Ezra 1:1-8 The captives of Babylon were taken by Zerubbabel to rebuild the temple.
Captives will be taken captive. Sounds like a tongue twister or tongue in cheek kind of phrase, if you think about it. Without God in our lives; we are merely captive souls owned by others through unequally yoked relationships, competitive materialism, and emotionally hijacked situations that prevent us from making rational decisions that net eternal benefits. We often speak of freedom as if the concept is simply a reward for longsuffering. Instead of holding out our hands to be led to freedom in Christ, we struggle to break free of only what we can see. We are captive still.
What will open those clenched fists? Isaiah said freedom begins when the Lord has mercy (Isaiah 14:1, 2 For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob…they will take them captive whose captives they were…”). Why do we need mercy to enter into God’s kingdom? The emphasis here seems to be on the total helplessness man feels when he/she has no other way but to follow Christ. Try as we might, we are unable to earn our freedom or even know how to pursue the idea.
If freedom is my goal; why would I want to be taken captive again? The obvious answer is to be among those chosen in the Lord’s kingdom, and with that calling have the no-holds barred attitude about serving Him here on earth and eternally. Is there a choice? I tend to believe there is. We can choose to sacrifice on earth for earthly things or we can pursue the ordained works from the will of God as His captive.
What is in this captivity for me? There are times when I tell myself, I should walk away. I sometimes say what makes the difference? Captivity indicates that I have little choice but to do what God says. Yet, captivity has not prevented me from falling short of doing what I know to do. For instance, Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” I confess that I have not played a major role in evangelism as this great commission by Christ.
Whether or not I can follow Christ depends mostly on what Christ has done for me. Ephesians 4:8 When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave good gifts to men.” Not only does He call me to be His captive, but He gives me whatever good gifts He knows I need. With these gifts I can choose to seek healthy relationships, befriend the strangers in this world, and witness supernatural results from simple obedience. Being a captive of Christ is to receive mercy, to be given gifts to perform His will, and to enjoy the privilege of freedom.
From the archives. This post originally published August 24, 2015.