“It is idle to say that men are of equal value. If value is taken in a worldly sense—if we mean that all men are equally useful or beautiful or good or entertaining—then it is nonsense. If it means that all are of equal value as immortal souls, then I think it conceals a dangerous error. The infinite value of each human soul is not a Christian doctrine. God did not die for man because of some value He perceived in him. The value of each human soul considered simply in itself, out of relation to God, is zero. As St. Paul writes, to have died for valuable men would have been not divine but merely heroic; but God died for sinners. He loved us not because we were lovable, but because He is Love. It may be that He loves all equally—He certainly loved all to the death—and I am not certain what the expression means. If there is equality, it is in His love, not in us.
—from “Membership” (The Weight of Glory) by C.S Lewis
What holds you captive? Strange question, perhaps, but a reasonable one. Looking at the people around me I can see a lot of things that they could be captive to: work, Facebook status, approval of others, even their own dreams. If we look at the world in relation to something and make our choices based on that thing then really we have become captive to it.
I have been contemplating how some people base who they are on their relationships (or lack thereof in the single world) and I think this is a dangerous thing. Relationships change, they wax and wane, they grow, they fade, they’re ever changing. If you’ve longed for a relationship for a long time and finally find one, the danger to you if you base who you are on that relationship is that if anything changes in that relationship your self esteem and even your sense of self could be damaged.
Sometimes even our relationship with God can be affected by this. If we base who we are on our Christian practices, like the fact that we go to church every Sunday, pray every night before bed and go to Bible study faithfully, then it is possible that these practices might be holding us captive. Don’t misunderstand me, these are very good things but we should ask ourselves, ‘Why do I do these things?’ To look better in the eyes of others? If so, you’re captive to the approval of others. To earn God’s love for you? Then you’re captive to pride (‘me do, me do!’).
As the above CS Lewis quote says, we make an error if we think that we are anything in the eyes of God because of ourselves. It is entirely because of who He is that we can come into His presence. If we base our life on becoming worthy of God’s love, not only have we missed the point but we’ll be wasting our time. Even worse, if we are held back from His freedom because we are captive by a sense of unworthiness we will miss out entirely on His plan for us. We must come to the place of freedom in Christ. Part of this freedom is relinquishing our captivity in feeling that we earned or are earning His love. Coming to the place of truly accepting God’s infinite grace even though we can’t understand it is freedom like no other. This is why John 8:36 says, so if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (NIV)
I challenge you this week to honestly answer these questions to yourself–What am I captive to? What can I do to change my focus to freedom in Christ? And I hope you become free indeed!