May 14th, 2021 – Friday Afternoon
“…for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned.” ~2 Timothy 2:9
The utter irony and freedom that is found in this passage is both refreshing and powerful: Paul was willing to suffer hardship (to suffer [endure] evils [hardship, troubles], to be afflicted) to the highest (or lowest) level – that of imprisonment as a criminal – as a part of following his risen Lord and Savior. He willingly chose to live with trouble and imprisonment because obedience, trust, the Gospel, and his relationship with Christ were more important to him than his personal freedom.
The irony is that those who sought to imprison him and afflict him could not inhibit the word of God which Paul spoke, lived, and disseminated. This wasn’t due to some popular movement or from Paul’s persona, but from the pure, raw power of God at work to take His message to every place He desired it to go. Furthermore, Paul was free to do his Father’s will and equipped to live with his Master’s Spirit, even while sitting in prison. The very word of God that could not be chained or put in bonds gave Paul true freedom even while his earthly freedom was wrongfully taken from him.
How about you? Are you a true prisoner with temporal freedom or a temporary prisoner with true freedom? Has the awesome power of God been unleashed in your heart through His Word and Spirit? If you are suffering for the cause of Christ – carry on with joy and surrender, knowing that He will continue His good work with His power and by His authority. If you are not currently suffering for the cause of Christ – pray for the strength, encouragement, and faithfulness of those who are and equip yourself for suffering by ingesting His Word with humble submission to His Spirit.
Praise the Lord that His Word is still living and active! Praise Him that His people are equipped with His Spirit and willing to suffer for His sake! Thank You, Father, for Your perfect work and will!