Remember My Chains

Colossians 4:18 “Remember my chains.”

He teaches. He loves. He writes. He is obedient. He has faith. He is in prison.

How many times have we said, “I want to, but../I wish I could…/I have to finish this first…/I have so much going on…/Give me a sec…”

We have many, many reasons not to be obedient. Some of them are really good, too. Some of it is for our growth. Sometimes we’re called to be still. But sometimes – a lot of times – it’s because we don’t feel worthy. Guilty. Wanting to linger off to the side so no one notices how messed up we really are. If we don’t call attention to ourselves, they won’t notice.

Maybe.

Maybe not.

How easy it is to forget that position is relative. How easy it is to compare ourselves to an image of who we should be before we can serve Him; before we can reach out; before we can be of service to others. By the standard of the day, Paul was a criminal. So was Jesus. So by that same imaginary standard, he shouldn’t have been one to talk about what other people should be doing. I would imagine that he was called a hypocrite. That he needed to worry about his own house first. That he should take a hard look at himself to be punished so- surely he was a sinner? I would imagine that he also felt like like smacking sense into people now and then. I would imagine that he was frustrated that people chose to allow themselves to be distracted by just a thing instead of hearing the message. I would imagine at some point, he thought, “Really Lord? Prison?” Maybe. Maybe not.

“Remember my chains.”

Just because his chains were literal doesn’t mean that they’re the only kind, but physical chains aren’t the only ones that hold us back. Guilt. Shame. Finances. Rank. Our past. Our brokenness. Our bleak outlook. And so we linger in the darkness. Isolated. What if we wrote letters in our darkness? Letters of hope and thanks and praise. To teach. To love. To share. To be obedient. To encourage faith. To reach past our chains the way that Paul reached past his?

“Remember my chains.”

What if we reminded others that we have chains, too? What if we were to use that chain and give someone else a tug? A lift up? Help carrying their burden? What would happen then? Paul says, “This includes you who were once far from God. You were His enemies, separated from Him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself  through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault.” Colossians 1:21-22

What if the purpose of being captive is so that we would have no choice but to be still and listen? What if His presence is where you are right now, being brought to Him to shed the old- be be holy and blameless? What if this place is to distinguish between “human thinking and the spiritual powers of this world” (Col 2:8) and the Holy Spirit? Does that change the place in which you linger? Look around. Could some things stand to change while you’re there? Some old beliefs? Some old strongholds? Some relationships strengthened? Some faith made new? Maybe a little hope?

“Remember my chains.”

What if you could identify the chains? That would point to the key, wouldn’t it? “But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.” Colossians 3:8 So now is the time to remember your chains as you reach out and reach up… and remind others of your chains so that they don’t become your excuses but instead become your testimony.

 

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