Tracey and I took our monthly journey to share the Word with the ladies in prison. We meet in the visitation building so the ladies have to walk from their dorms. It was quite cold this time so there was no dawdling to get from point A to point B. I told them the good thing about it being so cold is I know they’re all awake. You know how easy it is to get sleepy when you’re warm.
There were forty seven women in attendance and the room filled up quickly. Of course several of them went straight to the restroom. The rule is only one at a time can go so there were five or six standing outside the door waiting their turn. Others were finding where they wanted to sit. As much as I would like for them to come in, sit down and get focused it never happens that way. I guess there is a certain amount of settling in we all have to do; so I have learned to just let them get there in their own time. Eventually they were seated and facing the front long enough for me to introduce myself and read Romans 12:2 to them. I said, “Does anyone know what Romans 12:2 says? One lady, who Tracey knew from our local jail, started to quote it saying, “Don’t be conformed to the world… but be transformed.” I told them I was going to talk to them about transformation a little bit later. I led in an opening prayer, and Tracey came up to lead us in a few songs.
We sang one song and then two, but I could still sense a restlessness in the room. It wasn’t until about midway through the third song the unity of the Spirit seemed to appear. We were singing “Victory in Jesus.” All of them seemed to finally be focused and together and it was awesome. I tell you there is nothing like being in a prison when everyone is engaged and looking toward Christ. I don’t think I have ever left prison without a sense of awe and gratitude for how God shows up through the lives of people when they are totally sold out to him.
Tracey shared with the ladies about “What the enemy didn’t tell you.” One of the scriptures she used is found in 2 Corinthians 4:4 where we discover “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” She shared with them about how the devil is a liar and his specialty is manipulation. He has a way of selling us something that may look good on the front end but he doesn’t tell us all of the unintended consequences.
When it was my turn I read Romans 12:2 to them again and talked to them about how the temptation to be conformed to the world is always there but we don’t have to be squeezed into it. As a child of God I don’t have to dress like, talk like and live like everyone else. While this doesn’t mean I can’t have the clothes, cars or other things out there; it just means I don’t have to have them, and I don’t have to let them control me just because everyone else has them. After spending a few minutes talking about not being conformed to the world I moved on to transformation.
God isn’t into fixing up the old you, I told them. He is into making you into a brand new creation. You see he didn’t send his one and only Son into this world to die for sin so he can put us into a self-improvement program. You see he not only sent him here to die, but his plan involved us dying too. According to Romans six we, that were sinners, have been joined to Christ in his death, burial and resurrection so we might walk in newness of life. In Christ we have become new creatures and the old is gone. We’re not just washed off we have been made brand new!
As I told them of my transformation I shared with them about the process a caterpillar goes through in order to become a butterfly. For those that haven’t watched it I would encourage you to watch the video about this found on the home page of this blog. I won’t go into the details here, but let me just say once a caterpillar becomes a butterfly there is no going back. No butterfly ever wants to be a caterpillar again nor can he be. He has been transformed. The word transformed comes from the Greek word metamorphoo, which is where we get our word metamorphosis, meaning to change, transfigure, transform. Just as the caterpillar transforms into a butterfly we too have been changed from a sinner into a Christian. Once we have been transformed there is no turning back.
I spent the rest of the time talking to them about the renewing of our minds. I shared with them how if we are new creatures “butterflies” we have to start thinking like it. We can’t go around thinking caterpillar thoughts expecting to live butterfly lives. All we need is in Christ, and if Christ is in us then we have all we need. We must be renewed in the spirit of our minds when putting on the new self.