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“He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the downtrodden will be freed from their oppressors, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” Luke 4:18b-19 (NLT)

When we are away from home our youngest dog (Lilly, a 110 pound lab mix) stays in her crate. It is better this way for her and for our house. She often times can be found in her crate when we are home and when I put my shoes on she goes in without even having to be asked. She knows I’m leaving and that is where she will be. When she was little we had to train her to know that her crate was her place to stay. At first, she wanted nothing to do with it. You had to coax her to even come near the crate. So we employed a very powerful technique, bribery. We used a treat and lured her into the crate. Once she was in, we gave her the treat and closed the door. From that point on she was confined. The lure of the treat was more than she could resist and she paid the price with her freedom.

This is the way it is with the lure of sin. It’s difficult to resist because a lot of times it looks so tempting. We get fixated and in doing so get lured in. But before we know it we have lost our freedom. When we give in to the lure of sin we find ourselves trapped, shamed, guilty, and in bondage to that very thing that looked so alluring. We become captives, blind to the very sin that enslaves us, and oppressed by our own hurts, habits, and hang ups. We buy into the lie that being able to do whatever we want is freedom. In all reality it is exactly what causes us to be trapped.

Advent is a time to reflect on God’s unfailing love for us through Jesus Christ, our Savior. God loved us enough to make a way to set us free, free from sin and death. That way is Jesus Christ. Jesus sets us free. How amazing is it to spend time anticipating the coming of the One who has set us free? Even more amazing is helping those who do not yet know what this freedom looks and feels like. Stop and think for just a moment how absolutely incredible it would be to be a part of leading someone who is trapped see the light. Freedom is an amazing reality that not everyone has experienced. It is our privilege to be sent by God to join with Jesus in leading people to freedom.

Who are you sharing this Advent season with? Who are you showing the light? What captive are you helping to set free this Advent?

I look forward to continuing our series, Sent: Delivering the Gift of Hope, with you this week as we look at how Jesus was sent to set us free.

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