You sit imprisoned in your own house. This is what it’s come to in your lifespan. The government and ruling authorities have told you where you can and cannot go and what you can and cannot do. The official title for it is “House Arrest.” You are literally trapped in your own rented house. You cannot leave. You are under 24-hour surveillance, and the ruling authorities have appointed guards to stand watch over you inside your own house. They are armed and trained, soldiers who execute justice swiftly if needed. You have no privacy. It is debilitating, but it is far better than the dark, damp dungeons where you have also been imprisoned, while literally being chained to walls and other prisoners, as your flesh rots and wastes away.
But now, you are here, in this confined condition, admittedly because you would not conform to the narrative of the day. They wanted to conform your language. You refused their demands and spoke anyway. As a result, they eliminated your platforms for speaking. But you could not help but speak that which you had been given to speak, the very thing which saved your soul and burns you ablaze with passion. So now, they have restricted your movement and your speech.
Having done all this to silence your threat to them, it seems they have made one miscalculation. They underestimated your passion and conviction for that which you speak of so stridently. In eliminating your audience of the populous, they have given you an unsuspecting audience…their very own guard. So you speak to the guard. They are your new audience. Being assigned to you means they must now listen to your ongoing vernacular. Before long, your verbal testament has worked its way through the entire guard, and they have all been exposed to your creed. There are even quite a few who have given themselves to this truth to which you speak. It’s so unlike any other narrative of the day, that it has to be believable, and worthy of dedication. It’s the ultimate turn of the tables. You never imagined it or planned for it. It just fell into your lap as a result of your suffering.
They begin to allow you to have visitors. Thankfully, they also allow you to write letters and send them out. And that is what you will do. You will write…much. Your letters will be to converts, many of whom owe their conversion to your efforts to convey the message. You will write to gatherings of people who have been transformed just like you, and have given their lives over to this timeless confession. These letters, written from prison, become part of your everyday experience. They are simply written to correct, encourage, and build up all those who are laboring in the great effort! You write one letter to a Roman colony called Philippi.
Unknown to you at this time, you will be in this location under house arrest for approximately two years. It would be much longer than you would have ever imagined. When the appropriated times have all come to their conclusion, the inevitable you knew would come, will arrive. They will march you out to the place of execution, and with the violent crash of a sword or axe, they will behead you. You will become a martyr, because you were willing to die for the very thing they tried to steal from you.
In what they thought they were taking, you were actually given more. When they thought they had taken the grand audience from you, you were given the strategic audience appointed unto you…their very own. Through their supposed limitations, they actually increased your reach far beyond anything either of you would imagine or thought possible.
They thought they had reduced you to just a broken-spirited jailbird, whose letters were only reaching a handful of meaningless house churches in Philippi. But since that time, billions of people have read and memorized the 2,183 words of that letter to those churches. They have quoted them at weddings, funerals, and used them for sustenance in their own times of peril. The words of that letter have been put into more than five billion Bibles and printed in more than 1,551 languages all over the world. Not to mention all of the other letters you wrote from varying locations to varying peoples, in which the same exact thing happened.
The reason this happened is because the God you serve has plans and is fulfilling those plans until He returns to earth to rule and reign with His Church, and establish His new Kingdom. Absolutely none of those plans will ever be thwarted, no matter the efforts set against them.
Stay faithful saints. He is the God who takes the little and menial things we do in love and faith on a daily basis, and turns them into something bigger than we could imagine. He is always working…always winning. He is the King! He is Jesus!
I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
Philippians 1:12, 14