At this time of year people often make 'New Year's Resolutions'. Gyms are full, diets are started, and even one's language may get cleaned up. Unfortunately, this self-willed motivation inevitably lasts a day or two, or perhaps some may attain success for a week. Why are these resolutions often short-term? We all want to eat better, live better, and be better people, but we can often find ourselves falling short all too quickly. We come to see that habits are difficult to break; to change.
The Bible teaches in Romans 3:23 that ALL have sinned and fall short of God's glorious standard. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can understand it?" These verses lead me to believe that even our own motives/intentions shouldn't be trusted.
But the Lord God knows our hearts, he knows our struggles and he loves us anyway. We need His amazing grace and bountiful mercy. This need is true for all; it is no different for a man who has been released from prison. He may want to change. He may try with all his might to change, but unless the Lord is with him the odds are against him.
Can any of us change? I personally, was able to change only by coming to Christ; becoming a new creation. In addition, a man named Pastor Patton J. Colley willingly walked beside me and mentored me in my Christian faith. I am so thankful and blessed for the mercy of Jesus Christ in my life and for those that assisted (and are still assisting) me in my journey.
I am also grateful that God is using me to share messages of hope with gentlemen in the penitentiary and at Kingdom Boundaries. God is so wonderful and patient, not just with me, but with each man (and woman) leaving prison trying to live a better life. God continues to bring these men out of prison and into our care. And we faithfully walk alongside them and mentor them in the new chapter of their life.
But we can't do all this alone. It takes other believers who are willing to invest their time, their talents, and their treasures into the ministry, and into the lives of these men. We need to continue giving them a true opportunity to know the love of God, changing their lives and developing new habits; truly becoming "new creations in Christ".
So, what we are praying for is not just a new year's resolution, but a true lifestyle change. A new way to live with Christ at the center of everything we do and giving everything within us to him. May God bless you richly in this new calendar year!
Patrick Boll - Accountability Pastor
God's grace offers us fresh starts.