Setting the Captives Free
by Keith Wahl
One podcast I'm appreciating is the Way of Champions podcast from the Changing the Game Project. Their thoughts are interesting, their guests intriguing, and they push me to think. While I'm not sure they'd use the same words, it seems that part of their goal is to set the captives in youth sports free.
In Luke 4:18, Jesus reads from a scroll of the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1-2):
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free..."
People like those at the Changing the Game project are doing what they can to release those who might feel captive or oppressed in the youth sports culture, and trying to help people have ears to hear and eyes to see. For that, they should be applauded.
One of my favorite scenes from The Shawshank Redemption is the headline photo in this week's Bottom of the Ninth. Andy Dufresne (played by Timothy Robbins) has just received a bounty of books and records for the jail's library. The guard asks him to get all of the material down to the library before the warden returns, and the guard leaves Dufresne alone as he uses the facilities. Dufresne flips through the records, finds a favorite, locks the guard in the bathroom, locks the warden's door, and plays the beautiful selection over the intercom for all to hear. For just a moment, Andy sets all of the captives free.
Have you ever considered it to be your call to release the captive and oppressed, and help the blind to see? Have you taken the time to allow Christ to free your soul in such a way as to be able to help others to see God's goodness and set others free? I'm convinced that when we act in a way that is aligned with scripture, we experience whole new portions of the Holy Spirit.
This past week, I had the opportunity to coach a couple of times. Because I was re-watching Shawshank, these verses were my focus. I entered the batting cage with the sole purpose of setting a a couple of high school hitters free. Our conversations were calm and rich. I moved around the baseball field a couple of days later praying for the Lord to provide me with multiple opportunities to release anyone being held captive by the enemy. He presented me with opportunities to witness to young men with truth to counter lies they were believing. It was extremely fulfilling, and provided a different sense of purpose to my work.
My encouragement is simple - be the aroma of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:15) wherever you go, looking to release the captives and set the oppressed free. The first challenge is to seek the freedom that Christ offers you through the cross. You can't give freedom if you don't first possess it yourself. If you are free in Christ, walk into every situation seeking to set others free and share Christ's freedom. There might be no more beautiful work in which to partner with the Holy Spirit.