Together in Christ: 'Held Captive!' — Proverbs 5:22-23

Monday, May 20, 2024

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An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.

— Proverbs 5:22-23 NLT

Key Thought

James paints a very vivid picture of the bondage that comes when our hearts give way to evil and we become evil like the people about whom Solomon spoke in our verses on relationships today:

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. [1]

Evil people lose themselves to the "ropes that catch and hold" them captive. They become enslaved to their sin. [2] Their loss of self-control is also their loss of freedom. With this loss of freedom, they also lose their life of purpose, meaning, and relationship that God intended them to have from conception. [3] Christ died to set us free from sin and its slavery. [4]

But, how does understanding these truths impact our relationships?

We can be easily led astray by seeing the success of evil people and envy what they have and then begin to emulate their ways. Before long, we are on the road that leads to bondage to sin and spiritual death. We need firm, faithful friends who can lovingly "carefront" us about our sinful ways and call us back to God. [5] We need to focus our hearts on Jesus and strengthen our relationship with Him. Focusing on Jesus helps us find the freedom to become the people God created us to become. [6] Finally, our closest friendships need to be with believers who share our values and help us focus on eternal things and not earthy things that are perishing. [7]

[1] James 1:14-15.
[2] John 8:34; Romans 6:6, 16-22, 7:14; Titus 3:3.
[3] Psalm 139:13-16.
[4] Galatians 4:4-7, 9, 5:1.
[5] James 5:19-20.
[6] 2 Corinthians 3:17-18.
[7] Philippians 3:18-21; Colossians 3:1-4.

Today's Prayer

Loving Father, I commit to focus more intently on Jesus and focus my closest friendships on other believers. I want to be free from the power of sin and death in my life. I know Jesus gave His life to set me free. I ask for the power of the Holy Spirit to live in that freedom and not become entangled in the web of lies, deceit, and addiction that the evil one wants to use to enslave me. I ask for this help in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Hebrews 2:1-3, 3:12-14, 6:1-12, 10:19-25
  • James 5:13-19


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Illustration of Proverbs 5:22-23 NLT — An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.