I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Colossians 4:18 NIV
Paul’s simple words carry gritty inspiration, reminding us that the most lowly, difficult, unjust, humble places in which we find ourselves are fertile ground for the Lord. After all, so many of the words we cherish from Paul’s writing — how he amazingly communicated God’s divine wisdom, guiding love, and faithful insight — were written while he was in prison. Considering the dismal circumstance from which his words came makes them all the poignant and patent with God’s purpose.
When it was time for my first defense, no one showed up to support me. Everyone abandoned me (may it not be held against them) except the Lord. He stood by me, strengthened me, and backed the truth I proclaimed with power so it may be heard by all the non-Jews. 2 Timothy 4:16-17 VOICE
Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other. Ephesians 4:2 CEV
…be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 GNT
To remember Paul’s chains is to reflect on Christ’s imprisonment; the apostle’s mistreatment patterned Isaiah’s prophetic Words for our Savior:
From prison and trial they led him away to his death. But who among the people of that day realized it was their sins that he was dying for—that he was suffering their punishment? Isaiah 53:8 TLB
Wherever he was, locked up or moving on, Paul continued to seek humility, alert to the Lord’s leading, carrying out God’s commands, mindful of Jesus’ way, willing to endure whatever path the Lord revealed.
When people turn to you, Yahweh, they discover how easy you are to please—so faithful and true! Joyfully teach them the proper path, even when they go astray. Keep showing the humble your path, and lead them into the best decision. Psalm 25:8-9 TPT
Paul dedicated his life as a thoroughfare for God’s will and seemed to acquire the attitudes of the faithful ones of his heritage whose lives had also detoured through humble places. He reflected the integrity of Joseph while in prison—
Joseph’s master seized him and put him into the jail where the king’s prisoners were confined. And there he sat, in jail. But the Lord was with Joseph, and showed him kindness by making the chief jailer well-disposed toward him. The chief jailer put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners in the jail. Everything that had to be done there, he was the one to do it. The chief jailer did not have to look after anything that was in Joseph’s charge, since the Lord was with him and was bringing success to whatever he was doing. Genesis 39:20-23 NABRE
—and the steadfast trust of the Lord of Job.
Then Job arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell on the ground and worshiped. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrongdoing. Job 1:20-22 NRSV
Prayer: Merciful God, prepare me to respond in humility; help me to overcome annoyance, indignation, and defeat, even if my strange circumstance seems to bind me in chains. You, too, suffered imprisonment and you can relate! Help me to continue to seek you in humble places and watch for your guiding hand. I want to be one of yours — humble in the land (Zephaniah 2:3). You, Almighty God, will “begin anywhere, making a path through difficulties,” blessing me by your grace all along the way (Colossians 4:18).
Seek the Lord, all you humble people of the earth who have carried out his commands. Seek righteousness. Seek humility. Zephaniah 2:3 EHV
Grounded in God is a devotions series lingering in the facets of humility from Isaiah 53. Our Savior’s greatest gift to us came through His humiliation detailed in this earthy passage. Humiliation … humility… humus… hmmm… perhaps the garden is a unique host to God’s purposes in humility, already grounded in humus-filled soil. Let these one-a-week, Scripture compositions draw you to God’s Words for simple consideration, cultivating a special intimacy with the Lord through the Lenten season.
Portions of this devotion are taken from, “Not Here,” part of the Garden Tools section on Humility in God’s Word for Gardeners Bible, beginning on pages a-38 & a-39
Photo Credits: ©Shelley S. Cramm
CEV notes Scripture quotations taken from the Contemporary English Version Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society, Used by Permission.
EHV notes Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® , EHV®, © 2019 Wartburg Project, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
GNT denotes Scripture quotations from the Good News Translation® (Today’s English Version, Second Edition) Copyright © 1992 American Bible Society. All rights reserved.
NIV denotes Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.®
NRSV denotes Scripture quotations taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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TLB denotes Scripture quotations taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. The Living Bible, TLB, and the The Living Bible logo are registered trademarks of Tyndale House Publishers.
TPT denotes Scripture quotations taken from The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017, 2018 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ThePassionTranslation.com
VOICE denotes Scripture quotations taken from The Voice™. Copyright © 2012 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.