"Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom)."
- 2 Corinthians 3:17 AMP
A dear neighbor of mine was telling me recently about the break-up she had with a long-term companion. She had truly loved this man, but over the course of time, their relationship had deteriorated, and had become very destructive to her and her walk with Christ. When she confided in me that there were times when he still called her and asked her to reconcile--and she was tempted to give in--I suddenly blurted out, "Don't go back to Egypt!" This woman knew that the Lord was speaking to her through me, and she took His warning to heart, and abandoned the idea of reuniting with the man.
It's hard to believe that after God miraculously delivered the children of Israel from their Egyptian captors, they were tempted to go back to their bondage in Egypt. (Numbers 14:2-4) Their exodus was not an easy one, and there were many challenges along the way. Even though their godly leader, Moses, reminded them constantly about God's promise to protect and provide for them through thick and thin, the Israelites continually complained and commented that they would have been better off had they remained in Egypt. They quickly forgot the cruel treatment and slavery they endured at the hands of their enemies, and they thumbed their noses at the Promised Land that the Lord had in store for them.
This scenario seems almost unbelievable, but many Christians today are doing the same thing. They cry out to the Lord in their trouble, as the Israelites cried out to God, and then when He miraculously delivers them, they struggle with the temptation to go back to the destructive habits and lifestyles that they desperately wanted to escape. I have been guilty of this very thing myself. One example is when I pleaded with the Lord to take away my desire for sweets. After struggling for so long, I finally decided to cooperate with God for my deliverance, no matter what it took. The Lord showed me how to literally "fast" from sweets whenever I was tempted to overindulge. This strategy was an answer to my prayers--until one day, I began getting "sloppy" with my eating, and I was in danger of seriously backsliding. As clear as day, I heard the Holy Spirit almost shout at me inside my own spirit-- "Don't go back to Egypt!" It was enough to jolt me back to reality, and to help me decide to get back on track.
Perhaps you can relate to my experience. The Lord has delivered you from an ungodly habit or relationship, and you feel yourself slipping back into your old ways. Let me be the one to tell you today that you are not at the mercy of your old habits. If you have received Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you are filled and equipped with the Spirit of the living God, and you can accomplish things in His strength and power that will amaze you. The apostle Paul declared: "I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]." (Philippians 4:13 AMP) Once you get a revelation of the Risen Christ living on the inside of you, God's strength will overcome your weaknesses. The best way to get this kind of revelation is to have your mind renewed by the Word of God. Study it, memorize it, meditate on it, and apply to every area of your life. Jesus said the truth would set us free (John 8:36), and keeping our minds and hearts focused on the truth will bring the ultimate freedom. Then we've got to make up our minds to stand fast in that freedom, as the Bible instructs. "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1 NIV) Are you struggling with the temptation to backslide today? If you listen carefully, you just might hear the voice of God's precious Spirit pleading with you--"Don't go back to Egypt..."
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that Your Holy Spirit enables me with the same power that raised Christ from the dead. (Ephesians 1:19-20) Help me to renew my mind with the truth of Your Word, so that I can stand strong against the temptations that come my way. Thank You for Your promise which says that I will succeed because of Your Spirit! (Zechariah 4:6 TLB)
- J. M. Farro