Whose prisoner are you?
Our June devotional shared by Margaret Toy.
“For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles” (Ephesians 3:1)
In the last year or so, many people have felt as if they had been imprisoned and are now having the prison gates opened and are being set free again.
I have recently been working through the book of Ephesians and was very much struck by what Paul wrote in the verse above. Paul was in a literal prison when he wrote to the Ephesian church. He was a prisoner of the Romans, who were the rulers of the time. Paul had certainly not engineered his prison confinement and, humanly speaking, it must have looked like a disaster in his life. Nevertheless, he did not appear to view it in that way. Instead, he wrote that he was “the prisoner of Christ Jesus”. No matter his circumstances, Paul was confident that, if it were God’s plan for him, the Romans would be unable to keep him locked up. He was free to do whatever God had planned for him. When Paul looked at his situation, he was very much our Lord’s prisoner, rather than man’s. Paul’s perspective was based on being where God wanted him and doing what He asked of him. As Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Looking back, we can see how much Paul was used for our benefit during the times when he was imprisoned in Rome. He did not spend his time bemoaning the fact that he could not travel around to all the churches he had established. Instead, he preached where he was and wrote letters to several churches and people (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 2 Timothy, Philemon). We would be without these wonderful books of the Bible had it not been for Paul’s imprisonment!
In Philippians, Paul encourages us to “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). If Paul was able to rejoice in the Lord, whilst in prison, we can do the same in whatever situation we find ourselves.
What a challenge Paul gives us. Let’s go forward, knowing whose we are and rejoicing that, regardless of circumstances, we can fulfil God’s plan for our lives.
Lay Down in the Sawdust!
God’s unforced rhythm of Grace