My Own Prison
Ephesians 2:1-5 You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked… we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body… But God, being rich in mercy… even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.
Weekly, a buddy and I go to the county jail for a bible study, where we are allowed to meet with a few of the inmates. On our way in, we pick up a hand-held radio so we can call to be let out when we are done. On a few occasions, we have neglected to take a radio and are then stuck in our meeting room until someone checks on us. Being imprisoned is a helpless feeling. Though we have not been trapped for more than half an hour, it is maddening to have no way out. When the door is finally opened, we exit briskly. We do not stay in jail once the door is opened.
I have met those however, who have found some strange comfort in prison. For whatever reason, freedom, at times, is too demanding and they recall their incarceration with some fondness. When in prison, they want out, but once out, they look back with some nostalgia.
This sounds ridiculous to us, but we all have chosen, at times, to remain in our own prison. Many of us, in fact, are still living in a prison, made by our own hands. Paul, in today’s passage, reminded the Ephesians that they once, were dead in the desires of their flesh. Christ, he said, set them free and brought them to life. He wrote to remind them (and us) of this, as he knew it was their nature to return to the pursuits of the flesh.
I must admit, I have completely misunderstood what Christ does for me. I once thought that when I came to Christ, He transported me magically out of my prison and forced me to remain free. I now see that Christ opens the door. Living free does not happen automatically. Jesus opens the door and beckons me to live free, pursuing my spirit life with him. It is my nature however, to return to my prison. The desires of my flesh continually beckon me back. When I choose to indulge in lust, drugs, anger, pride, greed and all things me, I return to my prison.
Then, when incarcerated by the misery of me, I try to blame circumstances or those around me. Difficult people and circumstances may certainly cause me discomfort, but my greatest problem is not outside of me. My prison is not made by the hands of others but by myself. I am my own greatest life problem. Though others may cause me injury, they cannot choose whether I live imprisoned or free with Christ. God may, at times, deliver me from difficult circumstances, but Christ did not die for my circumstances. He died to set me free from myself.
Christ opens the door, but it is up to me to choose to walk in freedom with him. If I do not continually do this, I will, by default, find myself in the prison of me.