Friday, August 7, 2020 -
In our weekly prayer meetings and nightly Bible studies, a theme that keeps arising is the potential of each man to be used by God in a world-changing way. Prison either draws one away from God or closer to the Lord. Whether one is innocent or guilty of a crime matters not, nor the crime to which one was convicted. God can still use everyone in a significant way as long as he allows God to work His refining process in us.
Yet for God to refine us into an instrument He can use, we must have a contrite heart when it comes to our sin, a willingness and an eagerness for His transformation through the indwelt power of the Holy Spirit, humility, and a love for others along with a passion to also see others transformed.
Being in prison provides one with a different perspective than the average person when it comes to nearly every issue, particularly one’s relationship with God. God also shows throughout His Word that He has a special heart for the prisoners. He is a God of justice. But He is compassionate and merciful and loves to set the prisoner free. He may not miraculously release inmates from the bonds of the prison walls and fences, but He is able to release the prisoner free from the bonds of sin that have entrapped him. There is not one committed member of our group of regulars who fellowship together who are not grateful for their prison sentence, myself included. Yes, I would like to see justice ultimately vindicate me, and I know God will ultimately do this. Most of us, yet not all, believe the length of the sentence we received was unjustly long. But if it were not for that sentence most would have never found Christ. In fact, only myself and another man, convicted for something he did not do, we're committed believers prior to coming here. The other dozen or so say they would never have found Christ otherwise.
There are a number of us who believe that God truly may accomplish some amazing things through the sold-out lives of those who are part of our little church.
On Wednesday, I was impressed especially by the passionate prayer of one of the brothers for each one of the group to be used in extraordinary ways to make a difference in the lives of others when we are released. I was nearly brought to tears in agreement. This man who prayed lived all of his life as a “fake Christian,” leading one life as part of a church congregation, going on mission trips, but another life in private. That’s about all he’s chosen to reveal to me, but I know he’s on fire for the Lord now, although he’s still a work in progress. I don’t know even his crime, but that does not matter, he is now my brother-in-the-Lord.
God can use anyone, regardless of their past. Most if not all of these men see their past as a platform to lead others to Christ. I encourage you to replicate such a group wherever you are, holding each other accountable, building one another up in the Lord. This, when done by each one, can transform an entire nation. And we as a group see the same thing of ourselves. Not because we feel capable or confident in our own abilities or talents, but because we know God is refining us and perfecting us for His purpose. And when that happens, there is no end to the impact a molded, refined life can have in the hands of an Almighty God. Please pray for us. Yes, continue to pray for our freedom from these human bonds. But until that happens, pray that we will be ready to be effective servants completely sold out to Him and His plan for the rest of our lives.