In Prison, but Not Imprisoned!!
In 2 Timothy 2:5-10 Paul shares some insights about the strict life of a sold out believer. Now we may think this is a list of don’ts. but it’s not!! Paul goes the opposite way of how we might perceive strict training. If we go with a list of don’ts, we have already admitted we have a tendency to live a weak, barely get by Christian life. Paul is not considering that kind of life at all. In fact, he is more in line with the type of life that shows believers moving ahead at a rapid pace that is impacting all areas of life. It’s kind of like an “evangelist gone wild” type of life. He is coming from the perspective that believers are out there sharing their faith in the world in a very aggressive way. The are confronting the issues of the world and challenging believers to greatness and non believers to consider Christ. Paul is on the move with every fiber of his being sharing the Good News. He doesn’t wait for a gathering of people and a pulpit. He is taking the gospel on the road and he is doing it with a vibrancy that few were matching at the time. So when he says in verses 5 and 6 about “if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules” and the hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops”, he is speaking about what he was doing right then. We as ministers of the gospel should never let anything keep us from being true to God’s Word and His Call for our standard of living. We can never outrun the individual call of God on our lives, and that standard has to be held to every day. We are to be out in the front, leading the way in injecting God’s truth in every situation. When we do that, we will see fruit and God will bless. Paul goes on to say, “remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.” We can never forget why we do what we do in life as believers. Paul went to prison for his belief, but stated in verse 9 that the Word of God could never be imprisoned. That still holds true today.
Somewhere along the way many preachers decided the Word of God was not “good enough” anymore and other sources of “‘truth” started getting our ear when it comes to living the Christian life. Even those who tout that they are Bible Scholars take note of strong teachings from “men” and hold to their truth as a standard for their life. They follow Calvinism or Arminianism as a standard for their lives instead of the one who died for us Jesus Christ. Oh I love different preachers and teachers and listen to messages that touch my heart and challenge me to greatness, but I always have to say what Paul did in verse 8. Remember, Jesus Christ…..Remember. In reality Paul wasn’t talking about some of the types of doctrines I listed, because it was before their time. He was talking about the strict discipline of keeping Jesus Christ at the center of everything we do and not giving up that position to anyone or anything. In other words, if Jesus was the quarterback of our heavenly football team and he called a play we didn’t agree with, we shouldn’t put in a back up quarterback who can’t even play. There is no comparison to the Word of God and and Jesus is that Word. John 1:1 ” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Paul knew the power of Jesus Christ, The Word, and He preached that word. He was very strict in His aligning with Christ, the Word. So Paul knew that even though he might be in prison, the Word of God could never be imprisoned. It was for that very reason Paul endured the hardships that came His way. He knew he was a winner either way, and that salvation was still going to happen for those who heard it.
In prison, but not imprisoned!!!
The only way the truth can be imprisoned in each of us is if we never let it be heard from us. May it never be that the truth of the gospel is held captive by our silent lips. May it never be that a lost a dying world won’t hear the truth because of the prison built in our lives, where we are the warden. Stronghold – a place where a particular cause or belief is strongly defended or upheld. Please, take out the keys and let down your walls and let the message of Christ be set free in your life. Don’t get caught up in teachings that are centered on man’s impressions and let that be the stronghold that keeps the gospel from escaping your mouth and your life. Set it free!!! All of these other teachings keep us distracted from the whole point. Share your faith!! Open those prison doors. The Gospel cannot be imprisoned anymore. Not if it is in a sold believer.
The Pilgrimage continues….. David Warren