Just the other night, I started watching the television show White Collar on Netflix. The program is about a con man who was a forger and thief. The con man was captured by an FBI agent and sentenced to four years in prison. The con man broke out of prison when he only had a few months left of his sentence. The same FBI agent captured him again.
The FBI ends up making a deal with the con man. This deal has the con man working with the FBI to apprehend white collar criminals. This offers the con man an opportunity to rebuild an honest life. However, he continues to have a craving for his old way of life. This results in a state of steady tension that often makes the con man have to choose between his new life and his old life.
This could have been my own story. Well, minus the whole forger and thief aspects. I was however, imprisoned in a jail cell of my own making. Mine was a cell of emotional and mental imprisonment. Every poor decision I made added time to my prison sentence. At the rate I was going, I was destined to be looking at a lifetime imprisonment.
On numerous occasions, I made a jail break. I would start down the road of getting my life back on track. Then I’d make the mistake of another stupid decision that sent me right back to my self-created jail cell. I’d hang out there serving my sentence half-heartedly hoping to be set free.
This vicious cyclic pattern of imprisonment and freedom was repeated over and over again. As far as I could see, I was a “lifer.” I grew complacent deciding that there really was no hope that my life would ever change. I was simply doomed to lead the life of a prisoner.
Then one day a woman re-introduced me to the Lord. He offered me an opportunity that I just couldn’t refuse. True freedom. By following Him, I would be able to be free the rest of my life. All I had to do was keep my eyes on Him. I stepped out of my prison cell to follow Him.
It was the best decision I ever made.
However, in the beginning there was a constant struggle to ignore the cravings of my old way of life. I had been given a new life, but it was mine to hold to or mine to let go. Each time I ignored the cravings it became easier to turn away from that old life of mine.
I’ve learned that true healing comes not when there are no longer any cravings for our old life, but when the cravings attack us full force and we are able to choose not to be imprisoned by them. We have a choice each day to return to our old life or to embrace our new life in Christ. What are you going to choose?
Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (God’s Word Translation)