For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
Paul calls himself a "prisoner of Christ Jesus." He can say this because when he wrote these words he had been imprisoned for preaching the gospel, the good news, about Jesus. Like Jesus, Paul refused to be silenced. He spoke the truth about God's coming kingdom even when it made him an enemy of earthly kingdoms. Eventually this conviction made Jesus and Paul enemies of the state.
Paul suffered much as a result of his calling to take the good news about Jesus to the Gentiles. (A list of some of his sufferings can be found here 2 Cor. 11:22-33.) Paul once said,
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:7-11)
All of this got me thinking...how do I share in those sufferings. I'm not a prisoner of Christ. What am I for Christ?
If you had to be categorized right now as a _______ for Christ, what would be placed in the blank? What is your sacrifice? What is the role you are playing in the kingdom of God right now?
Make no mistake, you do have a role to play. All believers have been called to advance the kingdom through the great commission (Matt. 28:19). Moreover, God created you to do good works, which He has prepared in advance for you to do (Ephesians 2:10).
Maybe you are called to be a mom or dad for Christ. Sacrificially pouring into your children who will in turn affect the world for Jesus in big ways. Or perhaps you are called to be a Sunday School teacher or youth leader for Christ. We need more volunteer ministers like this who will not only put in the hours to skillfully explain God's Word to children but will also spend time sacrificially praying for and loving on children in the church. We are in need of more missionaries for Christ, Bible translators for Christ, and sacrificial givers for Christ. What's you role?
If you aren't 100% comfortable with how that blank would be filled in for you right now, then rest in this truth: God has a plan for your life. You have a part to play in the great unfolding drama of this world. The only questions that remain are:
- What were you created to do? AND
- Are you doing it?