“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect that it will cease to be divided. It will become all the one thing or all the other.
Abraham Lincoln, June 16, 1858, Address to the Republican Convention
This past week, I have been watching the award winning Ken Burns special on the Civil War. These quotes by Abraham Lincoln reminded me of a time when our country was deeply divided.
It struck me that although our nation was only 85 years old, and just newly experiencing it’s freedom from English oppression, it was suddenly starting to be torn apart from the inside out.
I could not help but make the connection between our countries struggle and our own personal struggle with bondage. Sometimes in life, we experience our own kind of civil war – with sin; perhaps it’s waged through battling an addition, bad habits or damaged emotions.
As a Christian we experience our re-birth when we receive Christ as Savior. However, our struggle with sin doesn’t end there; God delivered the Israelites from slavery and brought them out of Egypt, yet it still took 40 years in the wilderness to get slavery out of the people. If you’ve experienced this kind of struggle, you are not alone. Sometimes the internal battles we face can be the bloodiest.
While watching the episode, it occurred to me that during this great trial, when our country was being purged of the sin of slavery, and a new America was being forged through the furnace of affliction, the very character of both young and old, man and woman, civilian and soldier, free and slave, were being put to the test. Some responded heroically, like the former slave, Harriet Tubman, who made history when she helped lead the Union Army in a military raid to free some 750 rice plantation workers from along the Combahee River.
How we respond to our own affliction matters as well. Is your house divided today? Is there an addiction, a bad habit or some festering inner wound that needs to be dealt with? Do you need mental, emotional or physical healing?
“The important thing for our health is that we recognize that those addictions and habits end up controlling, or at least, directing our lives,” (Philip Murdoch, Restart Your Life). We don’t want to live as slaves to negative thinking or bad habits. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery,” (Galations 5:1)
When we confess our sins to God He is faithful to forgive us (1 John 1:9). Surrender happens when we give our struggles over to God and faithfully let Him deal with them. Trust the Lord.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed,” (John 8:36). God has in store the very best for your life, but a house divided cannot stand. What sinful habit do you need to let go of? Give it to God and live free today!