IMPRISONED: An Excerpt from my Upcoming Book
IMPRISONED: An Excerpt from my Upcoming Book
The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book, ESCAPE: Break Free from Mediocre Christianity and Embrace the Radical, Set-Apart Life You were Made For.
Over the past several years, God has been teaching me this very important truth: we, as human beings, are formed by stories. Specifically, we are shaped by one of two stories. Our identity is the product of the story in which we choose to live. Therefore, if we want to change anything about ourselves, we have to change our story.
There are two main stories that dominate our existence. One is true, but the other is a work of fiction. I refer to these two stories as God’s Story and the Story of the World. This idea is not something I concocted on my own. The Bible references these two stories and contrasts them against one another in a relentless sort of way. In fact, the entire Bible is a story about the battle between these two stories. Perhaps, you’ve heard them referenced in their more familiar terminology: the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of the World.
Here’s the problem with the Story of the World: it is pervasive, and it is deceptive. It’s like a prison, a prison in which we are bound. You and I, we are prisoners, and there is only one thing worse than being a prisoner: not realizing that you are imprisoned.
Like in a story about two diabolically opposed kingdoms, our reality is this: there is a good King and a real enemy. This enemy would like nothing more than to keep you blissfully unaware of your enslavement. His desire is to keep you locked away in order to use you and abuse you. His plan is to completely sterilize you from your true purpose and the story your life was made to tell.
“Not me,” you say. “I’m not imprisoned and enslaved. I’m a Christian. I accepted Jesus as my savior eight years ago!”
That’s great; it really is, but here’s what I’ve found. We can be free and yet not have escaped. Just because Jesus has unlocked our prison cells, doesn’t mean we have chosen to open the door and step outside.
Escaping is a process. Like a young Indian girl who has been enslaved in the sex trade industry her entire life, we often don’t even recognize our slavery. It’s the only thing we have ever known. We may hate our mess, our lives, and our circumstances, but they are also comfortable because they are ours. In our case, the prison that holds us captive is a cell locked from the inside.
Our enslavement is a choice. If we desire our freedom, we have to be ready and willing to escape. Once we make the choice to step outside the four walls of our dark, dank prison, we have to be ready for our entire life to change. Slavery and freedom are utterly opposite. There is nothing similar about the two. When we make the choice to escape, we are, in essence, saying, “I am ready and willing to live a life that is completely antithetical to my old way life.”
What we will see as we journey together is that Jesus came to rescue us from our slavery. In essence, He came and unlocked our prison. He bound up and chained our oppressors. He came and burned the law books by which we were once judged. There are no longer any convictions against us. Our sentence has been revoked, but the door to our prison cell requires two keys. Jesus used His very life to break open the lock on the outside of the door; we have the key to unlock the inside.
Every single day, I become more and more aware of this rampant fictional story and its enslaving grip on my life. Each day I have to make a choice to escape and embrace the freedom that was given to me thousands of years ago. The truth is we are all imprisoned, no matter how free we think we are. This is the problem with the Story of the World. It’s fiction; it seems true even though it isn’t. We need our eyes to be opened. We need to wake up from this seemingly-real dream. But we can’t do it alone. That’s why I wrote this book.
The truth is we, as humans, were made for so much more! God designed us for a radical, set-apart life. He created us to live in a story that is so much bigger than us. This story is not something to be anticipated. It’s not something for us to dream about someday. God’s Story is right here and right now. We simply must choose to live in it.
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