Paul, a prisoner of Christ … Philemon 1:1
Prison is not a great place; no matter the perspective or spin you want to put on it.
It is a controlled life. You are told what to do, how to do it, where you should do it and when to do it.
I don’t know anyone who likes that.
I have not visited the prisons, but I have watched Shawshank Redemption.
It’s a great movie set in a prison. Some people stayed in jail for so long that when they got out, they were still expecting instructions. Since it was so difficult to live without instructions, one of them committed suicide.
But we see Paul introducing himself as a prisoner. What a title!
That is a title I would not want for myself. What happened to “Paul, taught by Gamaliel, PhD.” I would prefer that.
Paul feels this is the more excellent way to introduce himself to the whole world. He is effectively saying “I’m sold out”. This is the only thing I would want you to know me for — a man under the control of Jesus Christ”.
He has dropped all that PhD, Jew of Jews, First amongst equal, etc. And same as you, I ask “Why?”
Paul is making a statement to the whole world. The first is that I am now a man under authority. The prison I serve in has the laws of God and the grace to carry it out. I will do as I am told.
I will obey my master. Yes, I am His prisoner, but He has good intents for me.
Godliness is profitable, that is the discovery of Paul. A significant discovery at that.
If he could write it as the lyrics of a Nigerian song, he would say “Jesus, I no wan Ferrari. I no wan Bugatti. Na only your love o.”
Paul is telling us “I am no more in control.” I have submitted my life to the dictates of Jesus Christ. I live in His prison. I will do that which He wants me to do. He is now my master.
Again he says, there is a software that has been installed in my life. That software is now controlling me. And most importantly, I am happy to be controlled because my controller has good intentions for me.
“The Holy Spirit is in me, and He leads me into all truths and righteousness”, Paul contemplates.
With that, Paul reasons it out, “I am a prisoner.”
We are all in prison and are prisoners.
Prisoners to DSTV or continuous gist that has no ending or food or sets of friends or power or money or … the list is endless. Our habits especially, the bad ones are the prison that the normal human being is in.
Habits control and dictates but if used wisely can serve you and your relationship with God.
Imagine having the habit of having a continuous daily dosage of The Word. Hallelujah!!!!
Paul has made a wise choice. He has chosen the prison of Jesus Christ — the one with eternal life and grace for mankind.
Which prison have you chosen or whose prisoner are you? The choice is yours/ours to make; to either deliberately chose to be prisoners of Jesus Christ or be imprisoned by the systems of the world.
In my observations, I have seen it to be true that the things of the spirit have to be actively decided upon or else something else will creep in.
John puts it succinctly, “that He may increase and I may decrease (John 3:30) … for the law came through Moses but grace and truth came through Christ Jesus (John 1:17).”
There is grace for us to be like Paul, prisoners of Christ.
And Paul having found satisfaction in the life he now lives, which is by faith through Jesus Christ, looks straight into our eyes with boldness and conviction and declares thus: “Follow me as I have followed Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).”