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Weekly Devotional

Devotional: W.G. Mullan

No. 395

INFLUENCE OF A PRISONER IN CHAINS.  Philippians 1:14

It was reported some years ago that a famous gang leader was imprisoned.  He proceeded to direct his crime syndicate from his cell and authorities found it difficult to curtail this activity.

Thousands of years ago, the apostle Paul wrote as a prisoner in a Roman jail. He desired to be free that he might continue his crusading for the Gospel of Christ but in the meantime his imprisonment became the reason for activating those who were aware of his chains of captivity.

Many prisoners then and to-day  had charges of  crimes laid against them; but Paul’s confession was, “my chains are in Christ”.  Through the pressure of Jerusalem’s leaders the apostle was arraigned before the Roman authorities and the charges had to be - Paul’s unchanging commitment to preach, “Christ and Him Crucified”.  The charges had to be spelled out and therein Christ was preached, even by those of “envy and strife.” 

The knowledge of his captivity spread and even the elite palace guard had been questioning as to why this prisoner was detained.  It became known that he preached Jesus Christ as Lord in Judea and he was still ablaze for God though suffering in chains.

Paul’s steadfast joy was a great influence on timid, fellow believers.  They had become “much more bold to speak the Word without fear,” Philippians 1:14.  These ministered “out of love”, confident because Paul, the prisoner, was appointed by God, “for the defence of the Gospel,” v.17.  While others declared Christ “from envy and strife”  seeking to add affliction  to the apostle’s chains, he was undeterred by their bitterness.  They were declaring the reason for Paul’s chains and that meant they were declaring Jesus Christ.  “Christ is preached” and it was Paul’s thanksgiving above all his sufferings.  Here is another evidence of his life witness, “for me to live is Christ.”

No attitude of false preachers, who pressurised authorities to add suffering to God’s servant, could suppress the joy of the one dedicated to preaching Christ. 

The word to God’s children is one of challenge – “How do I react to the pressures of life as a child of the King ?” Through the ages and even to-day many of His children are suffering much for being followers of Jesus Christ, even unto martyrdom.  We are humbled when we hear of the atrocities committed in the name of religion but we are even more humbled by the Christlike responses of those who have lost nearest and dearest to such evil minded devotees to their cause.  Any persecution which we may bear in this land is nothing compared to our brothers, sisters and even children refusing to submit to something which is false.  We thank God that He sees, He understands, He bears His burdened ones and He carries every one in His Arms.  Chains of many different kinds still afflict those for whom Christ is everything.  The apostle’s word is also solemn and applicable, 2Thessalonians 1:6,“it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you.”

May each one discover in these the joy the apostle knew in Christ’s chains.  Remember too that the apostle knew the comfort of praying brothers and sisters, requesting the Colossians in his farewell salutations, “Remember my chains” Colossians 4:18.  - - Believers need each other !!

William G. Mullan

wmullan777@btinternet.com

 

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