Today my heart is heavy. Earlier this week we visited the mountain villages of northern Thailand where I met the giraffe-necked women who live in the area. Curious why anyone would put brass rings around her neck, I asked one of our guides the history of these beautiful women and this unusual custom. As the article indicates, the history is a bit uncertain. Some see it as a sign of beauty and femininity, others as an ancient practice that protected them from tiger attacks, and others as a way to prevent neighboring tribes from kidnapping the women because they would be less attractive.
Regardless of the history, I saw beautiful women enslaved to an ancient custom that keeps them in physical and spiritual bondage. I pondered the admonition Paul writes in Colossians 2 to new Christians. He reminds them that they don’t need to submit to all kinds of rules and philosophies that come from human thinking rather than from Christ. He says, “So you also are complete through your union with Christ…” There is nothing, no effort needed on my part that could add to what Christ did for me.
My heart mourns for these women who submit to these ancient practices. Regardless of the reason, the truth of God’s deep love for his creation is the only thing that will set these women, or anyone for that matter, free from the enslavement of human efforts to find LIFE. The lies of our enemy are so subtle that at times it is nearly impossible to discern the whine of his voice. He is so like the Hope-nots in Max Lucado’s book “The Song of the King.” Jesus said this world is dark and he is the light of the world, so it’s important to choose the right companion as we travel through the dark forest. (The book is well worth purchasing!)
On this journey called life, I want to live fully alive and the only way I will do that is to walk in the truth. The truth? It is God’s mysterious plan which is Christ Jesus himself! In Christ lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:2-3) Jesus is a gift to me from the Father, so I pray…
Father, “Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” Psalm 25:5
My Father replies…
“I publicly proclaim bold promises. I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner. I would not have told my people … to seek me if I could not be found. I, the Lord, speak only what is true and declare only what is right.” Isaiah 45:19
And Jesus says…
“…you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
And …”if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” John 8:36
“Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.” John 17:17
I rejoice that I do not have to live in bondage to some ancient custom or any modern idea that whispers lies to me. The enemy wants me to believe the lie that I am worthless, that I have no value, that I need to work hard to be acceptable, to be beautiful. I rejoice that I live in the truth that I am precious, redeemed, forgiven and an heir of all the riches of God through Christ Jesus. I join with the Apostle Paul as I pray that…
“…you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. Ephesians 3:18
Until next time…
May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.