The Real Prisoners

by Sep 23, 2021Devotional3 comments

Proverbs 4:14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers.

      Quote: Not all prisons have steel bars.

      In 1980, while I was attending bible college in Australia, I ministered with a group called Broken Chains Prison Ministry out of Sydney. On most weekends, we went into the different prisons throughout New South Wales and brought with us a variety of rock bands and musos who were Christians and keen on helping in prison ministry. The musicians expressed their faith in Christ through their music and personal testimonies of God’s goodness in their lives. We also provided the prisoners with Christian material they had requested that declared, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” and He was their eternal hope if they chose to accept Him as their Lord and Savior. We were blessed to have had such favour of the Lord as we ministered week after week.
      The interesting thing to me was that some of the prisoners who had become Christians while in prison and had a genuine relationship with the Lord were freer in their souls while in forced confinement, than a lot of the staff and guards who ran the security systems of the prisons. Even though the guards got to go home at night, a lot of them were bound in their souls because of the hatred they had for the criminals they oversaw. Who was really in prison? Who were the ones living in manacles? How was it possible to be able to go where and when you wanted on the outside of the prison walls, and yet, be more bound and chained than the Christian prisoners who were incarcerated?
      Some of the guards were angry with us for ministering to the prisoner’s spiritual needs. Their argument was that the prisoners were evil recidivists and they deserved to be locked up forever. In some cases, this may be true. However, God’s word does say to visit the prisoner. Matt. 25:36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. What some of these guards did not realize, was that they were becoming what they hated. They had inadvertently stepped on the same path the criminals were walking. Their anger towards the inmates had caused them to voice their personal judgements of justice, revenge, and punishment. They were becoming as hardheaded as some of the hardcore inmates. Prov. 4:14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. 
      A person can be surrounded by the oppressive walls of a penitentiary, and the truth of God’s word can free that soul from being bound by the invisible chains that many freed people are shackled to. John 8:32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. People can become a prisoner of their own making by hanging on to hate, resentment, and unforgiveness. In some cases, they can also become more severe and harsher on themselves because they become their own jailers by not letting go of their hate. 
      Lately, we have heard of people who were once dependable and stable citizens falling into the deep holes of believing every conspiracy theory that comes their way. They become prisoners of all the secretive and dark information they have personally accumulated to prove every single event going on in life is an attack and scheme to destroy their way of life. The sad thing is, they end up destroying their own lives by their never-ending angry conversations that alienate everyone around them. Deeper and deeper they fall into a terrifying abyss until words like Illuminati, sanctioned killings, tracking devices, microchip-readers, and listening devices become the steel bars of their personal cage they now find themselves fighting from. Even if everything they said was a fact, how would they personally stop it all? How could they go around the world and expose and fix every conspiracy that is supposedly going on? This would be impossible to do.
       Who are the real prisoners in life? Are they not the ones who are caged within their own bondage? The Apostle Paul wrote a large part of the New Testament from prison. Phil. 1:13 So that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is because I am in Christ. Paul was a prisoner of the Roman Empire’s system, but in his heart, Paul was the Lord’s prisoner, and this knowledge allowed him inner freedom while in prison. He called himself a prisoner in the Lord, and this truth broke the chains of the world system Paul was ministering in. Eph.4:1a Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy. 
      I’m not saying Paul had an easy time in prison. On the contrary, Roman prisons were brutal. What Paul had, was the confidence in his Lord who could deliver him from all of the real treacherous conspiracies that were against him. 2Tim. 3:11 Persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. There were real plots to kill and control Paul. However, Paul didn’t spend much time defending himself against all the accusations confronting him. He remained a free man by being a prisoner in Christ and letting God deal with his enemies. 
      We who are in Christ must be circumspect when it comes to all the trappings that could trick us into a jail of our own making. If we are going to be a prisoner of anything, then let it be a prisoner of gratefulness, kindness, generosity and love. Let us be prisoners in Christ so that we may remain free in our souls and heart. Amen and amen!a

3 Comments

  1. Ian Pike

    Thank you for such a balanced encouraging word for the times in which we live. It is so good to be committed to the Lord.

    Reply
  2. Jami

    Such a good point- even if it was all true, what would they do to stop it all?
    Great word, Norm, and always needed

    Reply
  3. Lori

    Amen

    Reply

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