Be Not Entangled Again with the Yoke of Bondage

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One of my fondest memories as a child is being compelled by a loving grandmother to memorize and recite poetry, Greek poetry not poetry written in English. I hated doing it, but as an adult I’m so glad she insisted. I learned so much about the beauty of language and the adherence to the ideals of justice and human dignity.

One particular poem has stayed with me for almost 60 years. I have never forgotten one word of it. I will give you the English translation, although some of it will lack the intensity and drama of the original poem.

The mountains scream out victory and the forests echo the sound. And every person is waiting for the glory to pass by. They look at her and they welcome her, embracing her . . . the young with smiles and the old with laughter. Every man from the mountain and every lion of the water, every victor, and every young man wear on their heads a crown of glory, plaited with tears, plaited with the cries of the orphans.

And you, God of our victory, the One whose heart has been so deeply hurt, sound the trumpet from one side to the other, “How the people now live again . . . How the country lives again . . . And one more thing, the Greeks will never again live as slaves.”

So you might ask, why does this poem matter to me in this day and time? It matters because it is filled with the poignancy of losing one’s freedom and the delight of getting it back. I hope that it will be said of each of us that we refuse to live as slaves. So the question is this: What is it that has the power to enslave me? And how can I live my life in the glory of freedom, freedom from all that harms the human spirit?

There are a number of life traps that enslave us, and we must determine in our hearts not to be slaves to them. Overindulgence. Toxic relationships. Workaholic tendencies. Harmful personal habits. The bondage of sinfulness.

We can easily become enslaved in any of these areas of life, and we often do. But I, for one, do not want to be a slave to those things that have the power to hurt me.
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Stand fast therefore in the liberty with which Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.    – Galatians 5:1 American King James Version

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