Remember my chains… 4:18b
Paul wrote those words close to 2000 years ago. He was obviously referring to his imprisonment in a Roman jail, but we know that God’s Word is alive and active, and transcends time and culture. God is able to speak into our very situation even though the original words were not written to us. I believe His words apply to our culture in a very unique way. God taught me that Paul’s exhortation to ‘remember his chains’ is a direct rebuke of the Prosperity Gospel.
The Apostle Paul, the man who penned many books of the Bible, the man who is credited with bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles, the man who was a faithful, godly servant of the Lord, THIS MAN is suffering in prison! He is calling us to remember this suffering, in Col 4:18.
The Prosperity Gospel says, “if you come to Jesus, He will give you health, wealth, and everything in between.” We can hear Paul screaming, “NO, NO, NO–believer, REMEMBER MY CHAINS! Do not forget that I am in prison BECAUSE of my faith! You too will have trouble and suffering! Please, I beg you, use your suffering for Christ’s glory–that He may develop more of Himself in you and others through it! Do not WASTE your suffering–it has great, divine purpose! Above all, please do not believe the lie that God is not sovereign over your suffering! Remember my chains…”
Why do we, twenty-first century believers, think we deserve better than the Apostle Paul or even worse, our Savior Jesus Christ, who suffered and died on an old rugged cross?!
O God, save us from coming to you for anything other than YOU…Lord, give us joy in our suffering…