The Pen Project Volume 1 Issue 2 - Page 52

walking in the shadows In all of our criminal and addictive lives, we have allowed things, people, and situations to define us. We might have thought we were in control, had free will, and did what we wanted to. The attitude of, “I do what I want, nobody tells me what to do, I’m my own person, or I’m a slave to no one.” The truth is we were only deceiving ourselves. We had no control over anything! As the book of Romans tells us, “Became futile in our thinking, and our foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, we became fools.” It is also said in the Bible, “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool returns to his foolishness (Proverbs 26:11).” We eventually become but shadows of who God created us to be; we become that shadow and walk in that shadow. What’s worse is that when some finally come to the light (the light of Jesus Christ), much may have changed, but some still continue to allow themselves to be deceived by Satan. John says that, “The thief does not come except to steal, kill, and to destroy (John 10:10).” He still want’s control of you, and one of the ways he does this is by making you think you are still defined by your past... He wants you to continue to walk in the shadow of who you once were, not who God created you to be. You see, the second half of that John 10:10 verse reads, “I (Jesus) have come that they (us) may have life and that they may have it more abundantly (John 10:10).” When you have been born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus tells us, “...If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (Corinthians 2 5:17).” The Bile also says, “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).” It is also written, “Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7).” And if you listen to the lyrics of 513FREE’s song Remade, you will hear even more truth of the new you. WE ARE NO LONGER THE PERSON WE USED TO BE! PERIOD! God doesn’t change who He created us to be, He changes who we created ourselves to be. When you’re walking toward the light of Jesus, there is a shadow BEHIND you for a reason. And, we have God’s Holy Spirit and God’s Word for a reason. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).” Why is this important? What is all this talk of shadows and understanding our identity in Christ? Here’s my point… I have been on the streets now for almost six years. I have been working in prison ministry for almost 5 years, and have had the opportunity on many occasions of working with inmates who have been released from prison. Whether it’s helping them transition back into the community, hooking them up with people, jobs, or just being there for someone to talk to. I have been part of ex-convict support groups and talked to many guys who claim they are born again yet keep getting locked up. And here is my conclusion, THEY CONTIN- UE TO WALK IN THEIR SHADOWS! I don’t know if their mind has not been transformed; if they don’t believe that Jesus is capable of creating them anew and forgiving their past and washing them whiter than snow; if they don’t believe Jesus, and that when we come to Him we now find our identity in Him and not from our past and from Satan... All I do know is many more times than not, they still allow their past to define them. This all came to mind when I was at an ex-convict support group about 4 years ago. Week after week, this one guy would come in and do nothing but complain! Complain that he was from a small town and everyone knew him and knew he was a drug dealer, and because of that there’s no way he could get a fresh start. No one would give him a chance because they knew what he did and who he was. How he couldn’t possibly get a job because of that fact, and because of his record... And on and on and on! Sound familiar? How many of us use those same self-defeating thoughts and self-talk? “Man, there’s no way I’ll be able to get a job with my record. I’ll never be able to get a decent apartment because of my crimes. People are always going to judge me because I was in prison. My family doesn’t trust me because of the things I did, that isn’t fair...” 52