For the last 5 years of his life Paul spend time in various prisons on the way to trial in Rome under armed guard. But he never saw himself as a prisoner of the Romans or a prisoner of the devil but as a prisoner of the Lord. “I therefore the prisoner of the Lord beseech you walk worthy” Phil 3. His attitude was that he was not a prisoner of his circumstances, marriage, family or his boss but the Lord. He’s writing to people who have trouble accepting other people. Jews, gentiles, bosses, unsaved spouses along with all their problems.
When Gods people in the Bible, were put in prison, they were there because they served God, not because they committed a crime. A king put Joseph and Jeremiah in prison; Herod put John the Baptist in his cell. Nebuchadnezzar locked Daniel up and Roman rulers put Paul in prison. But Paul saw that God overruled all the prisons in the Old Testament and therefore he believed his prison was the Lord’s prison. Sure in prison you don’t have control anymore over the circumstances of your life or the people that are in your life, because you a prisoner. Paul believed that although we can be serving God, there can be times we seem to be in a prison. Circumstantially you can’t do what you hoped to do – you seem stuck, perhaps you’re financially your stuck, or stuck with a boss that is arrogant. Relationally there are people in your life that you can’t change or be free from. But Paul encourages us to view it as the prison of the Lord.
As the “Lords prisoners” we have no say about the people we are stuck with and if we did we would remove all the people in our life that we don’t like. We’d remove all the difficult parts of our job and change all the challenging circumstances that are helping us to grow up. Paul understood he was put there for reason and for a purpose. He didn’t know what that purpose was yet but he knew he should walk worthy, because others were watching him. Joseph, Jeremiah and Daniel were observed by those who had the key to their future. Paul knew that someone is always watching us and that the Lord uses those people to be the key to our promotion or destiny. Serve well in your prison toady!