Understanding the Cage

“Sometimes the cages of the past prevent us from living in the freedom of the present.”

Though I don’t remember where I read this quote, I cannot forget the impact it made on my thinking. It helped me realize that I was allowing my past to not only define my present but to also direct my future. How did I know this was happening?

  • Unhealthy patterns were shaping my thinking.
  • Self-isolation dominated my existence.
  • Self-focus blocked out seeing others’ perspectives.
  • Dysfunctional relationships became unbearable.

In Galatians 5, slavery to the law is a cage of the past. Following all of the law, which isn’t possible, and being consumed with outward appearances are not ways to please God. In fact, attempting to do so keeps us from living in the freedom Christ won for us.

This freedom equates to living in the Spirit and receiving what was promised through faith in Christ. We’re even given a priority in verse 6 to help us focus on doing this.

“What is important is faith expressing itself in love.”

Living in Freedom

So how do we do this? How do we get out of the cages of the past and live in the freedom of the present?

  1. Recognize
  2. Reject
  3. Replace

In other words, recognize your bondage to the past and reject it by nailing whatever created your cages to the cross and leave them there. Then, replace that former reality with life in the freedom of the Spirit.

This means checking your influences and being ready for pushback because appearances and accomplishing matter to a lot of people. It also requires refusing to let another person’s cages confine you.

Helping Others

The best way to help those in bondage is to show them what it’s like to live in freedom. You must be living outside the cages – in the freedom offered by the present – to show others the way out of the cages they are living in.

“For you have been called to live in freedom – not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Galatians 5:13-14)

Let me encourage you to study Galatians 5 in more detail. Allow the truths within it to lead you from the cages created by your past to the freedom create by your Savior.