In 2 Corinthians 5:17, the Apostle Paul writes, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"
Easter reminds us that the Jesus Christ's death and resurrection has restored those who believe in Him to new life.
Prison Fellowship's founder, Chuck Colson, believed this truth. His faith and understanding in God’s plan for humanity's salvation is what compelled him to return to prison again and again to make sure that the Gospel was preached to all people.
In "I Surrender," Colson explains how surrendering to Jesus creates victors and champions:
God's Word is full of very real men and women; it tells of their failures, struggles, and sorrows. But it is also the story of their victories–won through the power of Jesus Christ taking hold of their lives and transforming them from the inside out. …
Becoming a child of God happens in a moment, but growing and maturing as a Christian is a process that takes a lifetime. It is also a process of surrender. As we allow Christ to have authority over different areas of our lives, He changes us. As we learn to depend on Him, we find true freedom.
Surrendering is a process. To move forward in our freedom in Christ, we must surrender those burdens that hold us in chains.
If ever a person "walks through the valley of the shadow of death" (Psalm 23:4, KJV) it is in prison. But despair need not conquer us. When we trust God, our lives can become joyful despite the circumstances. Our God is all-powerful. He will comfort and care for us.
Let's let Jenna* explain what happens when we surrender our despair:
I SURRENDER MY DESPAIR
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)
This text kept running through my mind as I sat in the cold, damp holding cell in the courthouse. It was the day I was to be sentenced, and questions raced through my mind. My heart cried out for love and forgiveness from my heavenly Father. Why had I permitted myself to lose faith, sink into such deep depression, and commit such a crime?
As the tears flowed down my face, I shook from the chill in the room. But my entire inner being was warmed as the love of Jesus came over me.
Then, as I faced my earthly judge and was ordered to repay society, I had the assurance of my heavenly Judge that He had forgiven me and would be constantly beside me in prison. That Bible verse became real. I knew He would never leave me or forsake me.
PRAYER: Dearest Father, please imprint your holy Word in my heart and mind. Protect me from the depths of depression and from forgetting that You will never leave me or forsake me. Amen.
*Name has been changed.