I love history. And a story about a 14th century Duke of Belgium recently caught my eye. It seems that Raynald III was in a violent quarrel with his younger brother, Edward. Eventually, Edward won the struggle and captured Raynard.
But Edward was a smart guy. He knew that if he treated his brother poorly, the people might rise up against him. So instead, he built a special room for Raynald. And He promised him that all he had to do was leave that room and his title and property would be returned to him.
But there was a catch. Edward knew that his brother was grossly overweight and totally lacking in any kind of self-discipline. He simply could not fit through the openings and doors to that special room. And Edward was banking on the fact that Raynard would not control his appetite.
To help things along, Edward made sure and sent him lots of delicious food. Sure enough, Raynard just got fatter and fatter. And stayed stuck in that room.
Edward continued to claim that his brother was not being held captive, that he could leave whenever he wished. But truth be told, Raynald was enslaved by his own appetites and ultimately spent 10 years in that room. After his brother died in battle, the room was opened, but by then Raynald had so ruined his health that he died within just a year.
Tragic story, but it sure does have an application for us. We too are enslaved by our appetites. Oh, it might not be our craving for food that causes us to be “stuck in a rut.” But Jesus made it clear in John 8:34 that “everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”
Some of us are slaves to selfishness. Others worship at the altar of material success. Still others are jammed up with sexual impurity or anger issues. There is an incredibly long list of sins that “do so easily entangle us” (Heb. 12:1).
Remember though, that freedom has been offered to us. Paul reminded us in Gal. 5:1 that “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” But all too often, we sit, stuck in our “room” unable to exercise some spiritual discipline and walk away.
So, let’s all do some RELOCATING his week . Let’s take God at His word and move on from those things that enslave us. By His power and with His grace, let’s intentionally repent and escape the clutches of sin-regardless of the “flavor.”
I feel sorry for old Raynald. But I especially feel sorry for all of us who follow in that same pattern of living. Instead, let’s be pointed in our pursuit of godliness. Let’s break some patterns this week.
Get out of that room!