Living in a Straightjacket

John W. Hall

It amazes me at the number of people who love bondage in religion. People who are afraid of the freedom with which Christ has set us free. Like the slaves of old who had been emancipated by the government, they are afraid they will not make it if they don't have everything provided. These people are the people who want all the pat answers for all the questions in life. They don't want to study and really don't want their children to study, just observe all the answers they have had for years. These people like to be controlled by others, like to be told what to think, what to say, how to act.

Another thing that amazes me is that along with those who love to be controlled, there are those who love to control others. These people believe that everyone should talk alike, act alike and look alike. They believe that you are worthy of the kingdom, only when you mimic them. Preachers are often times this way in respect to the schools they attend. The faithfulness of an individual is judged on the basis of whether or not you talk and believe like them.

It is sad that these people are afraid of what others will say about them. They are constantly worrying if they are not in step with "everybody" else. They are trying to act out the script that has been given to them by men instead of living out the gospel, the glorious good news of Christ. They have to analyze everything and usually wind up with a "paralysis of analysis'' and accomplish nothing for the Lord.

We must be careful that we do not allow others to "spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus in order to bring us into bondage" (Gal. 2:4). We must ever be faithful to the Lord and His Word. We must refuse to bow down to the "synods of men," whether in or out of the church. We must refuse to wear a straightjacket and thwart the power, the majesty, the glory of living free in Christ Jesus. "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery" (Gal. 5:1).