Passover begins Monday evening. My family will sit down to a meal of tradition and ritual that is rife with messages of freedom, rescue, and salvation. The Passover is a story of freedom from slavery; a story of freedom from sin, freedom from bondage to the world. When Moses said, “let my people go!” it was a mere echo of God’s own voice ringing loud in the heavens, “let my people go!”
Each year, we celebrate the Passover as freed believers in Christ, and each year, God reveals new truths to us through this feast. It is one of the primary reasons we so enjoy celebrating God’s appointed times. The feasts are His appointments with us; when we show up, God is there waiting for us with blessings beyond measure.
This year, is no different, and yet, it is. This year, God is teaching me deeper truths about how slavery changes people and strips them of their humanity, powerful truths in understanding and fighting modern day slavery, but even more powerful truths to set us all free so we can set others free in Christ! This year, God is showing me places in my life that I have not surrendered to Him, that continue to shackle me in slavery to my enemy. It is only in total surrender to God, who created us, that we can find true freedom, and be used mightily in the rescue of His people.
Join Me in this Pass-over Journey:
The Israelites were under a yoke of slavery for 400 years in Egypt. At the time of their great rescue, that generation of slaves had been born into slavery. Their parents and grandparents, and generations before, had all been born into slavery as well. They knew nothing else beyond stories that seemed like fairy tales of a God who had long forgotten them. They had lived in Egypt so long that they had become slaves in body, mind and spirit.
When God looked at the Israelites, 4,000 years ago in Egypt, He saw a vast group of people, His people, who had slavery so deeply entrenched in their consciousness that their own enslavement may not have occurred to them. It was just how things were. It was their way of life. This is clear in the fact that they desired to return to Egypt so many times as they struggled in their journey away from their enslavement.
The Israelites either didn’t know or didn’t care that they were enslaved if they wanted to return to it. They simply knew it was their way of life, and they had grown comfortable and complacent in it. In fact, they had learned to trust their masters, and distrust everyone else. This slavery mindset is explained well in the words of Harriet Tubman, who famously states, “I freed a thousand slaves. I would’ve freed a thousand more, if they only knew they were slaves.” †
Slavery changes people. It changes their mindset. As a slave, you feel powerless, downtrodden, unimportant and worthless. You lose hope, and your humanity, and begin to accept that this is just how it is. You become complacent and unwilling to work to improve your circumstances. This happens because a slave master controls his slaves through fear, distrust and envy †. He simultaneously destroys trust in the outside world and in other slaves, while he develops their trust in only him. He may create circumstances to demonstrate and teach these beliefs, ensuring a slave who will be compliant and who will never consider changing his or her circumstances.
A modern day example is the sex trafficking victim who receives a business card with a phone number one day. It comes as an offer of help and hope. “If you ever escape, call this number. I’ve heard they help people.” One day, the captive makes a run for it. She sees an opportunity and runs as fast as she can. She calls the phone number. A person comes and picks her up. She is comforted for a moment, only to be re-trafficked, beaten and returned to her former master. It was a set-up. She, the slave, learns that nobody can be trusted, even her own instincts. She is now totally reliant upon her master, and this tragically and profoundly changes her.
4,000 years ago, God needed someone to lead the way, to take up the charge, a Jew, but not a slave – someone who could see their enslavement from the outside – someone like Moses. God was able to use Moses because he wasn’t a slave. His mindset hadn’t been altered by slavery. Slavery wasn’t just how things were. It wasn’t just a way of life. He knew what freedom looked like and he wanted the Israelites, his own people, to know it too. He was still a free man in body, but also in mind and in spirit, and that is precisely the kind of person God can use.
It is also why we need Jesus. Moses may have echoed God’s voice 4,000 years ago as he said, “Let my people go,” but Jesus’ death on the cross echoes this statement still today. Jesus’ cry is “Let my people go!”
It is easy for us to say we are not slaves anymore. It is easy for us to read the words of the Bible, where it says “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” In fact, it is so hard for us to see ourselves as slaves, that we think our struggles are just our way of life, just how things are. We say, we aren’t slaves! We’re free! Yet, I argue, the church largely walks around as slaves still today. We walk around powerless, downtrodden, unimportant, worthless. We lose hope, we lose the humanity as a creation made in God’s image, and we begin to accept that this is just how it is. We become complacent and unwilling to improve our spiritual circumstances. And our slave master, the devil, has perfected his control over us through fear, distrust and envy.
Satan has conditioned the church, the Bride of Christ, to quietly and without objection accept harmful beliefs for themselves as the natural order of things. We’ve been conditioned to accept Satan’s view and beliefs about ourselves, and to persuade others within our midst to accept Satan’s view as well. And THIS is the definition of a slavery mindset. It is a prison of the mind.†
This slavery comes in the form of pride, selfishness, materialism, addiction, bitterness, and all forms of worldliness. We each have our struggle. Maybe it’s addiction, maybe it’s bitterness; for me, it is pride, and that is something I must seek to lay down daily in order to walk in freedom.
Pride says, “I don’t need help, I’ve got this!” Pride says, “It’s not my fault.” Pride says, “Don’t worry about me.” Pride says, “I can take care of my own needs.” Pride says, “I can control this.” As I seek to continually lay it down this Passover season and beyond, I must remember, “I need Jesus, I’ve got nothing. Alone, I can do nothing. Alone, anything I can do, is meaningless. I need help. I am wrong. I messed up. I sinned.” It says, “I give up control of my life. Jesus, take it all.” And it is here, in total surrender, a surrender that requires daily commitment, and a willingness to go all-in, that we find real freedom. No longer is it about me. Now, it is all about Him!
Maybe you’re better than me. Maybe you have laid it all down at His feet, surrendered every area of your life and are walking in total freedom today, but if you aren’t experiencing true joy and peace, and walking in His love and power in every area, ask Him where your shackles are still holding tight. Be released from the yoke of slavery today and run through those parted waters to freedom.
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†”Do you suffer from slave mentality”, at www.pullyourownstrings.com.