“They placed his neck in an iron collar, and his soul entered in to the collar” * A very graphic depiction of an external force that could cause Joseph, while imprisoned, to go in to a place of fear, defeat, anxiety, doubt – to name a few. In the amplified bible it says that God was actually testing his character. His body is feeling the weight and the pain; his mind and emotions were most likely put in to a place of defeat. A belief system that could control him.
Have you ever felt like you had an “iron collar” around your neck? Did you ask why, and seemed to get no answer? If, in fact, your character is being tested do you like having it put to the test? My answers to all of these, for myself, is: yes, yes, and no, not really.
I’ve been collared in my life. Chained to a wall because of my sin, and locked in place because of fear that God might not answer me if I chose to repent; might not show up when I do – to actually free me and show me a better way. I have thought imprisonment would be better because at least I know where I stand, and familiar with how to control the situation.
For all of us, the external force will always be around to tempt us, as well as the chain that keeps us tied to something, and keeping us imprisoned. It is the internal that will set us free. For instance Joseph: He was innocent, but God chose to test him anyway. He didn’t commit the crime, but while in irons God was testing his character: how he will respond with his mind, emotions and (free) will. Sometimes we are “innocent” and end up with an iron around our neck. But other times we are guilty of going where we shouldn’t, doing what we know will chain us to something.
The external force is the temptation. The chain is the need to control; giving in to it rather than allowing God to keep us out of bondage. The iron collar is the result of giving in to human flesh. I used this definition with a client as I was about to reinforce the fact that an iron collar will remain on us forever unless we decide to take steps of repentance, thereby inviting Jesus to remove the collar.
He came in to my office chocking with the heaviness of his collar. One that was self-imposed. His “collar” was an adulterous relationship. A decision he made to satisfy his own flesh. A decision which ultimately imprisoned him.
With the power and anointing of Holy Spirit (the real Counselor) I began questioning to find out what the “iron collar” was that lead him to adultery. After deep internal examination he pulled up an anguished reply, “I would do anything to make it work.” After another long sigh, “I have issues with control.” Bingo! The door was wide open, allowing us to find that in his first years of life he decided that he would do anything to find love from his father.
The door still open, I quoted Psalm 105 again, and looking right at him I asked, “What would you say if, in fact, God put the collar around your neck to bring you to the place where, like Joseph, he could test your character? And while there giving you opportunity to forgive your father, break some vows, and deal with the fact that you needed this woman more than you needed to hear from God; to trust him to bring you the woman that is meant for you, rather than you making it happen?”
In his shame, he sat back, flexed his arm to scratch his head, and looked off in the the distance to find the answer. And then with a sense of relief he nodded in agreement. It became even easier when we realized that the chain had already been cut off in previous sessions when we dealt with control issues. With that behind us we could now deal with the collar. That meant forgiving dad and breaking the vow, “I will always do anything to be in control.”
When doing so, he gave Jesus control, and Jesus was delighted to take off the yoke; to remove the burden, and to free him to find love. To let Jesus introduce him to it – in a sanctified way. Freedom! Freedom to explore who he really is; what his true identity is; to experience the true love of Father God….without the collar!
* Psalm 105:18 Amplified