“This letter is from Paul, a prisoner for preaching the Good News about Christ Jesus.”
–Philemon 1:1 excerpt (New Living Translation)

Do you feel imprisoned today? Maybe you feel bound to a habit, or a lifestyle. In order to help set you free from these bonds, I want to look at three words, for these are what most people are brought down by. They are self, circumstances and sin.

Have you ever wanted something, only to find out when you got it that you weren’t satisfied for long? I guess we all have been in this situation sometimes. But a person who is imprisoned by self is constantly driven and enslaved by unhealthy desires. If you doubt that, all you have to do is look at the news. Ask yourself what binds you on a smaller scale, for we all are bound by something within ourselves. But I have good news: Christ is much stronger than anything that ensnares us! In order to get victory over self, you only need to dwell in His shadow.

The second word we need to look at is circumstances, for most people are bound by those. When all goes well people feel fine, but when rainclouds come their lives are a mess. I once met a man in the hospital who was very depressed, and he was questioning his faith. I talked to the man and prayed with him that things would improve. The next day, everything had improved drastically, and he had regained his trust in God. Don’t get me wrong, we all experience situations like this, and we all have questions. But going from one extreme of life to another is dangerous. We need to filter our day-to-day lives with God’s word if we are to attain some sense of stability in life.

The third word is sin, and it simply means missing the mark. All of us have fallen short of God’s holy vision for us. Whether we have our eyes on self or circumstances, the result is the same, and we find ourselves imprisoned.

But like the apostle Paul, we need to keep our eyes on Christ. Paul was persecuted, beaten, imprisoned, and ultimately killed because of his faith. But no matter what came his way, Paul’s bond with Christ was always stronger. He knew that the real prison door had been opened, because Christ held the key to his heart.

So my friend, I ask you: What are you wrestling with today? If you haven’t met Christ, ask Him to be your savior. If you do already know Him, give Him whatever binds you today, and His love will set you free!