I was blessed and honored to have met a man named Andrew Michel last Saturday (sorry though, I didn’t bring my camera so no pictures of him). I cannot speak for the entire Pasay Adventist Church congregation but the man’s testimony really moved me. Here was a man, speaking with much gusto in front of a crowd telling them that the best thing that ever happened in his life was be in prison.
He was imprisoned for 8 years beginning at the age of 16. His life before being imprisoned was a life of crime and sin. Within those prison walls he met Jesus Christ. His life changed and a lot of miracles happened including his early release. He now lives as a missionary in various countries and professes to remain as a missionary until Jesus comes.
If a man as hardened a criminal as Michel changed within prison walls, then how much more can we? We don’t need to be imprisoned, because we are slaves and prisoners of our own circumstances, of our own lives and our own passions. We have been captives of sin longer than we ever knew that only Christ could liberate us. Change is always possible no matter how long you’ve been deep in sin.
Change is always possible and inevitable. This sometimes leads me to wonder how some people resist change within themselves or with other people.
While it may be true that we suffer and should suffer the consequences of actions, we need to instill in our minds that our hearts could be moved and we are forgiven by God. We are always given a second chance. Freedom from sin has always been made available for us. “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.” (Romans 6:5-7)
Yet the devil keeps busy at digging our past lives and shoving it in our face. We fail to change because the enemy uses every means necessary including using people to remind us of our filthiness and keep us off that Holy Hand that seeks to draw us out of sin. “Satan’s work is to discourage the soul. Christ’s work is to inspire the heart with faith and hope.” 1MCP 32
What’s hard is that he uses all means necessary to make us go back to our past and make us feel guilty. He uses our friends, our family, our fellow church member, or even the stranger on the street. He has taken that job of putting us down. Yet we don’t need to worry, the crucified Savior is far stronger than the enemy. The enemy may try to put us down. People may try to put us down, but God is bigger and tougher. He can lift us out and give us a better future ahead.
Take it from the man who found God in prison.
“If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,”