Friday, March 23, 2007
I've had lots of friends in law enforcement. I've even had the opportunity to ride in the front seat with a police officer. But the experience I had recently had a totally different feel to it. I was speaking at a large youth festival, and I had to get across this festival's grounds quickly to my next speaking venue. Two police officers working security said, "Hey, hop in our squad car, we'll take you over there." Well, I jumped into the back seat of the police car and I quickly realized that I had never experienced a little of what it feels like to be on the custody end of things like that. There was this wall between me and the officers in the front seat. When we arrived at our destination and I tried to open my door - in vain - no way. My officer friend had a good laugh at this, and he said, "Ron, there's no way you can get yourself out of there. You see, somebody has to let you out." I've decided I am not excited about being in the prisoner seat any more.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Unlocked From the Outside."
"There's no way you can get yourself out of there." That's a feeling many of us have experienced, without ever being physically locked up. It's like there are these hurtful emotional cycles and spiritual cycles that we just can't seem to get ourselves out of.
Maybe you know what it is to be trapped in a cycle of destructive behavior, or damaged relationships, or maybe a cycle of guilt and shame over repeated mistakes, or a cycle of slavery to a behavior you just can't seem to change, or a cycle of unfulfillment; where one experience after another fails to give you the peace and the meaning that you've always hoped for. There are no bars, no prison walls, but we know the feeling of being locked up in a way of living we just can't get out of. Just like a prisoner in a cell, or me in the prisoner seat of a police car, somebody has to let you out. And for 2,000 years, "the" Somebody has been doing that for millions of us spiritual prisoners.
In fact, in Isaiah 61:1, our word for today from the Word of God, He announced His reason for coming to earth this way: "The Lord has...sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners." Jesus understands the powerful force that ultimately keeps us locked up in our destructive cycles. He said, "Whoever commits sin is a slave to sin." (John 8:34). Sin is simply our hijacking of our life from the God who was supposed to run it. And because we're away from our Creator, we're trapped in this self-run orbit where life just doesn't work right.
It took the coming and the dying of the Son of God to break the enslaving power of sin. By taking the death penalty for what we've done, Jesus has the power, not only to save us from our own hurtful ways, but to save us from the eternal penitentiary the Bible calls hell. He's come from the outside to let you out, to set you free. But He waits for your invitation to do that; your invitation to Him to come into your life, to forgive every sin, and change you from the inside out.
That glorious freedom that so many have experienced, you can experience beginning this very day. It begins when you tell Jesus, "I'm turning from the sin that has enslaved me, Lord; from the sin that nailed You to a cross. I want to give myself to You because you died for that sin to set me free. I'm Yours." If you've never really opened your life to Him to do what only He can do and you want to, then I'd love to be whatever help I could be with our website. We've set it up to give you a simple explanation of how to begin your relationship with Jesus Christ. Many have gone there and found that, and I want to invite you to go there. It's yoursforlife.net. Or you can call for the booklet Yours For Life at 877-741-1200.
This could be your day to finally be able to say, "Free at last, free at last - thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!"