Prickles and Shackles


“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass [mirror]the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor. 3:18 KJV

I know a woman who sometimes gets a little prickly. Have you ever known someone who gets prickly? I have! All I have to do is take one look in the mirror to see someone who spent decades with mighty big thorns poking out of her and who now by God’s grace alone has had lots of thorns removed and the rest of them pretty much whittled down to an occasional prickle here or there. One day I was thinking about how I had gotten pricked – ouch – by some of this woman’s prickles. She has a big, beautiful heart thanks be to the Lord Jesus Christ and because she is so dedicated to Him, yet she still has an occasional prickle here or there. The day I thought about the little drops of blood on my sensitive heart resulting from how her prickles had needled and poked me as they had several times in the past, something came to me I so needed to see. Something I believe we all need to see, and recognize, and do something about. How did the revelation come to me? By God’s Spirit. Not because I had gotten poked by her prickles. It was that this time around, rather than go all out organizing my umpteenth self-pity party, I decided to pray for her. As I went to the Lord, the word that came to me was shackles. I prayed for her prickles and shackles. That’s when I came by the Spirit of God to see that behind our prickles are shackles. When we remain in any kind of bondage to sin and self, I believe we have prickles – and sometimes outright thorns – on the exterior of our hearts that poke and prod and needle and hurt and harm and drive into the hearts and lives of others.

Weeks later, the words returned to me. This time, I prayed for myself. I asked God to show me the shackles of bondage I was still in that had resulted in my being prickly with someone as I had been to countless others countless times before in the same way. When He by His Spirit showed me the shackles, I repented and knew I was on my way to learning how to walk free from the sin He had shown me. How easy it was and has been through the years to finger point at others’ prickles and thorns, to judge and condemn them, to reject and lash out at them, to pridefully look down on them for their wrongs. But in God’s mercy, He teaches me through the Lord Jesus Christ and through the power of His Spirit to have love, forgiveness, and mercy for others, to pray for them, and as He leads me to encourage them to turn to Christ and learn to be free from the shackles that bind them. And, vitally importantly, to address my own prickles and shackles through repentance and devotedness to Him!


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