Deliver: To set free or save from evil, danger, or restraint; liberate. Deliverance: The fact or state of being freed.
My greatest desire is for people to be delivered. Delivered from fears in the mind, sin in the heart. In short, I want them to be free. To be delivered from themselves, for self is the worst enemy. It is far greater an enemy than satan himself. For we are often in bondage to unforgiveness, selfishness, self-pity, anger, low or no self-esteem, greed (covetousness), jealousy…you name it, we are bound by these and many other things.
I myself was bound by self-centeredness. I had been isolated for so long by the prison of CFS and homelessness, that I became absorbed with myself: what I was suffering and going through, always wondering and wishing and hoping that these things would pass from me. Every day, I would wake up and determine how I was feeling (and most of those feelings were not good ones. I was always feeling dissatisfied with life and the restraints placed upon me by my illness and my circumstances. I dreaded life and hated living it. I was only “in the game” because I was breathing. I’ve lost count of the number of times I prayed for death to take me or for me not to awaken each morning.). I became totally consumed by what I was feeling, how I was feeling it, why I was feeling what I was feeling, and feeling like those feelings were never going to end.
Now, I loathed those feelings of being so absorbed only in myself and my problems and what I was going through to the exclusion of everything and everyone else. For, I had always been the kind of person who had put others first and have spent my life giving to and helping others. But I’d become a slave to myself. In bondage to my fears, dissatisfactions, and selfish desires. (“Give me this, Lord.” “Give me that.” “Take this away from me.” “Change my circumstances.” “Give me back all that had been taken away from me,” etc.) But when we only think of ourselves, the bands of bondage only grow tighter and tighter and we are unable to experience freedom, let alone peace of mind and heart.
So, I began to pray. I asked God to remove the selfishness from my heart (though my circumstances of bedriddenness and homelessness and complete isolation made it understandable that my thoughts and feelings turned inward. But that did not diminish the toll that self-centered thinking took upon me and my spirit.) True joy comes from putting Jesus first, others second, and yourself third. (See the acronym?)
Now, we are unable to change ourselves. Sure, we can develop disciplines and habits and can make conscious choices. But true change in the character can only be effected by the working of the Holy Spirit in the heart. Otherwise, you will find yourself continuously falling back into the same old traps whenever pressure or hardship or trials come. For Jeremiah 10:23 states, “O, Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” And that is so true. No matter how much I tried in my own strength to change myself and my attitudes, I could not. I spent much time in prayer to God…and God heard the cry of my heart and took out the stony heart that had developed within me and gave me a heart of flesh so that I was able to feel again. I was able to think of others again and my mission in life now is to encourage others and point the way to the One Who can deliver you from yourself and everything else that holds you bound. He set me free from me and now I walk around in peace, joy, and love. You can have the same freedom, for Jesus came to set the captives free. For Jesus said through the prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” (Isaiah 61:1)
The Lord saved me from ME, and that was truly the greatest battle that has been won up to date. For when you are freed from yourself, you enjoy great liberty of the mind, heart, and spirit, and can handle whatever comes your way, knowing that God is for you. And if God is for you, who can be against you? (Romans 8:31) Nobody, that’s who!
Oh, how thrilling it is to be in freedom and no longer in bondage! How wonderful it is to now look forward to every day that comes instead of dreading every hour of the day. I can finally breathe deeply and what I breathe is peace. What a miracle.
I invite you to the same peace of mind, heart, and spirit. It is yours for the asking. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matt. 7:7) Just ask.