Having worked for the same company for more than 25 years now, I’ve had several roles within the same organization. In addition, I’ve watched colleagues do the same thing. What is interesting is that my former jobs within the company don’t seem to completely go away. To their credit, my managers have helped to prioritize my day-to-day work when I take on a new role, and encourage other employees to work on what I’m no longer responsible for. Still, random questions come my way from colleagues, whether they need me to remember something that I did years (or decades) ago, or they didn’t realize that a particular topic was no longer part of my job.
So, I have been known to (jokingly) advise others that former roles don’t go away. They just clamp onto our ankles like another ball and chain, which we drag through our career. While I’m happy in my job, there is a twinge of envy for those who move from company to company, and get to start fresh each time.
I think of this image like an old cartoon, where a comic convict (in striped clothes) keeps escaping from jail in increasingly creative ways, but gets caught every time and returned to the same cell. In this imaginary scenario, a new ball and chain gets clamped onto him every time, so that – by the end of the cartoon – he is dragging tons of weight as his sentence is finally up and he limps out of the jail with dozens of balls and chains affixed to his leg.
Speaking of things that we drag through life, I don’t know about you, but I feel like I still sin a lot. Having been a follower of Jesus for many years, God has helped me with some of my vices, but there are a few that continue to tag along, like old ball-and-chain restraints.
Consider this passage from the Bible’s book of Luke, where a woman who had sinned a lot (not unlike the rest of us), came to Jesus in tears. After the woman was judged by others at the dinner, Jesus taught a lesson, and then said this:
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Luke 7:47-48 NIV
When we accept salvation through Jesus, and turn our lives over to Him, we don’t just get out of the isolated jail cell that our sin put us into. We don’t just get a pardon when we accept Jesus’ payment for our punishment. Instead, all of the other things that sin was using to hold us down are released! Those balls and chains are unlocked, removed, and tossed to the side.
While there may be a few residual consequences on this earth from past sins, our new, blessed eternal condition is sealed, and we become new!
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
We aren’t part of a new company. We are part of a new family. However, like working for a new company, we get a fresh start. And, the more that we have been saved from, the more appreciative we can be.
I hope that you aren’t still dragging around the burden of sin. While followers of Jesus still make mistakes sometime, they can continue to live in freedom, knowing that those errors no longer separate them from God. If you are still carrying around weight that Jesus already took care of on the cross, let the shackles go, and be grateful for the freedom that He provides.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.