By Stephanie Parker
Today is the best study of the whole week, in my opinion! Beth Moore brings everything together in an amazing way and foreshadows the freedom that awaits us if we continue to diligently seek God! We’ve been learning about some of the kings of Judah and how their personal areas of spiritual captivity resulted in the entire nation becoming physical captives of the Assyrians and the Babylonians. Even the most well-meaning kings struggled with idolatry, pride and unbelief. You see, if we aren’t willing to deal with our spiritual captivity now, we will end up in a deeper, generational bondage that will be much harder to break free from later.

I mentioned that before I started this study (when I did it the first time), I didn’t think I had much, or anything, to be “broken free” from because I wasn’t an addict, or compulsive liar or anything. What I discovered was that there were many things keeping me from truly living the free and abundant life Christ desires to give us. To review, here are a few areas that can keep us in spiritual bondage and in need of freedom (I personally have struggled with ALL of these things at different times and to different degrees in my life):
• pride
• jealousy
• insecurities
• selfishness
• unexposed sins
• generational bondage
• anger
• unforgiveness
• anxiety and fear
• discontentment or dissatisfaction with various aspects of your life (your marriage, your appearance, your finances, etc.)
• a desire for perfection
• a desire for excess (sin always happens in excess... excess shopping, drinking, etc.)
• a draw to the approval and acclaim of others above God (becoming addicted to the social media "Likes")
• finding your self-worth in your role as a mom or wife or your job instead of finding it in Christ.

I’m sure everyone can relate to at least one of these areas of captivity. The thing is, none of us can truly overcome bondage in our own strength. God’s power always trumps will power! Beth says, “We’ve learned something important from our study of Judah’s kings. Not even the best were sufficient. Not even the most honorable were holy. Not even the most humble were immune to pride.” She goes on to point out, “Like Israel and Judah, much of our own captivity is caused by failure to remove obstacles of unbelief, pride, idolatry, prayerlessness, and Spirit-quenching legalism; yet God still woos us to a spacious place free of earthly bonds.”

We are thoroughly incapable of removing these obstacles in our own strength, BUT GOD is able! “But Jesus said, ‘What is impossible with man is possible with God’” (Luke 18:27).

God knew that he’d have to send a Savior, a Deliverer, to truly free us because we couldn’t do it on our own.
I love how beautifully God foreshadowed the ministry of Jesus around 700 years before he arrived to the Earth! God connected the physical captivity of the Jewish people to the spiritual captivity that Jesus would come to deliver us from! Only God could seamlessly weave his Word together like that! It’s no mistake that one of the first public speaking engagement in Jesus’ ministry featured the words that God spoke to the captives of Judah.

Read Isaiah 61:1-4 and then read what Jesus read to begin his ministry that led him to the cross (Luke 4:14-21):

“He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the captives free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’”

DROP THE MIC.

Do you see how profound that is!? People’s eyes were fixed on Jesus because something in their spirits told them, ‘this is the One! The One we have been waiting for for 700 years!’

God cared SO MUCH about our spiritual bondage that he had a plan in place from the minute Eve chose to take a bite from that fruit in the Garden of Eden. He wanted us to be free and stay free from the very beginning, but we chose a different path. We chose sin. But God never gave up on us. It’s the most epic love story of all time!

Lamentations 3:33 says, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end”

My daughter’s little Storybook Bible refers to God’s steadfast love as, “Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.”

"For God SO LOVED the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Jesus is the answer to all of our bondage and our captivity and he holds the key to freedom:

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

So, if you are willing, to open your heart to him, Jesus can and will set you free to live the abundant life he promised to those who believe. You stand to lose more than you’d gain by not laying your heart at His feet.

Dear Jesus,
THANK YOU! My heart is overflowing with gratitude for how you have never given up on me no matter what…how you deeply desire to see your children walking in freedom! Please God, open the eyes of those in captivity and let them cling to you until you set them free. Reveal any areas of captivity and sin in my heart and lead me to the way of everlasting! Amen.

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Stephanie Parker has three main loves: God, her husband, Brett and her kids!  When Stephanie created the Zipadee-Zip in an effort to solve her daughter, Charlotte's, sleep issues, she never imagined that it would become a business.  She is incredibly grateful to God for how Sleepingbaby.com has grown and how it has enabled other families to get the restful sleep they need.   Stephanie's husband, Brett Parker assumed the role of CEO which has allowed Stephanie to focus on what she loves which is the creative side of the company, like product and print development.  After the Zipadee-Zip was featured on Shark Tank, Stephanie went on to create the book Shepherd's Treasure, a Christian alternative to Elf on the Shelf. In her free time, Stephanie loves to spend time with her family and friends.  Her hobbies include acting, singing, painting, learning and speaking foreign languages and going on adventures with her family!  You will find her all summer waterskiing, fishing and laughing with her family on the weekends.