Summary: In lockup we may become useless to society, ineffective and unable to make a contribution but God is remolding and refashioning us into something different.
Have you ever prayed "Lord make me more like Jesus?" Have you ever thought of the significance and ramification of such a prayer? Are you ready to take the journey that the answer to such a prayer will take you on?
THE PRISONER OF THE LORD: PAUL
Paul wrote the letters to the Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians, and Philippians from prison. It is interesting to note that Paul generally referred to himself as the prisoner of the Lord rather than of Rome!
Ephesians 3:1 KJV For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
Ephesians 4:1 KJV I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
Ephesians 6:20 KJV For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Philippians 1:12-14 KJV 12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; 13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; 14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Philemon 1:1 KJV Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,
Philemon 1:9 KJV Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.
Philemon 1:23 KJV There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus;
Colossians 4:10 KJV Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)
Colossians 4:18 KJV The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.
He also wrote 2 Timothy after he was imprisoned the second time shortly before being beheaded for his faith:
2 Timothy 1:8 KJV Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
2 Timothy 1:16-17 KJV The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: 17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.
It is interesting to note what the Lord told Ananias about Paul at the beginning:
Acts 9:15-16 KJV But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
Paul was destined to suffer for the Lord’s sake.
We begin to understand when Paul addresses the Corinthian church and we see what Paul is glorying in:
2 Corinthians 11:30 KJV If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
2 Corinthians 12:5 KJV Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
We need to be able to distinguish between satanic bondage and a Godly lockup!
Prison breaks you and fashions you into another being. Lessons are learned in prison that should never be forgotten. Many times we can only learn the lessons God wants us to learn when He locks us up. When in lockup we become useless to society, ineffective and unable to make a contribution if we ever actually did so before. However God is remolding and refashioning us into something different. We are being brought into a new level of awareness and while the rest of the world looks on in amazement and perplexity at our condition we need to be aware that God is doing a work in us that will bring glory to Him as long as we let Him perfect that work in us. New lessons are learned, new attitudes are being developed. We are beginning to get a hazy glimpse of what God is doing in us and through us as the heat and pressure is brought to bear on us.
A FEW THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT A PRISONER
Restricted freedom of movement
Restricted freedom of speech
Restricted freedom in relationships
Restricted freedom in influence
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Philippians 1:6