UNDERSTANDING NEW CHRISTIANS IN PRISON

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there are many distractions that can cause us to block the Spirit from building a good foundation of faith in our lives and moving us into spiritual maturity.      Here are some things that can hinder spiritual growth in a new Christianís life:

Other Inmates
Laziness
Unbiblical Church Services
Family
Lack of Study Bibles
Depression/Negative Feelings
Unanswered Questions
Loneliness
Anger/Hate
Helplessness
Guilt 

This list is only a partial list; it is not all inclusive, however these are the most common. Although this list is long I feel it is necessary to explain them to better understand what a new Christian goes through in prison.

Other Inmates - As a new believer in Christ, being locked up decreases the physical area in which one lives. It is so much smaller than what a person was used to. In such close quarters, ties between those in such a community become much closer. If new Christian friends are not properly chosen, then the new believerís spiritual growth is in trouble. This is true anywhere, but harder to do in prison. Those that have received Christ into their lives need to understand that a bad apple in the bucket will make the rest go bad very quickly. In jail, this doesnít take long at all because people have so much time on their hands. It is important for the new Christian to learn to pick good friends in the county jail or they will have bigger problems in prison. Many who are in the county jail will end up in prison with them as well, so it is important to show a good testimony immediately.

Unbiblical Church Services - In county jails, there is usually some type of church service that is held by volunteers from the outside. Unfortunately, many that volunteer to the county jails to preach donít have a good foundation in the Word and sometimes it starts the new Christian off on the wrong foot. The most important tool that a new Christian can use for this problem is prayer. Through prayer, the new believer is strengthened and can better discern the truth. The Holy Spirit can use his conscience to guide him through uncertain waters, if he prays. Most new believers donít know to pray, so it is important to encourage each other to do this.

Friends and family can also greatly help the new believer avoid unbiblical teachings by talking to your friend or relative who is in jail about what he is being taught at the volunteer church services. If you do come across a point that is not biblical, point it out gently and show the truth to him in the Bible, but do not argue about it. Arguments only build up false pride and a desire in the new believer to prove he has been taught correctly. If false teachings are caught and handled properly in the beginning stages, then it is easier to correct them. Prayer and communication is the key in dealing with misleading Bible teachings. Prayer is essential because it is the Holy Spirit in all of us that will keep our hearts and minds focused on the truth. Communication is essential so one can know when there is a problem and catch it early.

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