Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Scripture affirms to us that Jesus sympathizes with our weakness. He himself felt weakness while on earth to pay the ultimate penalty for the sins of the whole world past, present and future. He was sinless and at the time the only one who had brought back anyone from death. Now He was faced with doing the Father’s will and dying. I met a man who claimed he was locked up wrongly for a crime. Out of curiosity I asked if he had ever done that same crime any other time and not been caught. He actually bragged he had. The fact that Jesus committed no sin really sunk in my mind after that revelation.
Being incarcerated is probably one of greatest points of total weakness and helplessness on a human. We all have heard the description of the barred door slamming shut with a load noise. I can’t help but think of my own crying out to God that instant of the door slamming. I had been in the same crying out to God state as when I was in a combat situation serving in the military. I prayed I would be a better person if God rescued me. Funny how we make conditions on God like that, isn’t it? We make many promises that are never kept because we can’t do much on our own.
I made a promise to God in combat and relented when I returned home to my family. I will get another chance to return home to my family but this time I know keeping my relationship with God requires me to allow Christ to live in me instead of me willing myself to behave.
“Jailhouse conversion” is a term used often among prisoners. Many involve men going to church and doing their best to behave. I know that well from my past failed promises to God. Letting God work in our lives intimately changes that failing cycle. Letting God transform us through scripture, prayer, praise, worship, and fellowship with other followers of Christ lets Him work with us from the inside out. Knowing Jesus suffered as we do for our mistakes confirms that I can overcome weakness now and for evermore.
The old saying that there are no atheists in fox holes still rings true in jail cells. Letting go of our lives and putting God in control is a totally different thing from just knowing He exists for my obedience. His love carries us through and makes behaving easier than going it alone. It’s such an awesome thing to have a relationship with God!