The woman before me in a checkout line was returning a carton of cigarettes.
Were they the wrong brand?
No, she had quit smoking.
Unable to conceal my approval of what was happening, I congratulated this young former smoker on her decision to break free from a bondage that had been holding her in its killing grip.
Then an unusual drama unfolded. Money was taken from the cash register and given to the one who had declared her independence from tobacco use. This was likely the first time in her life when cigarette money had come her way. And this act signaled another dimension to her newfound freedom: she had not only found strength to stop using a controlling substance but had added to the quality of her life by moving toward financial stability. No longer would her earnings go up in smoke. She was finally free.
Cecil Moe grew up on a ranch in Oregon. He says his early life was filled with love and security, but the deaths of his mother and younger sister changed everything. His father's remarriage to a woman who physically and verbally abused him added to his problems and started him on the road to depression and alcohol dependency.
Years later, when his wife told him she was leaving and would seek a divorce, taking along their three sons, Cecil decided to end his life but, fearing death, he called a minister to ask for help. Cecil's call of desperation saved both his life and his marriage.
When the caring pastor opened his Bible, Cecil concluded there would be no help there but when this concerned new friend began reading a Bible verse that Cecil's mother had taught him as a child, he knew he was in the right place and responded in faith to the loving words being read to him, ending his long bondage to alcohol.
Cecil's encounter with God that night in the minister's home so changed him that he's spent all the years since helping others find faith and freedom. Now, in his eighties, Cecil carries on an active prison ministry, bringing hope to those in both physical and spiritual bondage. Retirement isn't in Cecil's plan for the future. He's too busy setting people free. A movie has been made of his life that has taken his story of freedom through faith to thousands.
Many former slaves have found freedom in faith. After trying self-help schemes without success they've turned to God and discovered His power to break the chains that have bound them.
None of the above battleground issues may be relevant to your struggle to be free, but you understand bondage; something has you in its grip and you wonder how to be released from this life limiting addiction.
Here's good news: your dream of personal freedom is achievable.
Long ago, Paul, the apostle, declared he was free from bondages of all kinds and expressed his full confidence that his liberty would last, writing: "I will not be brought under the power of any" (1 Corinthians 6:12). This same bondage breaking power is available to you and me.
Roger Campbell is an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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