Step by step: the way to freedom

Getting up, putting on one’s garments, and following the Lord. That is all it takes to break free from a spiritual prison. Is it really that easy? Yes, if you believe in the strength that God provides. Following are some helpful tips from a service by the Chief Apostle.

Chained and guarded by soldiers, the man had no chance to escape. In fact, two guards were sleeping on either side of him so that he could hardly even move. But then: “Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, ‘Arise quickly!’ And his chains fell off his hands.”

This was the Bible text Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider used for his divine service in Bata (Equatorial Guinea) on 2 March 2018. He said that Peter’s deliverance is a nice image for the salvation of man here and in the beyond.

Get up! This message is for you personally

Since falling into sin, all human beings have been prisoners of the evil one. “They are bound; they cannot enter into fellowship with God.” But God has given them the wonderful light of the gospel: “Jesus, the Son of God, came on earth for you. He can deliver you from this prison of sin.”

The first step to freedom is to leave an apparently hopeless situation, the Chief Apostle explained. Let us

  • recognise: “The story of Jesus and His sacrifice and His salvation is not just a nice story. It is for me, it applies to me!”
  • profess: “Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ. I want to be saved. I want to become a Christian. I believe and want to follow Jesus.”

With such a heart’s attitude anyone can receive baptism with water, which washes away original sin, and through which God makes the chains fall off.

Put on your garments!

“But that is only the beginning of the story,” the Chief Apostle said. Now we have to put on our garments. And that means using all the resources that God has put at our disposal:

  • the gift of the Holy Spirit;
  • the strength contained in Holy Communion;
  • the strength received through prayer;
  • the blessing received when we made promises to God at our confirmation, wedding, or ordination;
  • the counsel and prayers of God’s servants.

Move forward! Don’t allow anyone to stop you

“It is not as though all your problems will be solved at the push of a button. It takes time and a constant effort.” We have to be especially careful not to let ourselves be held up by

  • the feeling of being treated unfairly.
  • the difficulty of forgiving.
  • the influence of unfavourable circumstances.
  • the impression of not making any progress.

“Enough now, I want to change. I want to move forward.” That is what is important to help us overcome such hurdles, the Chief Apostle said. “And God will bless your preparedness. And what seems impossible to you will be possible with Jesus.”

Following step by step

It is important that we follow God’s instructions consistently and practise what is preached. “Step by step you will be able to renounce the sin you were not able to renounce before. Step by step you can accept the thoughts of Jesus and renounce your faults. Step by step you will be able to forgive and to be reconciled. And step by step you will be able to serve the Lord more and better than ever before.”

“If we follow Christ and His word until the end, we will enter the kingdom of God and share eternal fellowship with Him,” Chief Apostle Schneider said in conclusion. “That is my wish for all of us. Please get up and act accordingly.”

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