Over 2 million Americans were incarcerated in federal, state and county jails last year. In addition, more than 4 million were either on probation or parole during this same period. For these people and many like them, it is an uphill climb to regain a place of dignity. Stereotypes, their criminal record and a declining job market are further obstacles which stand in their way of success. However, with God’s help, anything is possible, Luke 1:37.
In the book of Genesis, we find an account of a man who went from the jailhouse to the penthouse, Genesis 39:20-Genesis 41:41. However, this did not happen over night and did not include a straight line to the top, taking several unexpected detours and u-turns. Joseph was falsely accused of a crime he did not commit, yet he stayed optimistic. Instead of dwelling on his circumstances, Joseph served all those he encountered while in prison. Two years passed, without any sign of hope until Pharaoh had an unusual dream. Only then did the chief cupbearer remember Joseph’s amazing gift. Like a scene from a movie, Joseph ascends to second in command of Egypt, preparing for the 7 years of famine.
Today, many people are imprisoned internally, addicted to alcohol, drugs, porn, sex and the like, Galatians 5:19-21. Although they may appear fine externally, inside they are confined by unhealthy cravings, James 1:14-15. These sinful desires cripple one’s ability to function spiritually and hinder any dreams for success. The apostle Paul spends half a chapter, Romans 7:7-25, dedicated to exposing this fleshly imprisonment. Jesus is our key to get out, but the goal is to stay out of jail once set free, Romans 7:24-25. Jesus has promised to prepare a place, a penthouse in the sky, John 14:3. The choice is up to you by the road you decide to choose, Matthew 7:13-14.
by Jay Mankus