When The Knot Gets Too Tight

November 8, 2012
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John 8:36 – So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (NIV)

The other day I tossed some clothes into the dryer. Soon, I heard some disturbing thumps coming from the laundry room. It sounded as if a shoe were in the dryer. I rushed to stop the dryer and discovered that the clothes had twisted themselves into a knot. The knot had tightened with each rotation of the drum. This problem was not going to fix itself. It would merely get worse, and the clothes would get wrinkled and stretched out of shape. Nothing would work, except stopping the dryer and pulling apart the matted lump. Only then could the garments breathe again and dry properly.

This episode reminds me of our spiritual life. The practices that we adopt in order to live out our spirituality and engage one another can sometimes begin to bind and enslave us. Such habits can get us into such a tight knot that it is futile to go on as we are. We merely get more wrinkly and hard. The only solution is to stop.

Perhaps that is why we find ourselves in seasons when we step aside from our normal way of life — even from our church habits. The "dryer" comes to a stop — it's time to disentangle the hard clumps. It may be a time for solitude — to reflect and to seek God in prayer and study. It is a time to trust God anew and to be spiritually refreshed. We become freed up to draw close to God and to breathe the fresh new air of His Spirit.

Jesus came in a day when the knots in the religious system had become so tight that there was no room for God's Spirit to breathe. The leaders tried to maintain this system with more and more rules. But that merely tightened the knot. The laws and traditions exerted such a strangling grip that the people could not live simply by faith in God. They were not able to act freely out of love.

This has often happened in the history of the church. Some of us may have experienced the effects ourselves. Even secularizing our society has not solved the problem. We are submerged in more civil laws than ever. We haven't become a more law-abiding society, because regulations cannot change the human disposition. Instead, the laws put us in a tightening knot, and we become less free.

Only a miracle can release people from knots like this! That's exactly why the gospel of Jesus Christ is such refreshing news — not only for our first step of faith, but also for the rest of our lives. We continuously need God's Spirit to loosen us from the knots we get into and to blow fresh, new air into our lives.

Imagine the exhilarating freedom of laundry flapping in the breeze on a balmy day. Isn't that far better than the knotted way of existence … better for everyone?

This is certainly not lawless living! Remember, the clothes are firmly fastened down by clothespins. God's love holds us fast. Our job is to trust God to anchor us in Christ — and then, we can blow freely in the Wind.

Prayer: Lord, we trust You to know when we have become tangled in the grip of knots and need a season to become freed again. We invite You to "stop the dryer" as needed, that we can continue to blow in the wind of Your Spirit. Amen.


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About the author:

Diane Eaton <d.eaton@bmts.com>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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