Paul says at the start of Ephesians 4, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (Eph 4:1). Notice that Paul refers to himself as a prisoner for the Lord. He was a literal prisoner at this time, but he didn’t think of himself as a prisoner of Rome. He belonged to Christ. His will was subservient to God’s will. Jesus was his master to whom he obeyed. His life belonged not to Rome but Christ. He was a prisoner of Rome only because it was God’s will.
It takes maturity to reach a place where we become faithful captives of Jesus Christ. By nature, we are self-centered, self-oriented. Naturally, we think, How does this affect me? What do I get out of this? The prisoner of Christ, on the other hand, thinks, How does this affect God? How does it reflect on him? What is he accomplishing through this? How might this take the gospel further? I believe that no matter the circumstances, the mature Christian will say, “I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken” (Ps 16:8).