What Kind of Captive?
The term captive here is only used in this scripture. It most directly means a prisoner of war. A lot of people in Christ's time saw the rule of the Romans as being a type of captivity, much like their time in captivity under the Egyptians, Babylonians and Persians. However, Christ was talking about a much deeper form of captivity: spiritual bondage.
What Does It Mean To Be Spiritually Bound?
To be bound in the physical realm is a difficult trial, but to be bound in the spiritual realm is miserable. Spiritual bondage is what happens when ew are tempted by the devil and succumb to that temptation. We begin a lifestyle that pulls us away from God to the point that we forget that he can deliver us. We end up feeling that their is little to nothing we can do to escape this form of captivity.
Throughout scripture, we find examples of men and women who end up bound in their spirit. Samson succumbed to the temptation of the Philistine lifestyle. As a result, he lost his power and his life. Solomon fell to the temptation of his wives' gods. As a result, Israel would be split into two kingdoms at his death. Judas was tempted by money. As a result, he gave away Christ to the Pharisees and Romans and took his own life. We see from the Bible there can be dire consequences to falling into spiritual bondage.
The effects of spiritual bondage are still just as terrible today. People fall to illicit activities, dangerous substances, self-centered mindsets and more. We get consumed with things that pull us away from God. As a result we lose sight of Him and His delivering power. They find themselves miserable and hopeless in their pursuits, but they don't know where to turn to find freedom. Instead, they spiral further into the thing that has them bound hoping that they can find escape but they never find freedom in that avenue. Only one thing can set them free. The delivering power of Jesus Name.
How We Can Bring Them To Jesus
We can do as Christ said in Luke 4:18. We can preach deliverance. To preach deliverance means to proclaim freedom. When someone is set free from captivity, their sentence is commuted and they are given a full pardon. While we can't set anyone free from sin, addiction or bondage on our own, we can proclaim His message of freedom.
Telling people we know who are struggling with bondage that Jesus can help them provides an avenue of hope. Many who are experiencing bondage have forgotten about God. They are so consumed in their misery or self pursuits for deliverance, they neglect to call on the One who can save them. By proclaiming Christ to them in a loving and accepting manner, we bring Christ back to the forefront of their mind. There are many things we can say about Christ, but the main thing is to bring Christ to them in a way that is real, personal and merciful.
Three Primary Types
While there are meany types of spiritual bondage and many places that people are in their state of bondage, their are primarily three types of bondage. Below is an explanation of these types and a general method by which one can reach out to them. It is by no means an exhaustive explanation on this subject and is very much open to adjustments based on the person you are reaching for:
Ready to Be Free
Some may react very positively to our offer of deliverance. Christ found many of these people and brought them out with prayer and inspiring faith in them. These people are in such a place of desperation and misery, they will turn anywhere there is hope and gladly receive the opportunity to be free. With this person, offer prayer and support immediately. If necessary, bring a minister into the equation to help, but keep in contact with them as they begin their deliverance journey. Remember, repentance and renewal in God is the first step on the road to deliverance, not the license for us to step back and abandon that person.
Unworthy To Be Free
Others people will proclaim they are undeserving of Christ's mercy. They feel like they've gone too far for God to have mercy on them. It is at this point you can enlist examples of undeserving people that received redemption. People like David, Peter, Mary Magdalene and Paul are great choices, but don't forget to use modern examples. Have you ever done something that was against God? Were you ever bound? Tell them these stories, but also let them know it's not about the amount of sins we've committed. It's about God and his redemption that knows no bounds.
Not Ready To Be Free
Others will refuse because they aren't willing to escape their bondage. They are either blind to the fact that they are bound or they know and don't care. With this person, simply let them know you love them and you are here for them if they ever do need help. You can't make somebody move towards God, you can only bring Him to their attention. Keep praying for them and be a consistent face in their lives.
Pray for God to send people into your path who are spiritually bound
Also, pray for the boldness to step up and reach for them
Try out the above techniques, remembering to let God lead and guide you
See how reaching out with love and Christ affects these people.
Try to start a consistent connection with them.
Celebrate Recovery is a great program for those who face addiction and spiritual bondage. They have a ton of resources at their website. Check them out and see what you can use in your outreach.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.