“Proper spiritual preparation will enable me to obey the laws of the land and stay out of prison BECAUSE...
I’m obeying the higher law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus my Lord!”
GOD did not create us to be in prison. Incarceration was not his desire for us. Yet here we are and he can even use this to the good of those who will call out to him from inside prison bars, walls and razor wire fences. The burden of my heart is to see my Christian brothers get out of prison, and, most importantly, STAY OUT, living for Jesus Christ.
I don’t have to worry about committing a crime that I can be sent back to prison for, IF I’M OBEYING THE HIGHER LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS!
God’s standards are far higher than earthly governments. If I’m having problems with earthly laws that forbid & penalize wrong behavior it is only because I have yet to grasp and deal with those issues in my life that are against both man and God; I have yet to surrender those areas of my life to the rulership, to the absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ. Do that and keeping the laws of the land will not be difficult... You’ll laugh because your heart is changed! Fail to do that and the department of corrections has a prison bed waiting for you.
IDENTIFY YOUR WEAKNESSES
Identify the problem areas in YOUR life that have led up to and contributed to your being in prison as well as to your being in a position to come to prison.
DEAL WITH THOSE (SIN) WEAKNESSES AND PROBLEM AREAS OF YOUR LIFE BEFORE THE CRISIS (I.E. “TEMPTATION”) SITUATION COMES!
While you’re still in prison identify the sin weakness/problem temptations you’ll have to face ONCE YOU ARE RELEASED FROM PRISON. There are many temptations you’ll face outside of prison that you will not face in prison or that you face to a much lesser degree while “Inside”. Deal with these by identifying and applying the God-given “spiritual truth” principles of the Bible to your life. Do It now! Begin this very day so that when you exit prison you will be spiritually prepared to stay out of prison.
RECOGNIZE THAT TRUE SPIRITUAL (Biblical/scriptural) PREPARATION IS IMMENSELY PRACTICAL.
It is far more important than even occupational or educational preparation BECAUSE the man who has learned TO SEE LIFE and his own behavior and personal responsibility for that behavior through spiritual eyes enlightened by the Word of God, and burned into his heart & mind and conscience by the Spirit of God, will be able to stay out of prison, EVEN IF he has severe problems in the workplace or with rejection. This is so BECAUSE the spiritual principles of God burned into his heart and mind will guard him against the lies of the enemy!
DECIDE HOW YOU WILL DEAL WITH THE CRISIS AHEAD OF TIME. REALIZE THAT WHEN TEMPTATION STRIKES (NOT “IF”, FOR TEMPTATION WILL SURELY COME AT THE POINT OF YOUR WEAKNESS!) IT IS USUALLY TOO LATE TO MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE ABOUT WHAT YOU WILL DO!
Reality is this: an unprepared heart and mind will make the wrong choice. The time to decide what your response to specific temptations will be is BEFORE the CRISIS COMES! You must have a plan of action based on your predetermined decision to say “NO” and to mean “NO!”
DETERMINE IN YOUR HEART AND MIND, ONCE AND FOR ALL THAT YOU WILL SAY “NO” TO ALL SEX OUTSIDE OF MARRIAGE. PERIOD!
This is absolutely vital. This is, beyond a doubt, the Number One downfall for Christians who get out of prison and then return to prison. I know of what I speak. I have observed Christian brothers, as a Christian in prison, over a period of almost 35 years of continuous incarceration (from the days of my infancy in Christ to this present time).
Thankfully, some have made it upon release, but I have seen brother after brother with whom I have prayed, studied the BIBLE and agonized in growth get out only to return to prison. I found one common thread that set these men up for a fall into the sin-crime that eventually sent them back to prison. Have you guessed it? SEX! They did not deal with, in righteousness, their attitude about sexual immorality. Within their own hearts and minds, they did not make an absolute decision and determination to remain sexually pure upon their release from prison until such time as they were blessed with a Christian marriage partner.
Instead they rationalize their sin of fornication (sexual immorality), or simply refuse to even think about it (because THEN they’d have to make a choice), until the day temptation arrived and that seductive woman came around.
Because they would not face up to their sexual sin problem ahead of time, when the opportunity arose (as it usually will!) they took it! That sex-sin was the satanic “foot in the door”, of the flesh, that opened the way for sin and destruction to take hold and to take its toll (Ephesians. 4:27) and put them back on the one-way street to prison. Time and Time again, a “lust for the ladies” has proven to be the paved road to prison for men who started out to serve Christ.
The principle of sin is this: Once you’ve done something the first time, the second time is easier and so on. Anytime you’ve “crossed a line” of sin and/or crime it is not as difficult for you to cross the line again. The only barrier to keep you from crossing that line is a barrier of the blood of Jesus Christ, operating in your life in practical holiness, to keep you FROM knowing & willful, unrepentant sin.
Sexual sin will cause you to either harden your heart against the conviction and work of the Holy Spirit and you’ll become a church-going hypocrite OR your guilt will drive you away from the people of God because the sin-darkness in you cannot stand the light of Christ in God’s people. Either way, sin never stops there, it escalates until destruction has its way in your life and you’re either back into prison (if you’re “fortunate!”) or graveyard dead (if you’re not!)
Do it in God’s way, my brothers, and you will stay out once you get out and bring glory and honor to the name of Christ, rather than dishonor and reproach.
This Tract was written by Larry J. Ries, a fellow Prisoner. He has been serving time for 35 years straight, and has seen many prisoners come and go. Unfortunately some doing both! He wrote this as a warning to encourage those who follow the way of the Lord.