Self-Imposed Bondage


I have been experiencing a one woman revival this summer.

Jesus has used an incredible author named Paul David Tripp to introduce me to my true self and in the process, shine His beautiful and healing Light into a heart that was in need of divine tending. (more on that in posts to come).

I have never known such peace and joy in my 34 years of following Christ.  Everyone in my life has noticed the difference…especially those who live with me everyday!

As I was reading Tripp’s  book Instruments In the Redeemer’s Hands this morning, this question stopped me dead in my tracks:

“In the face of powerful emotions and desires, what will we do? As sons and daughters of the King, will we live in self-imposed bondage to our emotions?”

That was a “eureka!” moment for me.

I have lived in self-imposed bondage to my emotions for most of my life.

I am by nature a passionate person. I feel things very deeply. Generally, anyone in my vicinity knows what I am feeling too. (And sometimes that has not been pretty).

For so long, I didn’t feel like I could control my emotions. I often consented to go along with whatever ride they wanted to take me on.

That’s a tough way to live. It is also not the way Jesus calls His followers to live.

Tripp goes on to ask, “Will we submit to the mastery of our sinful desires?”  (That is exactly what the enemy wants us to do, by the way).

“OR…will we grab hold of the promises of the gospel and turn in a completely different direction?”  (That is exactly what Jesus wants us to do).

Whatever kingdom you are currently serving will determine which route you follow.

In his powerful, convicting, and beautifully written book The Quest For More: Living For Something Bigger Than You, Tripp teaches that each of us lives for one of two kingdoms every single day: your kingdom (that is only the size of your life) or God’s kingdom (which is the size of eternity).

The little kingdom of self is ruled by your wants and desires. In that case, you are ruled by your emotions and what is best for you. Your world is actually very small and filled with frustration because the rest of the world hasn’t received the memo that you are the center of all things.

The big Kingdom of God is ruled by wanting to please the One who created all things and redeemed you at such a great cost. In that case, you are lovingly and joyfully ruled by your Savior and your chief aim and passionate pursuit is to bring glory to His matchless Name. Your world is actually huge and filled with joy because you are fulfilling your destiny, the very reason you have been created.

For years I lived for the little kingdom of self, all the while thinking I was living for the big Kingdom of God. Oh how subtle and deceitful the heart can be! (Jeremiah 17:9).

But now that Jesus in His amazing grace has revealed the truth to me, I have walked away from that little kingdom without looking back.  I have no desire to ever return to its claustrophobic confines, now that He is showing me what it looks like to choose His Kingdom every day.

It is glorious.

As a result, no more self-imposed bondage to my emotions. No more allowing circumstances to dictate my mood. No more feelings of helplessness in the wake of powerful negative emotions that beg to be acted upon.

I cannot tell you how GOOD freedom feels!

My one job description as a Christ follower is obedience to His Word that flows from a fully surrendered heart that is totally in love Him.

He tells me to love Him and love my neighbor as myself. Then He gives me the grace and power to do just that. (Philippians 4:13).

Unleashing a flood of negative emotions on those around me is NOT loving them. That is Satan’s way.

Giving powerful negative emotions full entrance into my mind, creating untold amounts of worry and fear is NOT Jesus’ way. That is Satan’s way.

As Bible teacher James MacDonald might say, “Down with Satan’s way!”

The good news of the resurrected Christ allows me to choose another, far better way. I can say “no” to being ruled by my emotions as I serve the little kingdom of self and say “yes!” to Jesus whose spirit is joined to mine and  and serve Him and His purposes in the strength He provides.

Take a good look at your life today. In what areas are you allowing your emotions to rule? Why? What is the payoff for you? (hint: it’s nothing good).

Can you choose today to release yourself from your self-imposed bondage to their chaotic rule?

You do this by drawing close to Jesus and choosing to submit to how He would have you live, which He clearly outlines in His love letter to you.

And do yourself a favor: order Paul David Tripp’s A Quest For More as soon as possible. You will be so glad you did!

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6 Comments

Filed under Devotions

6 responses to “Self-Imposed Bondage

  1. Amen and Amen Susan… and VERY nicely written! For some time now I have been practicing the art of actin in live as opposed to REacting. You are very right… In Jesus path… what a glorious place to be!!!!!
    God bless you and yours,
    Claudia

    • Thank you, Claudia! I’m glad to hear that you have experienced what I was writing about! It is such a wonderful and peaceful way to live, isn’t it? Here’s to action, not reaction! 🙂
      Blessings,
      Susan
      P.S. If you read Paul Tripp’s book, let me know what you think!

  2. ~marg~

    This reminded me of one of my many favorite quotes: A mind is a lousy master, but a wonderful servant. Great post! Sounds like a wonderful book! I’d be interested in hearing some concrete ways you thought you were living for the kingdom but realized you weren’t. Hope that’s what some of your future posts will include. I need practical examples to “get it”. What I’m trying to say is, without having to read the book, I want to know what that looks like to see if I am being deceived as well.

    By the way…are you free the week after next? 🙂

  3. Such a powerful, sweet post. Love your blog.

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