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I was at the zoo a few weeks ago with my family. It’s been quite a while since I’d been. I’ve always enjoyed going to the zoo. Seeing a huge male gorilla on the other side of glass makes you feel quite intimidated!

As we walked through and saw all the different animals (gorillas, elephants, rhinos, etc), one animal sticks out in my mind. The Harpy Eagle. This is quite a big bird. I couldn’t help but look up at this incredible creature and think, “He doesn’t deserve to be locked up in a cage, he deserves to soaring high in the sky!” How pitiful that such a majestic animal is caged up where it can barely fly, much less live out its existence in a meaningful way besides having us gawk at him. I honestly felt sorry the eagle.

And yet, as I watched him, I was reminded that this is how many people choose to live their lives. Living caged lives. By allowing their own self-image, their failures, their victories, their short-comings, their own selfish desires, daily decisions to reject the good they know they ought to do – the list goes on – to keep them caged up from fulfilling a truly meaningful life.

Many years ago my dearest friend Gabriel Jones prayed, “Lord, free us of the chains that we so willingly pick up and carry each day.” That pray stuck with me so much, quite frankly, because I identified with it. Don’t we all? Haven’t we all been at a point in our lives when our own selfish desires and longings dragged us away from freedom?

Consider this, that human freedom is so important to God that He will not infringe on our free-will choices. He watches us perched within the cages we so willingly build hoping that one day we walk out the door he has provided. Because unlike the Harpy Eagle, we have a choice don’t we? God has provided a way out for us. He has provided freedom!

The longer I live, I come to realize that you can’t make somebody do something they don’t wish to do. It’s your choice. No eagle flies through the air wrapped up in chains. Christ has provided a way out of our cages so that we can find true meaning, value and purpose. What makes me sad is there are those who wish to remain in their cages only to produce the illusion of purpose. Rick Warren has said, “You were made by God and for God. Until you learn this, life will never truly make sense.

So what is your choice going to be? To step into freedom through the door of truth, or will you choose to be caged?

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