By Gene Markland
I remember reading about how they train young elephants in India. The trainer would tie one of their hind legs to a tree with a thick rope. Naturally the elephant, feeling bound by the rope, would try to break free. Eventually he realizes that his attempts are useless and gradually gets accustomed to being held captive.
As the elephant ages, his restriction of movement will modify his behavior until even a simple string will be sufficient to keep him captive without resistance. The elephant could easily break the string but has convinced himself that the restraining force of the rope is greater than his own strength. So he gives up in defeat.
For many people, past events are like elephant strings. Mistakes, failures, sin, or tragedy which once bound us like thick rope, still holds us captive to the past. If we would only look again, try again, we would find that it is only string that binds us. We have the power, through Christ Jesus, to easily break free.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NLT).
When you find yourself in one of life’s ruts, stop, look down at the string that holds you, and break free. Even when we receive forgiveness for past sin in our life, often we are not so quick to forgive our self. The sin is forgiven but we allow the guilt to remain.
That string of guilt will hold us back from a deeper relationship with God. So forgive yourself, break the string of guilt and shame for God has removed the rope long ago!
We all have failures and make mistakes in our lives. Learn from them yes, but don’t allow a string of failures or a string of mistakes to hold you. Break free! Try again! You can do it!
Sin can become an old habit. If you lose the struggle to fight it, you can feel hopelessly bound. This is no way to live, so break free from the string of habitual sin. The Bible says, “Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up” (Hebrews 12:1 NLT).
Rip off those strings and be free in Christ! Freedom from guilt is yours.
There are times in every life when we experience tragedy. The loss of a loved one, or a relationship, even the loss of a job can have a debilitating effect on us. We can become so bound by the triple threaded rope of grief, sorrow, and regret that, like the elephant, we become accustomed to being held captive. Efforts to break free may seem fruitless and pointless.
But remember that there is hope in Christ Jesus. The Apostle Paul wrote,
“I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Philippians 3:13-14).
So try again! Press forward! Move ahead with your hopes and dreams. Break that elephant string!
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Gene is on staff in The 700 Club Prayer Counseling Center. He resides in Virginia Beach with his wife Martha and daughter Laura.
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