Did you hear about the rescue of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight? These three women vanished between August 2002 and April 2004 in separate incidents; they were between 14 and 20 years old. A man named Ariel Castro of Cleveland had kidnapped them and held them captive all these years. But finally this past week they were able to escape! How happy we are for them, as well as their family and friends with whom they have been reunited!
In a spiritual sense, the Bible speaks of those that are living in disobedience to God as having been “taken captive” by the devil to do his will. Paul wrote to Timothy: “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 Timothy 2:25-26).
No doubt like the majority of kidnapped victims, these three women longed to break free from their captors. For many years they were imprisoned against their will. However, those that have been taken captive by the devil have a choice in the matter. They have chosen to oppose God’s will (Acts 13:46) by loving the things in this world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2:15-17). And sadly, they often times do not realize the great danger that their soul is in (Matt. 16:26; Rom. 2:4-11). Most not recognizing their perilous circumstances are quite content to remain captives doing the will of the devil.
It is the responsibility of servants of the Lord to be gentle, patient, able to teach, and humble in their efforts to correct those in opposition (2 Tim. 2:24-25). In regards to those taken captive by the devil, the apostle Paul says the keys to their escape is to learn the truth and to repent of their sins (v. 26). God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim. 2:3-4). Then consider what Jesus said. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you FREE!” (John 8:32) Furthermore, God “commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). And Peter taught sinners to “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).
The thing about it is all of us have been “kidnapped” at one point and time by the devil to do his will (Rom. 3:23; 6:23). It’s not that “the devil made me do it,” but that we chose to disobey God and by doing so followed the path of darkness (Acts 26:17-18; James 1:13-15). Let us pray for those in spiritual captivity. Let us share the truth with them in the hope that they may come to their senses and repent in order to receive freedom, forgiveness, and salvation!