Paul was often in chains, a minister in manacles, a prophet in prison. The only stocks and bonds he knew were stocks for his feet and bonds for his wrists. But
Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage.
Though often chained in prisons dark, he was in heart and conscience free. He was an ambassador in bonds not of his own making. Alas! we languish today in fetters of our own forging.
Believe Your Beliefs
What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye shall receive them, and ye shall have them.
Believer that you have and you shall have – that is the grammar of faith! We are to ask for wisdom but we must ask in faith, nothing wavering (James 1:6). The believer already has all things in Christ, and by faith he lays hold of what is already his.
We must not only believe that we receive, we must believe that we believe. We must believe our beliefs and doubt our doubts. Alas, we doubt our beliefs and believe our doubts! To be always examining our faith is to destroy it. There is a strange twist of mind that afflicts some harassed souls who can never be sure of anything. These are ever learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.
We must give ourselves credit for such faith as we can muster. The father of the demonized boy said to our Lord, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” His faith was weak and mixed with unbelief and he knew it, but he knew that he had at least a little faith and that faith he asserted. Of course, our faith, like every other good and perfect gift, is of God, but God expects us to use it, affirm it, not doubt it. “If thou canst believe” implies that we can if we will. God would not ask us to believe if we could not.