By Jill Briscoe
“I, Paul, am a prisoner of Christ Jesus because of my preaching to you Gentiles.” ~ Ephesians 3:1
Was Paul the prisoner of Nero? Not in Paul’s thinking. Paul believed that “everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News” (Phil. 1:12). He firmly believed nothing could happen to him without divine permission. Paul knew God had a plan for his life, and that it was no accident that he was in jail. He was able to say, and did quite regularly, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know the One who holds the future.” No, Paul did not believe he was a prisoner of the Gentiles, but rather a prisoner of Jesus Christ for the sake of the Gentiles. Paul was more attuned to his calling than to his circumstances, and cared more about the people whom he served than about the personal consequences of his service.
When I was a young mother with three children under school age, I came to a similar conclusion about my situation. I lived in a small house, kept prisoner by responsibilities to my family. But because of those confining duties, I began to know the older ladies who lived around me. I was able to say, “I am not a prisoner of my circumstances, but rather a prisoner of Jesus Christ for these dear ladies!”
What circumstances imprison you? Are you a prisoner of Christ for the sake of someone else? Once you recognize this, your attitude will change and so will your actions. Just whose prisoner are you?
Suggested Reading: Ephesians 3:1-13
Lord, thank You that nothing can happen to me without divine permission. So often I look at the circumstances in my life as confining. Help me to instead see them as opportunities from You. Remind me that I am Your prisoner—and what a privilege that is! Amen.
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