In my last blog post I wrote about a door, a door that had appeared before me and I found myself sitting down before it. I discussed how I knew that door was for me to walk through, but I didn’t want to walk through it on my own, I wanted Him to walk with me. Since I wrote that post I have been hearing four simple instructions; “Gird, Tie, Put On and Follow Me.” But for some reason, instead of following His directions, I have decided to chain myself to the wall and not go. I have placed upon my hands and my feet chains so that I can’t walk through this door. I have allowed my fears to become the reason for not obeying. I have allowed my fear to overcome my faith.
“Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, ‘Arise quickly!’ And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, ‘Gird yourself, and tie on your sandals,’ and so he did. And he said to him, ‘Put on your garment and follow me.’” Acts 12:7-8
Today I find that I am Peter. I am in prison, I was not put there by an enemy, but instead I have put myself into this prison. It is a prison of my own making. The Lord has clearly shown me what it is that He is asking of me and the direction that I am to go. But instead of girding myself, and going, I am stuck in this prison. I have allowed my fear to become the reason for not obeying His word to me. I believe most of us can relate to the prison I find myself in. We all have found ourselves wanting to obey the Lord and what He is telling us to do, but we are bound by the chains of fear. Or for some, the fear of discouragement, or addiction, has kept you locked up and unable to move. For me, the fear is that I will get in the way. I will become the person doing the work and not the vessel He needs me to be. I have chained myself up in this prison and the only way I am going to get out of it is by divine intervention! But, our God is an awesome God. He is a God who delivers and sets free! He knows our fears and our failures. He sees my hesitant heart and says to me, and to you, “Fear not! I am with you!” (Isaiah 41:10)
The Lord has stood by me. He has come to my side and shined the light of His grace into my prison cell. He has struck me on the side and said to me, “Arise quickly!” He has told me to go, and now I must be willing to do the rest. So many of us are stuck in the prisons of our own making, and have chained ourselves to the wall. We know that the Lord has told us to go through the door. We know that He has given us the go-ahead, but instead, we stay where it is safe and comfortable. We stay chained because we have allowed our fear to overtake our faith. I believe the Lord wants to break us out of these prisons and these chains and give us the encouragement we need to follow Him. But the only way we can do that is to do what He is telling us, and that is to “Gird ourselves, tie on our shoes, put on our clothes and go!”
The word “gird” means to tie up one’s garments so that they do not hinder your walking. What hinders us from walking through the doors of our lives? What hinders you from taking that step through the open door of this prison? Is it fear? Is there a sin that has you bound? Whatever it is that hinders us, the Lord says that He has freed us from it. The scripture tells us that after the angel had struck Peter on the side his chains fell off. The Lord Jesus has been struck for us, and has set us free from the chains that bind us. The only thing that stops us is ourselves, and the chains of our own making. The chains have fallen off, now we must gird ourselves and get ready to move. Whatever the hindrance is that keeps you from walking; remove it from your life. If it is fear, then know and believe that you have nothing to fear. (God tells us “Fear not” 365 times in His word- one for each day of the year!)
Next, He tells us to tie on our sandals. Shod your feet with His word, with His truth, with the promises that He has given you, and walk the path that He has laid before you. The only thing that ever stops us from walking is us. We are the reason we do not step out in faith, we are the reason that we are in the prisons and bound in chains. He has freed us from every chain we could ever think of. We choose to stay in them. We must put on the shoes He has provided for us so that we can walk. These shoes are His word, and if we do not shod our feet daily with these shoes, then we will have a very rocky road, and our feet will hurt. We won’t want to walk if we don’t have our shoes on.
Lastly, He tells us to follow Him. The only way out of these prisons and chains is to follow Him. He has gone this way before. He has walked this path before you. He knows the end from the beginning. There is nothing that will come upon you that He has not put His seal of approval on. Nothing happens to us that does not pass through the approving hands of our Father first. He knows the path that you are to take, because He created it. He knows the turns, the gates that need opened, the hills you will have to travel, and the stops you will have to make along the way. He goes before us. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) He goes before us, He goes behind us and He has made the way for us to walk. All we have to do is leave the chains in the prison and go!
To do the work the Lord has called us to do, to be able to walk through that door that is before us we must lay down these chains and walk through the doors of this prison. The doors are wide open- will you walk through them? We must step out of these chains, and be free. He has set us free; the only reason why we are still in prison is because we choose to be. The Lord will lead us out; He will guide us and hold our hands the whole way. “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand,” saying to you, “Fear not, I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13)
This door that is before me is opened and now I must follow Him through it. I must gird up, tie my shoes, put on the garments He has given me and follow Him. The reason I am still sitting here is because I have allowed my fear to chain me up and throw me in prison. Our God is a God who delivers. He does not look at you in the midst of your prison and say, “Sorry, can’t help.” He looks at you, at me, sitting in our prisons and says, “Your chains are gone, you’ve been set free. I am your God, your Savior, I haveransomed thee.” Let us make today a day where we lay down our chains, gird ourselves, tie the sandals of His word to our feet, adorn ourselves with the attire He has provided and follow Him. It is the only way for us to truly be free to walk through the door He has opened for you and me.
Father I pray, that whatever chains are holding us, whatever prisons we find ourselves in today that we would hear Your voice and come out from among the darkness and into the glorious light of Your mercy and grace. There are no chains; there is no prison that can keep us from You. May we gird ourselves, tie our shoes, put on our garments and follow You. In Jesus Name, amen and amen.