I have been enslaved to many things in my life.
Pride. Selfishness. Suicidal depression. Abuse. Assault. Anger. Bitterness. Heartbreak. Despair. Greed. Envy. An eating disorder. Fear. Insecurity. Anxiety.
All of these things add up to one, ultimate enslavement: sin. Whether the pain of enslavement was brought about by another person (like suicidal depression during abuse) or myself (bitterness after the abuse), that list rolls up into one magnificently terrible package of enslavement to the evil of human hearts.
In the Bible, Ephesians chapter 2, the Apostle Paul wrote this to the Christ followers in Ephesus:
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
I still struggle. I am still battling the pain of my past. But I am no longer enslaved. I have been saved from that slavery by the person and work of Jesus Christ. I have been saved -promised pardon from all of my sins- by grace through faith in the kindness God expressed through his Son, Jesus Christ.
*The article linked above is an excerpt from Mike Wilkerson’s book Redemption: Freed by Jesus from the Idols We Worship and the Wounds We Carry.