Captivity

<<confinement, imprisonment>>

As inhibiting and restrictive as physical captivity is, being held captive in the spiritual realm is much more negative and devastating. Many people might be physically unrestrained but emotionally are imprisoned by wrong beliefs and practices. Jesus wants us to be free to worship God and actively involved doing His will by advancing His Kingdom without being restricted and hindered by the opposing spiritual authority.

Because of inherent sin, we all have been taken prisoner, unable to escape from the control of Satan who capitalises on the carnal human flesh and its bias to live in rebellion to the light and purity of God. Christ died to purchase freedom for us. It is our choice and responsibility to enter into and walk in that freedom. Jesus must have our co-operation to free us from all the works of the enemy (Jn 8:32,36; 1 Jn 3:8).  God sent Jesus to proclaim freedom to those Satan has in bondage, “He has anointed me preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the captives and release for the blind” (Lk 4:18, 13:10-16). Have your eyes opened to the truth and break free in Jesus name from the captivity that Satan has ensnared you, be it mental, physical, financial, spiritual, social or emotional. Sin is why we are in captivity, not realizing or implementing the victory of Jesus. Allow the work of Christ on the cross to be fully effective in your life to bring you into liberty. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourself be burdened again by the yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1). Think victory and speak release into the imprisoned areas of your inner being to fulfill your God given calling. Don’t focus on what binds and hinders but rather on the means of freedom – the blood of Christ and take the necessary steps to maintain freedom.

It’s an insult to the price Christ paid on the cross if we don’t walk in ever-increasing freedom.

The desire of God is, “Release him and let him go” (Jn 11:44). We should be involved in freeing people of the chains of darkness that shackle them because they are unaware of the victory available in Christ. Unlock the potential in people. Those who are inhibited need to break free.

Some of the areas we can be taken captive in are: tongue – we are ensnared by our words, which have significant power (Prov 6:2, 18:21); time – failing to use wisely this valuable resource; TV viewing – so much is of questionable value; talents – not using or developing the God-given gifts for His Kingdom; thoughts – be they negative, critical,

  What am I bound by that I desire                                 be liberated from?

low self-esteem or sexual; hobbies becoming gods, detracting from what is eternally profitable; undue attention to physical looks and exercise. Don’t allow circumstances to dictate a negative attitude or victim mentality.

We are to take authority over these (2 Cor 10:4,5). What we see with our eyes stimulates our thoughts from which desires are aroused and these may develop into actions. So it is imperative that ungodly sexual fantasies are seen as serious temptation that has lead to the ruin of many, along with the lure of money and personal glory or pride (1 Tim 6:9,10; 1 Jn 2:16). Destructive habits that dishonour the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit also hold people in bondage (1 Cor 3:16,17). We do not need to stay bound in captivity. Don’t try and justify playing with fire; it will burn you at some stage (Prov 6:27,28). When the Holy Spirit warns or convicts, quickly deal with issues to bring your life back into harmony with the divine guidelines so Satan can’t get the advantage over you and have a foothold from where he can mount an all-out attack on you (Eph 4:27; 1 Pet 5:8,9). Remember we are in a spiritual battle and the stakes are high so we always need to be alert especially in the susceptible areas of our known weaknesses.

Believing life should revolve around them, countless Christians are selfishly motivated and so hold themselves captive, when they are not ministered to. “The gospel is the power of God for the salvation [from the penalty and power of sin] of everyone who believes” (Rom 1:16). This freedom is not so we can live for ourselves, rather it is so we can live unselfishly blessing others which in fact is doing it for the Lord (Mt 25:24-45; Col 3:23). 

We choose whether we are slaves to sin or righteousness “for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him” (Rom 6:16-22; 2 Pet 2:19). Do not accept the bondage and captivity you are in. Satan would like us to agree with him – this is the way things are and always will be. Rather make every effort to be free in Jesus, with His help

  Jesus died to free us from all of                                 Satan's bondages   

conquer what has in the past conquered you. Learn from mistakes, while also observing the blunders of others.

 Biblical examples of captivity

1/. Captivity in Egypt

The Israelites became captives in Egypt when what had started as a goodwill gesture was reversed over time (Gen 47:5-12; Ex 1:6-14). They were subtly trapped by being increasingly restricted with more demands put on them. What starts ‘innocently’ can become a major threat to survival like weeds growing up choking the good plants (Mt 13:7). Cunningly, Satan wants to ensnare and trap us in sin and destructive habits. We should always be alert so sinister desires do not creep up on us and entangle us in the clutches of evil.

2/. Captivity in the Promised Land

Israel was repeatedly in servitude and bondage to opposing people groups beginning only some 30 years after they entered the Promised Land. They compromised on God’s instructions of eliminating the enemy, intermarried with the heathen nations, and worshiped false gods as “Everyone did what was right in their own eyes” (Jdg 17:6). Soon they were in captivity. In desperation, they cried out to God for deliverance from this oppression. Out of His loving kindness and faithfulness to His promise God would raise up a judge or deliverer who would rallying the repentant people to turn back to the right lifestyle. For a time they would walk uprightly in peace but then complacency and disobedience would set in and the cycle would start over again. The book of Judges records this sequence happening 12 times in 325 years. Do my reforms last only a short time because I fail to wholeheartedly obey God?

3/. The Babylonian Captivity

After the United Kingdom of Israel divided in 930 BC into the Northern Kingdom (10 tribes) and Judah (2 tribes), the Jews were “Taken captive to Babylon because of their unfaithfulness” (1 Chr 9:1). Jeremiah prophesied this period of exile would last some 70 years calculated as the time span from when the temple (the focus and heartbeat of the nation) was destroyed in 586 BC till the rebuild was finished in 516 BC (Jer 25:11, 29:10).  After some 49 years of humbling captivity, some of the captives took the opportunity in 537 BC to return home and start again. Reconstruction of the temple was slow and spasmodic so until it was completed they didn’t consider themselves re-established as a nation. The northern 10 tribes of Israel had been in captivity for an additional 136 years before this, and were unsure of their heritage and did not avail themselves of the opportunity to return to their homeland, choosing to remain in servitude rather than enter into what God had for them.

Sin can demoralize and warp our perspective, creating little desire to change and be free of the bondage as we are acclimatized to the deceitfulness of the real predicament. However, this condition and mindset is not our inheritance or God’s will for us. Don’t allow the devil to tell you this is as good as it gets, and settle down in the enemy’s camp. You have been set free in Christ so claim your rightful legacy and continually push forward into freedom.

Whether, through subtle ensnaring, ‘playing’ with sin, or willful disobedience sin brings captivity. The restorative process of freedom can take a long time and much effortto bring about. In fact, as the

Sin always takes prisoners

consequences are seldom resolved, it is much wiser not be trapped in the first place!

See also: binding and loosing, bondage, bound, deliverance , habits, Judges (Jdg), liberty, release, spirit oppression/possession.


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