When inmates tell me they want to turn their lives around and follow Jesus, I let them know the cost.
“There may be some junk in your life that will pull you away from God and back into trouble. If you mean business with God then you’ll need to show it by getting rid of your junk.
“Some of the junk will be impossible to eliminate without the Holy Spirit’s help. You cannot do it alone. First you need to surrender your life to Jesus and then you will receive the Holy Spirit. Only then will you have the power to dump the junk. Would you like to know what’s on my junk list?”
They always do.
“Fortune telling cards, Tarot cards, Ouija Board, gambling, magic games, astrology/horoscope, palm reading, seances, psychic channeling, calling up spirit guides, casting spells, hypnotism, New Age role-playing games, Wicca materials, anything satanic, nature worship, paganism, praying through a “medium,” porn (movies, magazines—even trashy books without pictures may be considered porn), fornication, smoking, drugs/alcohol, Transcendental Meditation, superstitions, herbs/incense used for spiritual enlightenment, crystal power, good luck charms, certain music that will pull you away from God and back into the world, certain movies that will do the same.
“In addition to the junk list, is the issue of forgiveness. Perhaps you have hurt someone. You need to be willing to ask forgiveness. Or, someone may have hurt you. You must be willing to forgive. Jesus said ‘For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins’” Matthew 6:14-15.
Some teens have abuse issues and this seems impossible to them. So I’ll say, “Actually, it IS impossible on your own. Yet God can give you a supernatural ability to do what you need to do. Tell God how difficult it is for you. He will help you.”
If they still refuse to forgive, I might ask, “How long will heaven last?”
“Try blinking your eyes once. This current life in comparison is less than that. Is this person so important to you that you are willing to give up eternity in heaven for him/her? If so, then who is the loser here?”
I’m always pleased to see a small group say they are willing—with God’s help, to give up their junk. They want to turn away from their sin.
Unfortunately, there are others who say the cost is too great. They are unwilling.
- As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance 1 Peter 1:14
- If you love me, keep my commands. John 14:15
- Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Deuteronomy 18:10-11
- SONG: INVITE A FRIEND – By Kathleen
[This life is temporary. This life is short. When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever. Where will the “real you” live? Will you live for all eternity separated from God? Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven? Learn more so you can make your most important decision: http://www.godlife.com/gospel/ and http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity