“And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him , and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.”
Just the other day, my bike hit a nasty bump which resulted in the bottom derailleur pulley cog to distort (pulley’s the chain from the back wheel). This caused the chain to loosen from the bottom derailleur pulley (as if it had fallen off) which resulted in my bike loosing force when peddling even on the heaviest gear (good thing it didn’t fall off the main chain-ring or I would have been in trouble). The funny thing is the stanza of a certain hymn suddenly popped into my mind.
Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
(2x) My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
(And Can It Be by Charles Wesley)
Now you must be thinking I’m stretching this topic too much since it seems the only relation between Peter’s chains falling off and my bike chain is literally the word chain! But stick with me as I go through my thoughts with you.
First let me explain the significance of the account of Peter’s imprisonment. It is similar to those who have been freed from their sins through Jesus Christ. Living in sin is like being in a spiritual dungeon where darkness reigns and where heavy chains weigh our lives down. At some point, every single person has spent time in this dungeon which binds us to the things of this world and to our own selfish desires. Like my bike chain when on the heaviest gear (if my bike was in normal condition), we peddle harder as we ride uphill in a life full of sin. For man, this is normal everyday life.
However, those who have truly found Christ, have been freed from the chains that bind them to sin and are no longer bound to the dungeon but are free to step into the light. They come to an understanding of the vanity of this world and their own selfish desires which was once a heavy chain latched on to them. So like my bike chain on the heaviest gear (in its current state which isn’t normal), though we may peddle as much and maybe even more in life, the peddling becomes lighter even during the uphill journey; because the weight of sin is no longer binding us since Christ has paid the price to remove it from our lives. To most of the human population, living a life for Christ is not normal.
“For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” (Acts 17:28)
Now here’s one last thought. In both instances of my bike’s condition, the chain-ring still sustains the bike’s movement. Whether people want to believe it or not, God is sustaining their lives. We have this life because God has given it to us and we can continue to ride the journey in our lives because He has allowed us to do so. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, we are still bound to God because we are His creations. But for Christians, instead of relying on the chain bound to sin and this world, we solely rely on Christ (our chain-ring) to ride us through our days in this temporary world.
For many, it scares them to even imagine a life relying on Jesus Christ. As I’m sure many would probably be scared if they had a bike with a similar state to mine at the moment. But it’s the faith in knowing God will sustain His children that allows Christians to not rely on the shackles of this physical world but rely on God’s ever abundant provisions (it is definitely faith in God to protect me that I continue to ride this bike to and from work). But I pray that if you have yet to know of the freedom that you can have through Christ, that you may have a heart to seek Him earnestly and allow yourself to be free you from the bondage of sin that weighs down your life.