Most of the men I talk with in jail seem to have trouble dealing with their thoughts and emotions. Of course only those that learn to walk in the Spirit have any real hope of breaking free of this; so we normally talk about how to differentiate between their soul and spirit. When the opportunity presents itself I usually work Hebrews 4:12 in to help them to understand. Once they start to see how the Word of God divides these things for us relief is on the way.
The most recent young man I spoke to said, “Even though I want to do the right thing, and it seems like I’m doing better, I still have the same thoughts as before.” He seemed legitimately broken over his situation, and spoke with a quiet humble attitude, as he told me his story. The longer I am involved in these conversations, with the men in jail, the more a pattern seems to emerge. Once they are incarcerated for a time, and are forced to think about their charges and where they are in life, reality starts to set in. All of the sudden God, faith and the Bible seem to become the focus. If we’re honest most of us are the same way in that we let things go until we find ourselves in a tight spot which gets our attention. I told this young man something I heard a little while ago. Someone said, “If it’s only when we have drama in life that we call out to God he’ll make sure we have plenty of it.”
Do you remember the Tasmanian Devil from the old Saturday morning cartoons? He always came on the scene in a spin. You would see arms and legs flailing about amidst a cloud of dust and debris, and he would move through trees destroying everything in his path. It dawned on me how great an illustration he really is of the enemy. He, himself, is in a spin and anyone nearby gets sucked up into it. You see Satan is forever and only out for himself. Whatever he has to do in order to promote himself or get ahead he will do and he doesn’t care who he has to manipulate or damage along the way.
The young man I spoke with said to me “I have lived my whole life just sort of drifting from place to place living with friends. I moved to Kentucky from California hoping to get away from all the people and things that had anything to do with my old life. I wanted to start over but it didn’t work because I was still there.” We talked a little about how the real problem is inside of us and until Christ comes in we are destined to repeat the same bad decisions. He told me “I know I’m really a kind hearted person but greed started to take over.” This is of course the very mind of the enemy because all he does is kill, steal and destroy. He is always out for himself and it doesn’t matter who gets hurt, or even killed, in the process. I told him one sure way to tell it is the enemy, rather than God, is because the enemy is self for self and God is always for others.
Even though this young man had been caught up in the Tasmanian Devil spin, he was beginning to recognize it for what it really was and have a little bit of hope. Satan hasn’t got this hope though because he is forever trapped in a whirling wheel of self seeking, and he will never get out, because he will never embrace the cross. The cross is the only way out of the dizzying cycle of selfish tail chasing and our path to freedom. According to Ephesians 2 we all were controlled by the “prince of the power of the air” at one time, but now because co-crucifixion with Christ we that trust him are freed! We no longer have to feel trapped in a never ending cycle of thoughts and feelings we can’t control. Now we can look to the Holy Spirit, joined to our spirit, to stop the spin forever.