Today I want to talk to you a little bit about the prisons we make for ourselves. The title of this message is Prisons of the Soul. One of my ministries is to go and minister to inmates in the maximum security prison here in Huntsville, Texas. And you know, there are real bars, there are real walls, there are real guards, and they are really in prison. But you know, you can be in prison and still be free.
I want to tell you a story of a friend of mine. His name is Michael. I’ve run into him a couple of times now when I’ve gone to minister there. But this last time I got to know him a little bit better. And I was talking to Michael about when he might be getting out of prison. He said, “Well, you know, I’ve been there for 12 years and I have probably another 18, 20 to go.” I said, “Well, why? What did you do?” He said, “Well, I got convicted of a murder I didn’t commit.” So you think, well, you know, you hear that a lot. You know, I’m innocent and so forth and so on. But this guy’s different. Michael has gone to seminary while in prison and graduated. He is now an inmate pastor there. He’s got people on the outside that are working for his release, and national organizations, international organizations that you would know the name if I said it, that are convinced by the evidence and his case and going through everything, that they have the wrong person, that he did not commit this crime.
As matter of fact, the chaplains there standing next to him, said, “He’s innocent. He did not commit this crime.” But I asked him about that. I said, “Well Michael, how do you keep such an upbeat attitude?” He said, “Jim, I am committed to Jesus. If this is my mission field and this is where Jesus has me, then I will gladly die here for him. If I never get out, I will spend the rest of my days preaching the gospel to these fellas, ’cause that is my assignment.”
Folks, that’s freedom. Michael is free. He may be physically behind bars, but his mind is free in Christ, because he knows who he is. He knows his assignment, and he is a man committed to doing just that. You know, running the Transformation Center like I do for Bethel Austin, we get a lot of people that come in that are entrapped by sin. They carry their prison around with them. They are involved in various things, you know, sexual sin, maybe some sort of drug addiction, you name it.
But you know what? God can free them from both. He can free Michael from the prison of Huntsville. He can free these people that I’m talking about from the prison they’ve created. Just like Peter, like He opened the gates to the prison for Peter to walk through.