Freedom’s Prisoner

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By B.J. Funk –

John Bunyon, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress was thrown into prison for twelve years for the crime of preaching the gospel without a license. John Bunyon was free in Christ, yet he was a prisoner of the authorities. He was freedom’s prisoner.

John the Baptist was thrown into prison for denouncing Herod’s adulterous relationship with his brother’s wife. During his ministry, the apostle Paul spent around six years in prison.

Saeed Abedini, a 35 year old pastor, father and husband from Idaho, converted from Islam to Christianity in 2000. He is currently  imprisoned in Iran for his faith. In 2013, Saeed was sentenced to eight years in prison for undermining national security by having private Christian gatherings in homes in Iran and for attempting to sway Iranian youth away from Islam. Saeed is free in Christ, yet a prisoner. There is however, another kind of prison, one in which you might even be captive.

It is not inside a building. It is the prison you have placed around your soul, body, and mind.  Why are so many Christians walking around in this kind of prison, a prison of our own making? If we are Christians, we have the greatest reason in the world to live our lives in daily peace and freedom. If we truly understand that Jesus has taken away our sins, purchased us with his blood, and made us righteous in him, then our daily song should be one of great rejoicing. Recently, I heard someone say of another, “Wherever he goes, he carries his own jail with him.” What a tremendous waste of a human’s life! He settles here or there, never being able to settle in freedom, without his jail cell accompanying him. The person who is free, yet in a self-imposed prison, is certainly freedom’s prisoner.

Christians know we have an enemy, and his name is Satan. We may blame our mate, our children, our parents, our co- workers or our best friend for our difficulties, but they are only pawns in the hand of the real enemy. I believe he gets up early in the morning and begins his attack on those of us living for Christ. He views our lack of self-confidence as his chance to maximize our insecurities. He thinks our struggle with a relationship is his opportunity to pull us into depression. He regards our broken hearts as his chance to jump in and give us the tools to place blame on the other person. He does a happy dance when we fight with our mate. He turns cartwheels when we get imbedded in fractious encounters with our friends.

What he loves best is when we begin to doubt our salvation, thinking we surely must be so bad that God could never love us. He pouts as God prepares a table for you in the presence of your enemies (Psalm 23). As God becomes your protector, Satan fights hard to put an end to your relationship with the King.

Satan can only be victorious if we give him the keys to lock us into that prison. Sometimes, he battles hard to win us over. We can almost literally feel the pull of his evil web surrounding us. But, we are not his prisoner. Because of Jesus, we are free. We must get up earlier than he does to wear armor that will keep his arrows from penetrating what we know in Christ. We can walk in victory each day only if we realize who our enemy is and what we can do about him!

One of Satan’s best moves is to make Christians believe that there is no serious conflict between good and evil. That kind of thinking leads to spiritual stagnation. Ephesians 6:11 warns us to “stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

Does anything in this article remind you of yourself?  Then, you know what to do. Give your self-imposed prison to Jesus, and watch him walk toward you, place his golden key in the lock, and set you free. A Christian free in Christ never needs to be freedom’s prisoner.

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