Paul often refers to himself as “the prisoner of Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 3:1). Paul also wrote, “Do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner” (2 Timothy 1:8). Even into his old age, Paul rejoiced that he had been apprehended by the Lord and taken captive to his will (see Philemon 9).
Paul could tell you the very hour the Lord took him captive. He was on the road to Damascus with official letters from the high priest authorizing him to arrest Christians and bring them back to Jerusalem. Scripture says he was “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1). In other words, he was full of hatred, bitterness and anger in his misguided zeal for God.
But as Paul approached Damascus, “Suddenly a light shone around him from heaven” (Acts 9:3). He was struck totally blind by that light, which was Christ’s glory. Paul testifies again and again how he had to be taken by the hand and led into Damascus. In short, he was a helpless prisoner. He spent three days isolated in a room, without sight and refusing food. He was a prisoner in spirit, soul, and body.
So what happened in that room? The Holy Spirit was making Saul into Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ. As we read Acts 9, we can almost hear Paul’s agonizing prayer: “Lord, I thought I was doing your will — how could I have been so blind? You have taken away my fleshly sight and given me spiritual eyes to see! All this time I’ve been going my own way, doing whatever I thought was right. But I can’t trust my own thoughts.”
Right now, the Holy Spirit is moving throughout the world, calling all invited guests to prepare themselves and come: “All things are now ready” (Luke 14:17). Many make excuses not to let themselves be bound to the Lord. “They all with one accord began to make excuses” (Luke 14:18).
Jesus is warning us against the last-hour temptation of being enamored with this world and I urge you to yield to his voice. Submit yourself to him and pray this prayer: “Lord, I’m sick of my independent spirit and I’m stretching my arms to you. Put your loving arm around me and bind me to you.”