In Acts 12, the Apostle Peter finds himself in a difficult situation. After the execution of the Apostle James, Herod has intentions of further pleasing the Jews by giving Peter the same treatment. Under heavy guard, Peter is imprisoned and left to await his execution the following day.
But God had other plans for Peter.
In order to execute His plans, God sends an angel to free Peter from his chains and extract him from the jailhouse in the middle of the night. Wasting no time, the angel appears in a flash, issuing a clear, direct order for Peter to “get up quickly.”
Something interesting happens to Peter at this moment; his chains fell off.
Peter was more than happy to oblige the angel's command. However, what I find remarkable about this scene is that Peter took action without an ounce of hesitation, despite not fully understanding what was happening (v. 9). He wasn’t even sure if the experience was real or not. He simply trusted and obeyed, and he was freed.
When we submit our hearts to sin, we likewise find ourselves locked in chains. Christ Himself said as much in John 8, when he declared that, “everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.” We place ourselves into a difficult situation when we commit sin; we are no longer free. We lock ourselves into chains from which there is no hope of escape without considerable help.
However, just as Peter was rescued from his shackles, so we too can be rescued from the bonds of sin. When we finally trust God and obey His commands, our chains fall off.
“...If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36).
It is difficult at times to simply do the work that God asks us to do. The effort required to attain purity might seem scary because the misery of addiction and long term sin can be such a familiar companion. We are often so accustomed to that despair that we almost can’t conceive of a life without it. But we can learn a lesson from Peter here. He wasn’t even sure if his experience was real, but he got up and obeyed just the same. We may not fully understand the process needed to heal our souls, but the love and Grace of God are such that he has placed the tools right in front of us. We just need to seize them.
Even if you aren’t sure what’s going on at first, just trust that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God…” (Romans 8:28). Rest assured that doing the work you need will result in producing the change you want.