For a little over a year now, I have had the privilege of visiting and leading Bible studies with the female prisoners at the local jail.
On my very first visit, I told one of the women, “I’m not here to help you get out, I’m here to help you get through.” I believe that statement was true and from the Lord.
Then there was this realization: Just because someone is not physically locked up in a jail, doesn’t mean they are free. As we’ve found out with some of these women, “Sometimes you have to go to jail to GET free!” That being said, this statement is also true: “Just because someone is running around free, doesn’t mean they aren’t locked up.” We all struggle with things that seek to imprison us.
I’ve had a question for a long time. Why are so many people caught in a never-ending loop of addiction? The other day, it hit me: the reason many people are stuck in a cycle of addiction and freedom is that they are trying to set themselves free. With every ounce of strength, they discipline themselves to stop a habit. But that’s one of the problems. It’s not a just a habit, it’s a spiritual stronghold. It can’t be beaten by our best efforts or human determination. No matter how strong we think we are, we can’t win a spiritual fight with physical weapons. Still, we give it our very best shot. Then, when we fail, we are shamed by others that we just need to try harder. Some have given up trying to find the answer, but I’m here to declare to you today that real freedom is within reach.
Yesterday, I told a group of women at the jail, “Today, I want to help you to escape. I have the key that opens the door to freedom from this jail, and I want to give it to you.” It’s a good thing there is no audio in the room where we meet, someone might have misunderstood, and I could be writing this article from the inside.
Obviously, I was not talking about a physical escape, but a spiritual one.
The key to our freedom (whether inside or outside of jail) is found in John 8:31-32 & 36
“So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’” 36 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
How can we know the truth? How can we get a hold of this key? Receiving Jesus as your Lord, then spending time getting to know Him through reading and studying the word (Bible) and the person (Jesus is the Word-1 John 1) are the only steps we need to take. A relationship with God through Jesus is the KEY to true and lasting freedom from every physical and spiritual prison. Making our home (abiding) with Jesus every day will not only MAKE us free but will KEEP us free as well. As long as we follow Jesus, we will be free indeed. I’m confident that many folks who are reading this article understand exactly what I’m talking about.
Some people may find this hard to believe, but many years ago I was addicted to alcohol, cocaine, cigarettes, other substances, and I was stuck in a cycle of making bad decisions. In addition to the outside stuff, I also had issues in my mind. I had thought patterns that kept me from being truly free. Before I surrendered my heart to Jesus, I was plagued with constant suicidal thoughts and depression was one of my closest friends. By giving my life to Jesus and then immersing myself in studying the Bible and prayer (being a disciple), over time, I have been renewed in my mind which has led to a totally transformed life! (Romans 12:1-2) I’m not perfect. I’m still growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, and I still have a few chains that need to be broken in my life, but today I know the Key personally, and I know the way out.
Helping others in jail and out of jail to find true freedom in Jesus is now my life’s mission. I’m not a prison guard, I’m a prisoner’s guide to freedom in Jesus!
I love what Jesus says in John 10:9, “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” Now, that’s true freedom.
Call on Jesus today. He’s the key to get out of jail free!
Shalom, Big D
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