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The Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, ended slavery in much of the United States. Yet, despite this landmark decree, it took a Civil War and an additional two and a half years for some 50,000 slaves to taste freedom with the passage of the 13th Amendment. It took a concerted effort and the intervention of greater powers to usher in true liberty. They were no longer slaves, but the chains of bondage still held tight.


This rings true for many of us spiritually, too. In Christ, we are legally free, but sometimes, we haven’t fully experienced or embraced that freedom.

The Truth Will Set You Free

In John 8:31, Jesus says, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” It’s a profound statement, especially considering he spoke to folks who already claimed belief. They already believed, and yet they STILL needed to be set free. Just believing is not enough. 


Many today, despite their religious affiliations, find themselves trapped in a spiritual quagmire, struggling with habits and addictions that hold them captive.


We call this addiction, but the Bible calls it a stronghold. A stronghold is an addiction or a habit that has a spiritual component. No matter how much you think you can control it, it controls you. 


What you need is not a counselor but a power to set you free from that thing that holds you in bondage. Whether it’s substance abuse, pornography, or a constant battle with self-identity, these things can grip us more tightly than we care to admit. 


Trying to deal with it on our own is problematic. Some people deal with this by merely trying to decorate their prison cells. They go to church, carry a Bible, and say all the right things, but deep down, they’re still chained up. Others try to manage their slavery, stuffing their struggles down like a too-full trash compactor. But here’s the thing: you can’t merely manage what needs liberating.


Jesus’ message is clear: if you want out, stick with him. “Abide” in His word. Let it sink deep into your bones. Because truth, my friends, is a game-changer. It’s not some elusive concept; it’s tangible, transformative, and liberating. But to get there, we’ve got to shift our perspective.


It’s easy to think we’re free when still wrapped up in chains. Just like the disciples Jesus spoke to, they claimed they’d never been slaves even though they were living under Roman rule. But admitting our captivity? That’s where real freedom begins. It’s vital that we first admit we are in bondage. 

What does it Mean to “Abide” in God’s Word?

Dive headfirst into God’s word. Soak it in like dirty dishes in soapy water. Let it marinate your mind and soul. Because transformation? It’s a slow-cooker process, not a quick zap in the microwave. 


Abiding in God’s word isn’t just about reading a few verses here and there. It’s not about dipping in and out of church occasionally—it’s about a complete transformation of our lives. It means centering everything we do around Him, not just grabbing opinions from our family’s traditions, social media, or the latest headlines. Instead, our entire orientation comes from soaking in God’s word and letting it guide every aspect of our lives.


Jesus isn’t just offering freedom; he’s promising it. When he says, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed,” you better believe he means business. His authority trumps every lie, every stronghold, every ounce of deception the enemy throws our way.


When you abide, the word of God gets activated in your life. And let me tell you, when the Son sets you free, it’s the real deal. It’s not just wishful thinking—it’s a promise you can take to the bank. That’s what “indeed” means. There’s this beautiful dance between the written word of God and the living word, Jesus himself. 


Key Takeaway: It is the truth that sets you free, not what you believe to be true. 


Partial obedience won’t cut it when it comes to finding true freedom. Going halfway with God won’t bring about the change you want. It’s about wholehearted commitment and obedience. So, if you’re wondering why things haven’t shifted yet, it might be time to take a closer look at how fully you’re embracing God’s word in your life.


You may have had moments of emancipation, glimpses of freedom in your journey. But God’s calling us to go all in, to orient our lives around his truth fully. So, what do you say? Ready to break free and embrace the transforming power of truth? To delve deeper into these concepts, we invite you to visit our website at There, you can explore a wealth of resources and discover the various ministry opportunities available.


The above is an abbreviated version of the message that Pastor Luke originally preached on February 24th, 2024. We invite you to join us for Sunday Service at Dream City Church each week to hear Pastor Luke and other speakers in person. You can also stream our services online here. If you enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it with someone who might need to hear this powerful message!

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