Prisoner for the Lord

Joseph son of Jacob was one. So was Samson. Most of the children of Israel, in Egypt and Babylon. Jesus Himself. Peter and John. Eventually, almost all of the apostles … and uncountable disciples and martyrs thereafter.

But it was Paul who put the reality into words: “Prisoner for the Lord.”

He was one. And so am I. And so are you.

Not locked into manacles and chains of a physical jail cell, but constrained by self-restraint and the Spirit of the Lord to live a life of service to others and therefore to Him.

Or locked into a life that serves self and sin and therefore, Satan (2 Timothy 2:26).

Slavery. Indentured servitude, if you prefer, since it is by our choice. And it is our choice.

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? ~ Romans 6:16

It’s one or the other; no middle ground. Romans 6-7 leaves no doubt about it. One choice leads to eternal life in Christ; the other to death.

Inevitably, the sentence is death. Either to self and our own desires (Galatians 5:24; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:5) or of self and our own desires.

My favorite television show as a kid was the brilliant and enigmatic (but short-lived) British series The Prisoner. Its nameless, titular main character began each episode with a defiant declaration to his captors: “I am not a number; I am a free man!”

Scripture says choose self and you are just a number … one of the numberless multitudes who are prisoners to their own desires yet whose hairs are numbered and known by the Father who loves them; choose the Father and you are free from law and death and sin and self.

You become the warden, taking captive “every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

You also capture His heart, as you are captivated by His love.

And forever after, you are free to be a prisoner for the Lord.

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