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April 24, 2014- 2:19am
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Polly Wanna Cracker?

In this freedom Christ has made us free, completely liberated us; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit to a yoke of slavery, which you have once put off. Galatians 5:1(Amplified)

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ; he does not belong to Him. And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. Romans 8:6-10 (NAS)

The day had finally come. A friend and I were sitting down face to face to catch up. We were good friends, but with the hectic pace of life and its demands, we had to settle for phone visits, more often than face-to-face visits. So I sat in deep, with anticipation, ready to enjoy a special time with my close friend.

When I arrived, I noticed something different about the room. Did she paint the walls, get a new couch, had it been that long? What was it? Hearing the sound of an unfamiliar voice, I had my answer. There was a new family member, a parrot. I checked the parrot out before sitting down. Once the kids were situated, we were off to the races, talking like women do. Suddenly, we were interrupted by this alarming, hair-raising noise. The noise was coming from the bird cage. The once, calm, friendly, talkative bird was flying into the sides of the cage, throwing itself violently into the bars. It plunged head long one time after another into the cage, in a desperate attempt to get free. The bird repeated this madness over and over again. Letís just say my peace was being disturbed. None of this bothered my hostess, as she was immune to it. She sat peacefully, sipping her coffee, talking like everything was normal. Finally it was more than I could stand and I asked her what the deal was. She stated the obvious, "It wants to get out of its cage."

After I squirmed for several minutes, obviously distracted, my friend relented and opened the door to the bird cage. The bird flew blissfully from one corner of the room to the other, enjoying its hard earned freedom. I was shocked that it could fly straight. I was sure if I had a headache from the experience, the bird must have one too. A little later I asked her if she was going to have a hard time catching it and putting it back in its cage. She said, ďOh no, it always flies back to its cage on its own.Ē I said, ďNo way, it almost killed itself trying to get out, why in the world would it go back to the place it so desperately sought freedom from?Ē
ďBecause thatís where it eats, and when it is hungry itíll go back to the place where the food isĒ she explained. I couldnít believe my ears. After such an intense battle for freedom, didnít the bird know that the door would be locked when it came back in to eat? Didnít it know that it would be in the same predicament it had been in just minutes before, if it returned to the same cage?

My knowledge on the behavior of birds is limited, but God began to use this experience to speak to me about myself and other believers. How many times are we struggling to be free of some bondage, feeling of anger or resentment, a hurt or a wound? We find ourselves in a place that feels like it has bars, a prison of our own making. A prison built through circumstances, choices we have made, sin, or other things on a list that goes on. We have an overwhelming sense of confinement and a need to be free. We are often so miserable within our prison that we make attempts to change or ďbe freeĒ. We get to the point that we have to have freedom, no matter what the cost. And we find our freedom, through whatever means God supplies.

We feel a hundred pounds lighter, the load is lifted, no more chains. We give thanks, we soar, so to speak on wings as eagles. This is truly a place to rejoice and you may have experienced this in your relationship with God, too. How is it then that we so easily end up back in the cage? Do we need our heads examined? Are we walking in our sleep and donít know what we are doing? Could we experience the joy of freedom, only to choose to go back to the cage again?

As our physical body requires food, so does our spirit man. What we feed on will determine, if we stay free or end up back in that same old place of bondage. Has anyone ever hurt you by something they have said? Have you replayed it in your mind after the fact? We all have. If you have been in an unhealthy relationship and have been freed in your heart from it, donít spend hours reminiscing and replaying memories that may encourage you to get back in the flesh. When we become used to feeding on these things, we will end up back in the same boat. Once I heard a minister say, if you starve something it will die. We need to starve the fleshly thoughts that entangle us in bondage. These thoughts, if not brought into control will result in actions and the chains will get tighter. There are so many areas to which this principle applies. Let the Lord show you how it relates to your individual life.

Philippians 4:8, gives us a look at the things we should be thinking on. Whatever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of a good report, if there is anything praiseworthy, think on these things. We are confronted with choices everyday in what we will think on. Will we allow worry to exhaust us? Can we really do a better job than God? He has promised to keep that which we have committed to Him.(II Tim 1:12) Will we allow anger and bitterness to devour us like a cancer? God tells us to battle anger, by not sinning.(Eph 4:26-27) He also reminds us that if we donít forgive others, He will not forgive us.(Mt 6:2-3) He also promises that in our weakness, His strength is perfected.(II Cor 12:9) I have responded to being angry with people both in the flesh and in the spirit. The choice of obeying God's Word to pray for those who use you (Mt 5:44) may be difficult at first, but will lead to freedom and peace. No, the flesh doesn't get fed that appetizing helping of self pity or the empty delight of revenge. But as Christians, we do want the flesh to die and the spirit to grow. The flesh does not roll over and play dead. We have to crucify it and the battle begins in the mind.(II Cor. 10:2-5) That flesh wants control, but God has given us the power to walk in the Spirit.

There seems to be so much religion today, that it is sometimes hard to know what God expects from us. He is good and left us His Word to order our lives by. We have the privilege to have that Word freely in this country, and searching it out on our own is a privilege also. God hasnít left us empty handed, with a lot of questions and no answers. He delights in revealing Himself to us. Remember, Isaiah tells us that we were created for Godís pleasure.(Is 43:21)

It's my hope and prayer that somehow this simple illustration will benefit your walk with the Lord, whether you are new in your journey or are an old timer. I remember a minister once saying that righteousness is simply making right choices. Let's take responsibility for our actions and reactions and allow God to teach us to live in freedom.

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