it’s time for your chapter 12! It’s time for your miraculous escape from your prison, whatever that may be. If Jesus can break Peter’s chains, he can break yours. If he can free Peter from his shackles, he can free you too. And remember, Jesus also empowered Peter to walk on water with him … he can do the same for you. You can walk right across that which threatens to drown you. You can do what you’ve never, ever been able to do before.
Today is the day. The day you get up. The day you break free. The day you decide staying stuck is no longer an option. The day you understand salvation isn’t just for after you die, but it’s for right now while you live so that you can live freely and fully. May you see your shackles broken today and may you step into the BIG Life Jesus came to give you.
And for all the shackles he has already broken in your life, for all the ways you have been set free from that which once held you back, may you praise him today! May you dance, may you lift your hands, because sister you are free!