Saturday, February 23, 2013

Separating the Sheep from the Elephants

      I read something recently that made me retract an early aspiration to have a memory like an elephant. With the original saying the connotation was a positive one with the idea that never forgetting something is an asset to living an intelligent and productive life. Just seeing the same animal in a different situation can really open your eyes. The following is an account in a newsletter from my real estate man:
     Backstage at the circus, a visitor noticed the elephants were kept in place by nothing stronger than a thin rope that tied one leg to a stake in the ground. Puzzled, he asked the trainer what prevented these awesome, powerful animals from just snapping the rope.
     The trainer described how the elephants are tied with a strong rope from a young age when they're much smaller and weaker. They get so accustomed to the fact that they can't break free, eventually they stop trying. When they're fully grown, they never attempt to pull themselves free because they have such powerful memories of the strong rope.
     This impressed me so much I read it over several times, then I realized why. People are like this with sin. Most people don't consciously choose to sin- no matter whether of the ten commandments or the more than three hundred other laws which the Torah outlines and addresses as perhaps more subtle but no less destructive rebellions against God. The truth is that when it comes to sin we are first tempted, then perhaps goaded and eventually trapped in sin. In Galatians 5:1 it states: Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
     Jesus read from Isaiah 61 in the synagogue of his home town of Nazareth:
        The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted; To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. ( Luke 2:18 )
     I'm certain that Jesus must have emphasized the words- proclaim liberty to the captives- because being set free from sin is the strongest key we have to living a victorious Christian life and the very Kingdom of Heaven. Being spiritually free is the most exhilarating freedom. Your mind is no longer a doormat for name-calling. All your past sins have been forgiven so you don't want to go back to them or have them in your life. The slate is clean and you can start afresh without any encumbrance of the past and any folly which stopped you before including memories of the past life of sin.
    To close I thought I'd use a poem I found in the magazine Meggido Message which was attributed to anonymous:
Have you become a prisoner of your mind?
Has it built bars of steel, with you behind?
Have anger, fear and worry forged the bars
That keep you from the glory of the stars?
You've bound yourself- old hurts and vain regrets,
Old failures that the stronger man forgets;
Oh, show your strength ! Cast off the ball and chain !

Forget the past! The future lies ahead!
Before you like a dream life's vista spread.
You can be free, it all depends on you !
With thoughts you mold your life, the things you do.
Material circumstances, ill or well,
Are just an outgrowth of the thoughts that dwell
Within your mind. Heal now those ancient scars
And keep before you the glory of the stars! 
The Castle Lady
with bundles of glorious valentine kisses !

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