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Dressember: Setting the Captives Free

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

By Theanna Joyce

Did you know that there are currently more than 30 million people enslaved worldwide? Take a minute to let that settle. Think about it. 30 million people. That’s a lot of people. It’s a lot of brokenness and darkness and hopelessness. Today, I’d like to share something with you that has been on my heart recently.

About a year ago, a friend of mine, Rykauna, was participating in a fund-raiser called Dressember, collecting money to help women and children who have been trafficked. The foundation asks women to wear a dress (or men to wear a tie) every day of December and advocate for those who are in slavery. I’m ashamed to say that my response was to give her some money and think she was doing a good thing. I didn’t stop to consider the enormity of what she was doing because, even though it was a good work, it didn’t really impact me. I have never seen the effects of slavery. I have a very loving family who accepts and values me. I attend a God-centered church where people care about each other. My friends are always there to support me. I go to school and work in a safe neighborhood. I don’t have to worry about food or money. I have the certainty of salvation in Christ and a home in heaven. All things considered, I have a pretty sheltered and wonderful life. So, after I gave my friend 20 bucks, I didn’t really think anything more of Dressember.

Canadian Thanksgiving was over a month ago, and as I counted my blessing alongside everyone else, I felt God nudging me. Take a look at this verse:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. Isaiah 61:1

I’ve really been enjoying this verse because it refers to the work Jesus has done and is still doing in the world. When Jesus was living here on earth, His mission was to do the will of His Father. His every thought, attitude, reaction, and decision was in perfect line with His Father. When Jesus started His public ministry, He didn’t just preach and teach in the synagogue or the streets—He set people free. He reached out to the people who were:

  • bound by their social standing (like the beggars)

  • crippled by illness, and who wouldn’t be able to make a life for themselves

  • demon possessed

And He brought life and freedom to them. In Luke 4, Jesus returned to Nazareth after being tempted in the wilderness and he stood up synagogue on the Sabbath and read this section from Isaiah. After reading it, He sat down and said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). He was the fulfillment of this ancient prophecy. He was the anointed One, sent by the Father. But it was not just physical healing and freedom that Jesus was bringing, it was spiritual healing and freedom from sin that He was offering. He came to earth to go to the cross. By suffering the punishment that our sin deserved, He provided a way for us to be set free from the bondage of our sin. When we trust Him and His work for us on the cross, we are freed and have new life. As we allow His Word to settle into our hearts, He brings healing and wholeness. He wants us to live abundantly in the good of His freedom. “If the Son sets you free, you are truly free” (John 8:36).

I don’t really know anything about you—what your past was like, what situations you’re in right now, whether you’re a Christian or not, whatever details surround you—I don’t know your story. What I do know is that Jesus came to die so that you could be free, so you could live a life of love, joy, and peace. That is the good news He came to proclaim and He asks us to share it as well.

This December, I’m participating in Dressember because freedom and love are important to God and as a follower of Jesus, they are important to me, too. He wants us to show love and do our part to help those who are hurting and in bondage. He did this while he was here on earth, and He’s still doing it! He wants us to follow Him and help Him in His work to set the captives free!

Here’s a little more information about Dressember from its founder:

If you’re interested in donating click here:

If you’d like to become an advocate, click here:

Theanna Joyce


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