As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:1-2 NIV
The US 2020 national elections are mostly over, but not the counting. How did you fair emotionally? I experienced feelings internally that I was not really proud of. Can you relate? Despair, anger, frustration, offense, gloating, domination, intimidation, fear, resentment, retribution, anxiousness, worry, and/or hope. No matter who wins, almost half of the country voted the other way.
Because I did not like feeling this way, I asked the Lord to guard and check my heart. I was led to the scriptures to gain eternal perspective. I spent the rest of the night meditating on Ephesians 4:1-2. Let me share some of my thoughts and incites to help re-center our thoughts. I will probably take a couple of days to unpack these ideas.
Prisoner for the Lord – Paul most likely wrote this letter while being imprisoned in Rome. This imprisonment is far different than our understanding of being in a jail cell. Paul was under house arrest. He could entertain visitors, but not leave the house. His fellow followers of Jesus would provide meals, clothing and other necessities. There is one distinction. He would be constantly chained to the guards.
It is this last image that captures the meaning of being a “prisoner in the Lord”. The word prisoner (desmios) means one who is bound. The person who is bound would be held captive, hence we would call that person a prisoner of the one in charge. Cease thinking about sitting alone in a jail cell, and imagine being handcuffed to Jesus. He will always be with you.
Paul was physically imprisoned because of his belief and actions about Jesus. Paul takes it a step further and wants to let the Ephesians know that He is also bound (a captive) to Christ.
As a prisoner, one who is bound to Christ, he is…
- Full time. 24/7, around the clock, and every day and night Paul remains bound to Christ. He will never be able to compartmentalize that relationship. He has no holidays, no weekends, no days off and sick days are not his personal days off. This is a 100 percent present reality.
- Identified with Christ. No matter when someone would see Paul, they would notice that he is connected to his Savior. They are visually paired together, even though Christ is present in spirit. His speech and conduct will be compared to his relationship with Jesus.
- Subservient. The prisoner is never in charge or in control. Jesus the good shepherd will lead and the sheep follow. The role of the sheep is to follow. Jesus’ role is always that of a good shepherd.
- Constrained. There will always be a tug limiting your freedoms. You can try to go your own way or do your own thing, but it will never “feel right”. You entered into a relationship with Christ that sticks with you.
- Safe and free. The guard’s duty was to keep watch over his prisoner. If he were to escape, the guard would be held responsible. There can be a freedom and safety knowing that someone else is caring for your well being…all the time.
Your position in Christ has nothing to do with national elections. When you became a follower of Jesus, you became a child of God. You also are bound (became a prisoner) in Christ. Let your faith and relationship with Jesus be evident to all.
Tomorrow we unpack this thought – As a prisoner of Christ, how then shall we live?
Don’t be ashamed of being chained to Christ, it is a freedom that others need to experience as they are rescued from their own bondage of sin and death.
Blessings Love y’all