If you were a prisoner of war, would you rather be eliminated by your enemy, or forced to do his bidding? It seems that if you are going to be killed anyway there would be less pain and anxiety in death than there would be in the torture that would come before it. Perhaps you are thinking that if you were alive, there might at least be some hope of release or escape.
When Paul wrote to Timothy concerning his ministry to the church, while he was giving him tips on how to be a gentle servant in the kingdom he included these verses – “in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:25-26).
Pay special attention to the phrase, “having been taken captive by him to do his will.” The original language of this text expresses the fact that Satan is taking live prisoners! Many people think that the battle between God and the devil is being played out just between the two of them. They think that whatever influence the devil may have is only going to be seen in judgment.
But the devil is not waiting for judgment! He already knows he loses on that day. The devil’s work is in lives that exist today. Paul is saying that most people don’t realize that they are the devil’s live prisoners. But Satan has them and they are doing what he wants them to do. The only way they can “come to their senses” or “escape” from their terrible situation is through the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ which will bring them to repentance.
Satan is deceptive! He wants you to think that you are free when you are really his slave. He wants you to think that your life is really going fine when in actuality the life that you are living is full of problems which if not dealt with will eventually lead you to hell. The devil means business. Don’t be foolish. He is working on you. He won’t just kill you when he gets a hold of you. He has no interest in that. He wants to keep you alive so that you can serve him.
“But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18)
—Jeremiah Tatum, Willow Avenue church, Cookville TN