In Bible days, prisons were grim places with the prisoners often kept chained. Paul was in prison “in chains for Christ”, for the latter part of His life, and from there wrote four of his letters (Eph 3:1; Phil 1:12-14; Col 4:18; Phm 1:9). In this situation, he no doubt practiced what he wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again” (Phil 4:4). The Bible instructs us not to forget those in prison, visiting them as His representatives and fellow believers (Mt 25:36,40; Heb 10:34, 13:3).

If you are unjustly imprisoned (by situations), remember Paul and Silas were thrown into prison, and like Joseph they didn’t let self-pity or bitterness destroy them, instead they maintained a right attitude and God acted on their behalf. They were held prisoners in body yet not in spirit (Gen 39:20-23; Act 16:22-26). During an earlier incarceration earnest prayer was offered on Peter’s behalf and he was released from prison, however the Bible records many others were not (Act 12:4-11; Heb 11:35,36). These believers were all imprisoned because of their faith and stand for Christ, not for wrongdoing. There must be penalties for wrongdoing, yet sometimes unjust and godless authorities imprison or cause Christians hardship because of their different philosophy or ethos of life (1 Pet 4:14-16).

Not only are there physical prisons that keep people restricted but also psychological ones – where people can be bound in situations that are not necessarily the result of their actions yet are no less real and limit their freedom in life.  What self-inflicted things, including wrong negative thought patterns,

Don’t be a prisoner to sin

un-forgiveness, destructive habits, sinful addictions as well as Satan’s lies and deception are keeping me in bondage so I can’t be all I should be in Christ? Seemingly innocent, harmless actions subtly increase their hold until they have a stranglehold, “making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members” (Rom 7:23). What steps am I taking to become victorious in Christ over these? Satan has already been defeated in these areas; we need this to become reality by resisting Satan, walking obediently and proclaiming the promises of the Bible, keeping our eyes on the victory available in Christ. Often there is the need for ongoing prayer and deliverance, with a progressive release as the issues are continually challenged. The inheritance of the Promised Land was only gained as victory was slowly achieved, one battle after another (Ex 23:29,30).

Satan desires to keep us in bondage, through not understanding our position in Christ and the power of His blood. Be determined stating, ‘I want to be released from the captivity of past failure, which is Satan’s deceptive hold over me, and walk in the freedom of the Holy Spirit’. We can be prisoners of our own making – through wrong choices, allowing the negative situations that happen to dominate our minds and affect our attitudes. Also, by not appropriating the resources Christ has made available for us to walk in victory, not being disciplined to make and maintain a stand against the attacks of the devil we fail to “stand fast in the liberty of Christ whereby He has set us free” (2 Cor 10:5; Gal 5:1; Eph 6:10-18).

Jesus came to bring release to the captives (Isa 42:7, 61:1; Lk 4:18).  In what areas of my life do I need to experience His liberating power? He is the key to our freedom; it is our responsibility to work with Him to bring release. As His representatives, we are to bring spiritual prisoners out of Satan’s grip of bondage into the marvelous light (1 Pet 2:9). All humanity has been held captive and it is only by

In Jesus' name walk out of your self-imposed prison

allowing Jesus to control us that sin’s domination can be broken (Rom 6:4; Gal 3:22). Do I enthusiastically tell others about Jesus, who is releasing me from captivity to destructive habits and selfishness, by ‘describing how the Lord brought me out of prison’ (Act 12:17)?

When opposition and circumstances are against us or we feel confused about ‘where is God in this’ we sense we are trapped, yet "encourage yourself in God", do not turn away from Him because Jesus will never leave us. David when he was treatened with his life (again), recalled God's love and promises to him in the past and the calling on his life to be the next king of Israel. He knew God doesn't break His promises and as he had been delivered several times in the past was confident he would be this time, too (1 Sam 30:6; Heb 10:35, 13:5). We need the true perspective on situations – that God is in control and all things are working for our good and bringing us into conformity with the nature of Jesus (Rom 8:28,29).

In today’s confused society, the godly principles that once governed much of civilized life are being rejected and ways adopted which are the opposite of God’s righteous ways. According to Scripture the outcome will be that believers will be persecuted, with some imprisoned and even martyred though they have not broken God’s moral and ethical laws (Lk 21:12; 2 Tim 3:12; Rev 2:10). At the end of this age, Satan will experience prison, before he is released for a short time then he will be doomed to the lake of fire forever (Rev 20:2-4,7-10).

Ministry to prisoners is a fruitful work, as is assisting ex-inmates readjust to life on the outside by showing the love of Christ to those often marginalized by society (Mt 25:34-40).

See also: addiction, binding and losing, bondage, freedom, habits, liberty, mind, over-comer, persecution, thinking/thoughts, un-forgiveness, victory.