How often do we find ourselves feeling trapped—physically, mentally, and spiritually? Making sacrifices in our lives provides us a way to break free and draw closer to the Lord.
Agency is a powerful tool we can use to break free from circumstances that hold us captive; our choices make all the difference in progressing toward or away from our divine potential. In his Liahona article “Breaking the Chains of Sin,” Elder H. Ross Workman of the Seventy suggests that sacrifice is one of the most powerful and effective choices we can make to escape from captivity.
How do we become spiritually trapped? According to Elder Workman, “Freedom is surrendered one small step at a time until the way to regain that freedom is obscured.” Through a succession of small indulgences, our ability to think clearly and avoid spiritual captivity can be whittled away until we find ourselves trapped. At this point we must adjust our course, begin making more righteous choices, and sacrifice the things that bind us.
Letting go of the vices that bind our hearts or minds—greed, anger, envy, wealth, addiction, obsession, grief, fear, poor habits—requires much from us in order to be truly life-changing. To overcome an addiction to social media, for example, we have to sacrifice time spent on a phone or computer and replace the hours with more worthwhile things: developing skills, spending time with loved ones, ministering, or serving others. Choosing to give up those things that bind us strengthens our spiritual resilience, grants us new freedoms, and invites Christ to transform us through his grace.
Sacrifice is never easy, but the Lord requires sacrifice to test and strengthen the faithful. In 2 Nephi 1:13 we are commanded to “shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men.” As we begin to step away from those chains that bind us, we may experience hardship and discomfort, but we will be walking through the refiner’s fire to reach our divine potential. Sacrifice is a process of consecration, and when we offer up our old habits, choices, and indulgences to the Lord as a prayer for change, we will discover a freedom unlike anything we’ve known before.
—Hannah Ackerman, Latter-day Saint Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY CHRISTOPHER WINDUS
Find more insights
Check out Alex Hugie’s article “The Leopard’s Lie: Do People Really Change?” from Latter-day Saint Insights for insight on how to see the divine potential for change in the people around us.
Read more about the relationship between sacrifice and consecration in Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk “Our Heartfelt All” from the April 2022 General Conference.
Read Shelisa Baldwin’s Latter-day Saint Insights article “Prisoner of War Finds Hope in the Gospel” to discover the story of a man in captivity who found solace in making righteous choices.