UNDERSTANDING NEW CHRISTIANS IN PRISON

4

Chapter 2

The Beginning of Jail Time

 

Although this is about a new Christian’s life while in prison, we should start at the beginning which would be the county jail for most of us. Many inmates who become Christians while in prison receive Jesus Christ as their Savior while they were in the county jail. I like to refer to the county jail as “the place of hopeful thinking”. This is the place that all inmates must go through first. It is a place where “the thinking process” begins for many. Inmates start thinking about why they ended up in jail. During this time of self evaluation, many people begin to realize that God has been missing in their lives and they ask Jesus into their hearts.

The county jail is an environment that will take a person from normal life and put him into a very abnormal life. Separation from friends and family and their home can be overwhelming. Many people that enter the county jail also will experience chemical withdrawals from drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, sex, etc. The depression of chemical withdrawals coupled with an abnormal lifestyle and the thought of facing a judge for sentencing will build up great pressure, fear and lack of hope. Some ask Jesus to be their Savior with all sincerity while others just play the church game.

In the county jail, the place of hopeful thinking, many individuals will ask God into their hearts in the hope that God will get them out of that situation. They try to bargain with God and hope that everything will turn out fine and that they won’t have to go to the penitentiary. When it doesn’t work, they just leave God and go back to their same way of life. Many never sincerely repent of their ways. They just hung the “salvation thing” around their neck like a good luck charm, but there are no fake salvations with God. For a sincere believer, salvation is real when he asks Jesus into his heart. The question is what does one do with this new found faith once he has it?

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart...  (Matthew 13:19 NKJV)

I have seen many men in the county jail that truly asked Jesus to come into their hearts, but didn’t have the right guidance afterward. With no spiritual mentoring, a new Christian inmate can easily get drawn back into his old worldly ways. It is so important for new Christians in the county jails to receive good teachings and encouragement from true strong believers in Christ. Keeping that desire to grow and stay close to God is critical for any new Christian whether in the county jail, or prison, or in the free world.

If I know that something is good for me, but don’t actively participate in it, then it is worthless. I must actively participate in the “good” for it to actually be good for me. I can know that it is good for my body to take vitamins daily, but just buying a bottle and having them every now and then, or taking them abundantly one day and then not at all another does my body very little good. The vitamins can be good and useful to my body when I understand the purpose of vitamins and how I should use them. We, as Christians, should understand our purpose for being saved and how to maintain a healthy spiritual life.

If the Holy Spirit is allowed to work in our new life in Christ and we keep our focus on Him, then He will help guide us in our new found faith. The problem is that in prison

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