UNDERSTANDING NEW CHRISTIANS IN PRISON
And pray, pray, pray! God is there to help and He wants to help us very much. Prayer makes any change and self-control much easier.
Unfortunately, most prisoners have been living a life with no self-control. The prisoner, who receives Jesus as his Savior, will receive a desire to do right instead of wrong. As they begin to read the Bible and learn about Godís love for them, they will want to obey God in return for His gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. This love and new conscience will lead to convictions of what is wrong and the desire to have self Ėcontrol. Conviction through self-evaluation will start the process of spiritual healing in a new Christianís life.
For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do Ė living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. (1 Peter 4:3-4 NKJV)
A prisoner who becomes a Christian after being in prison a while will experience much more pressure from the darker side of prison than a prisoner who professes to be a Christian as soon as he enters prison life. The latter will not get involved with the dark side of prison and therefore, many in the prison population will leave him alone because they will know from the beginning that he is not going to participate in wrongful acts.
For a prisoner who becomes a new Christian after being connected to the darker side of prison, it is not so easy. The temptation is much greater to fall back into their old ways, with their old friends. These old friends will not let go of him so easily. The Holy Spirit will tug on his soul and convict him of what is wrong, but his friends will not see this change as a good thing. They will do all they can to stop your friend or loved one from following after his new convictions. The peer pressure, name calling, rumors, lies are unrelenting as your friend or loved one tries to make a clean break from his old ways.
The end of all things is near. Therefore, be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:7-8 NKJV)
Christians in prison must be clear minded to make it through all of this. They will not have peace or joy if they donít keep their focus on Christ. The best way to help your loved ones in prison is to share the scriptures with them often, especially those verses about grace. It is only because of the grace of God given to us through Jesus Christ that we are His children and He is our Heavenly Father. It is important that your friend or loved one in prison understands that it is what God has done for us that gives us eternal life not what we are doing for God.
The new Christian believer in prison will have a brutal time at first. They will receive nothing but hate and abuse from those that are not Christians who they used to hang out with. Then at the same time many Christians will push them too quickly to get rid of their worldly habits that still creep into their lives as they develop self-control. Self-control and self discipline take time. Some Christians are good encouragers and patient with a new Christian but others forget that it takes time to help a new Christian develop his faith. If your loved one understands some of these things ahead of time and how important it is
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