“And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.” And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”” Acts 26:31-32
Paul was a man on a mission from God. He felt called to go to Rome. Maybe he didn’t plan to go originally, as a prisoner for his faith. He made the best of the hand he was dealt. He had an audience of the leaders and was sharing the gospel.
As I read this, the words “he could have been set free if he had not…” struck my attention. Paul had appealed to Caesar, so even if they wanted to, Paul would need to be seen before Caesar before his journey was complete. He could have been free, but he had already appealed to the highest court.
Paul spoke an appeal to Caesar, and in doing so he kept his imprisonment going longer than was necessary. Again, he was on a mission from God, but the same is true in our own lives. How often do our own words or actions keep us imprisoned? Not because we are on a mission from God, but because of what we create by what we align our words with. I believe that our words are creative, because we were made in the image of a creative God.
2 Corinthians 4:13 – Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak,
Romans 4:17 – as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.
What do we allow to manifest in our life because of what we speak (or post on social media) or how we respond to situations? It is important that we keep guard over what we say. The Bible says that we should be slow to speak (James 1:19). We need to take time to think before we allow creativity to flow from our lips.
How many times do we pray for God to heal us, all the time confessing how sick we are? I try to catch myself when I am speaking sickness into my own life or into the lives of others. Things that keep me from being set free – like when I speak of “my headache”, “my allergies”, etc. I can not claim it as mine and expect God to take it from me. I don’t believe denying facts, but I can speak the facts without negating God’s truth of healing. I can use neutral words like “this headache” “these allergies”, “this sickness”.
How many times am I crying out to God for change in a relationship, while I am verbally tearing it down to others? I will never forget my good friend calling me on what I was speaking into my marriage. My husband and I were going through a difficult time back in the early 2000’s. I admit I had very little positive things to say. I should have listened to my mom’s advice from childhood “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Instead, I was complaining to my coworkers about my husband. Constantly. One day my friend asked me “Why do you stay married, you never have anything nice to say about your husband?” OUCH!!! I purposed to stop, and although the change did not come immediately, my marriage started improving. I could have been set free, but my words were creating a negative environment in our marriage.
I think about believers who have walked away from God, because I have been there before. I think about how they have already been set free, but they are walking in captivity. They could be set free, but by their actions they remain in captivity.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn; Isaiah 61:1-2
Jesus fulfilled this prophesy. He finished it at the cross. We do not have to stay brokenhearted. We do not have to live in captivity. We do not have to live bound. We can receive His comfort. This is not to say that those who have sinned and are currently incarcerated don’t have to finish out thier sentence if they get saved. It means that like Paul, regardless of their situation, they can live in freedom and praise God in the midst of carrying out their sentence. Paul’s greatest testimony and much of the new testament came while he was in a physical state of captivity.
He told the Corinthians in his letter, 2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. He may have been held in chains, but He was free in the Lord. We need to ask the Lord to reveal to us areas where we could be set free, but because of our words or actions we remain in bondage.
Prayer – Lord, I know sometimes my mouth is my worst enemy. I speak without thinking, I say things that keep me in bondage. I say I want one thing from You in prayer, and then speak as if You will never provide what You have already promised. I thank You for Your grace. I thank You for changing me as I have allowed You access through surrender. Lord, You already paid the price for me to be set free. I pray that You would help me to see areas where I am living unnecessarily in captivity, and give me the courage to walk out the freedom You have already provided. I pray that You would also give me the wisdom to help others be set free too. In Jesus name. Amen.
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