Have you ever been trapped? I have a scar on my finger to always remind me of when I was trapped. When I was much younger I put my finger down the drain hole of the bath and of course it became trapped. I can’t remember much more after that, but somehow I managed to break free. I’ll always have that reminder on my finger.
So how do we have freedom in our lives? One of the ways to start experiencing freedom in our lives is to know what has us trapped. If you don’t know what is trapping you, then you can’t break free from it. Unfortunately, what is trapping us may not be that easy to recognise. Sometimes those traps in our lives may even be rewarded by parents, colleagues and friends. These traps are a big deal because they separate us from the people who love us and they separate from God.
Four Common Traps and How to Defeat Them
Thanks to social media, reality TV and printed media, gossip is no longer a bad habit but an easy way to make a living. However, we move to a different beat you see as people who love Jesus. We’re called to live by Jesus’ standard. Our words have the power to build others up or tear them down. The book of James in the New Testament of the Bible puts it like this, “The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark (James 3:5).” Instead of using our words to set a fire of negativity, we can use them to start a fire of inspiration and kindness.
When we hear gossip we need to stop it right at that moment, or turn those negative words into words of affirmation about the person. Instead of gossiping, pray for the person. By praying for people, we see them the way God sees them, which makes it extremely hard to speak ill of them. You might also need to change your friends. If the only thing holding your friends together is the people you dislike, possibly a friendship change could be in order.
Paul writes in Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself.” Pride blocks us from seeing how God is working in and through our lives, because it become all about us. When we attribute all of our success and achievements to ourselves, we forget who the Lord our God is and what He does in our lives.
Practice putting others first by learning to serve. Serving others teaches us humility and crushes the pride that diminishes God’s greatness.
Throughout life there is always something to be worried about. It is a trust thing. When we worry, we are telling God we don’t trust Him to take care of us and provide for us. By worrying it is kind of saying to God, “I can handle this problem on my own. I don’t need your help.”
God is able to handle our worries way better than we ever could. 1 Peter 5:6 says that we should “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” One of the best ways I’ve found to stop my worrying is to pray. When you find yourself worrying, remember the times God was faithful to you in the past. These memories are the best reminder for His future provision.
This is a big one! Anger can easily get in the way of our walk with Jesus and our story to others.
Ephesians 4:26-27 says it this way, “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the evil one a foothold.” When something or someone upsets you, think before you act, so it is not a reaction. Consider the other person’s story and what might be happening in their lives or how this particular situation could in fact be a hidden blessing. Rather than letting your anger overtake you, talk it out, think it out, listen to the other person and ‘react’ as calmly as possible.
Let’s try and see what traps us and escape before we get caught.
-Simon Hutton, Chaplain