Freedom From Spiritual Paralysis

Standing Still

If there’s one thing this set of signs sign could do for you, it’s give you a good reason to stay in one place.

Stop Confusion

But while you’re sitting there you’ll probably also wonder how you could ever get moving again. Or, if you subscribe to the theory that rules are made to be broken you’re wondering which one to break first: right, left, backwards or forwards?

The first one is obvious, though. The first rule you’ll break is the one about not moving at all.

Breaking the Right Rules

Satan doesn’t want you moving, at least not if it’s toward Jesus. He’d rather you are frozen in place. C.S. Lewis describes this spiritual paralysis in The Screwtape Letters when Screwtape advises his nephew Wormwood on the human he is assigned to tempt:

Obviously you are making excellent progress. My only fear is lest in attempting to hurry the patient you awaken him to a sense of his real position. …

You no longer need a good book, which he really likes, to keep him from his prayers or his work or his sleep; a column of advertisements in yesterday’s paper will do. You can make him waste his time not only in conversation he enjoys with people whom he likes, but in conversations with those he cares nothing about on subjects that bore him. You can make him do nothing at all for long periods. You can keep him up late at night, not roistering, but staring at a dead fire in a cold room. …

Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts. (The Screwtape Letters, ch. 12.)

Screwtape advises it’s best if the person isn’t even aware of the signposts that tell you don’t turn, don’t go forward, don’t retreat, DON’T MOVE! But, as someone who belongs to Jesus, you now move freely wherever the Holy Spirit takes you. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say the Holy Spirit moves through you as (for example) he advances the gospel of Jesus.

[D]o not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. (Matthew 10:19-20.)

The Bible repeatedly speaks of the Holy Spirit working through God’s people to achieve God’s purposes.

Prison Break

Jesus has healed you of Satan’s paralysis. As he preached in Nazareth one Saturday:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
 (Luke 4:18-19.)

So don’t be afraid to move even if all the signs seem to paralyze you in place. After all, it is Satan who bewilders and binds people. The immeasurable power of the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is at work in you.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21.)

Don’t expect to stand still for long.


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4 Responses to Freedom From Spiritual Paralysis

  1. Laura Droege says:

    Thank you, Tim. I needed this today. In fact, I was just thinking about this issue in my life when I read your post! Providential timing. 🙂

  2. Jeannie says:

    Great post, Tim. I think I’ve only barely scratched the surface of what real freedom in Christ might mean. I hear a lot of talk about freedom from punishment from our sin, but not that much about the greater implications of freedom in our lives. Sometimes we’re afraid of it: afraid of what might happen if others exercise freedom, and afraid of what might happen if WE do. So I appreciate this post today.

    • Tim says:

      Living in grace can be terrifying sometimes. Rules tell us what to do and what to expect, but freedom leads us only God knows where. It’s trusting him that takes real faith.

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