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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sparkling Gems February 11:  Set the Spiritual Hostages Free!


   Thursday, 11 February
  

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Set the Spiritual Hostages Free!
…For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. — 1 John 3:8
Multitudes of people in this world today are held hostage in their minds by the devil. They are incarcerated, locked up, and caged in their minds and emotions, held like slaves, prisoners, or detainees who are under arrest and live at the mercy of their conqueror.

I couldn’t begin to count the people I’ve met through the years who fit that description. Although they belong to Jesus and legally have every right to freedom, they remain in spiritual bondage, at least in some measure, in certain areas of their lives. Whether they persisted in a particular sin or failed to do something they should have done (such as read the Word, pray, or stay in fellowship with other saints), their minds were pried open wide enough for Satan to find an inroad and take that part of their minds captive.

You see, the mind is the primary area Satan seeks to attack. He knows that once he succeeds in planting a stronghold of deception in some area of a person’s mind, from that lofty position he can then begin to control and manipulate that person. The Bible calls this kind of deception in the mind a “stronghold” (2 Corinthians 10:4). It is a “stronghold” because once a lie is planted in someone’s head, it is very hard to remove!

But First John 3:8 says that Jesus came into the world “…that he might destroy the works of the devil”! I want you to particularly notice the word “destroy” in this verse. It is taken from the Greek word luo, which refers to the act of untying or unloosing something. It was used in classical Greek literature to refer to people being delivered, released, or freed from difficulties, burdens, or needs.

In the New Testament, the word luo was used to depict the untying of the thongs of a shoe or sandal in Mark 1:7; the unfastening of a donkey’s colt in Matthew 21:2; the loosening, unraveling, and removal of Lazarus’ grave clothes in John 11:44; and the taking away of Paul’s chains in Acts 22:30. But the Greek word luo also means to break or to destroy, as in Revelation 5:2, where the Bible says that Jesus is worthy to “loose” (or break) the seals referred to in the book of Revelation.

One of the clearest examples of the word luo is found in Luke 3:16, when John the Baptist says, “…But one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose….” The word luo is translated here “to unloose.” It is the picture of someone who reaches down to unloose the tight strings of a sandal; then he begins to unwrap those strings from the shoe until finally the shoe becomes so loosened that it easily slips off his foot.

Now let’s look at First John 3:8, the verse we are focusing on today. Here the Bible uses the word luo when it says, “…For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” This tells us that when Jesus Christ came into the world, He came to untie and unloose Satan’s binding powers over us. His objective was to disentangle us from Satan’s control; to unfasten us from the demonic shackles that held us captive; to unravel the chains Satan used to keep us in his grip; and to break and destroy all the fetters Satan had used to hold us hostage.

Because the word luo is used in First John 3:8, it could be taken to mean:

“...For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might untie people from all the works of the devil, unraveling Satan’s hold on them — until the devil’s works in people’s lives are utterly destroyed and his hostages are set free.”

Through His death and resurrection, Jesus’ redemptive work destroyed the power of the enemy and our liberty was fully purchased. You see, setting people free from Satan’s power has always been Jesus’ primary concern. First John 3:8 declares that this was the purpose that the Son of God was manifested on this earth. Since this is His concern, it should also be ours.

So many people in this world today are incarcerated, locked up and caged in their minds and emotions. They are held like slaves or prisoners, living at the mercy of their conqueror. Therefore, it is time for you to learn how to recognize the devil’s strategies in other people’s minds and lives. Jesus came to set people free, and God wants to use you to take the delivering power of God to them so the works of the devil can be destroyed in their lives.

The mind may be the devil’s preferred battlefield, but you can make sure he loses every skirmish! Just determine today to be a willing vessel God can use to free spiritual hostages from demonic oppression!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, please help me to be conscious of the people I meet who are bound by the devil in their minds. I know that You want to use me to touch them and to bring them the freedom that can be found only in You. I am so sorry for the times I get so busy that I fail to recognize opportunities to speak Your name and to share Your love with people who are lost and bound. Please help me to become consistently alert to the people for whom You died and to go out of my way to tell them the Good News that will deliver them and set them free.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I am alert to the people around me who are held as hostages in their minds. I see their struggles; I recognize their fears; and I use every available opportunity to speak words of freedom and release into their lives. I have received so much from the Lord; now it is my responsibility to share this same liberty with others who come into my life. I know this is what God is asking of me, and I choose to start obeying this mandate today.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO ANSWER
1. Can you think of people you know or have known who live like spiritual hostages?

2. Has the Holy Spirit ever told you to minister to any of these individuals? How did you respond to His instructions and what was the result?

3. Why not make a list of the people you know who need to be set free from Satan’s bondage and then ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to bring freedom to them?
 
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