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Northshore Community Church

Week 1: Wednesday

Lent Reflections

Set Free

The Exodus story is a journey from slavery to life in the Promised Land, but that story highlights how there is a process that Israel must go through so they can inhabit the Promised Land properly. Even though Israel was set free from their bondage in Egypt, they still lived with an enslaved mentality. The wilderness was meant to be a purifying journey so that they could learn to live freely.

As Christians we are meant to think about our spiritual life as following that same Exodus journey. Paul writes in Galatians 5:1 – “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” In other words, it is possible to be set free by Jesus only to slip back into patterns of bondage in our lives. At this first stage of our Lent season, we want to become aware of what our enslavement can be.

While there are many manifestations of enslavement, we’ve identified 4 common ways we can be enslaved: bitterness, image, fear, and religion. Read the following statements and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal which you identify with.

Bitterness
I hold grudges or resentment based on how people have treated me. I cannot feel joy because of how my past circumstances have been. My pain and hurt control my life.

Image
My value is tied to what other people think of me. I make my decisions based on a desire to be accepted, wanted, and loved. My biggest fear is if people really knew me, they’d reject me.

Fear
I am constantly concerned with how things could go wrong. I carry a deep burden to control every aspect of my life. I allow my desire to be safe and secure to override my need to be known by others and take steps of faith.

Religion
I feel a heavy burden of rules and obligations. I believe God loves me contingent on how I performed this week. I have a chronic sense of guilt and insecurity. I carry a judgmental spirit towards people who also do not measure up.


Reflect
1. Which set of statements did I identify with? Did feel the Holy Spirit put a different version of enslavement on my heart?
2. In your journal, write a corresponding statement of what freedom looks like for each category. For example, I release people from the ways they have treated me, even if they have not sought forgiveness or I know God loves me unconditionally.
3. Ask God to give you a willing heart to journey from enslavement into freedom.
4. Spend time praying that you will trust God in the process.

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