“I wrote you once before in 2013. My letter is under What People Say. I wanted to write again to let you know how my life is now. I’m doing great! I have a job and a girlfriend. We bought our first home, and I’ve been completely sober for four years. I go to meetings every now and then.
“I work so much, and my hours can be very long. I don’t go to church (sorry), but that doesn’t mean I’m a bad person. I know right from wrong, and I know I don’t want to use drugs. I’m using you as an example of someone who can change. I’m 48 (1970), so I wasn’t born when you committed your crime.
“I read you book, Will You Die for Me?, and I liked it very much. It scared me, but it opened my eyes to the use of drugs. I feel you’re a good person now. You fell on some hard times, and it cost you your freedom.
“I want you to know that you are helping people out here to stay off drugs and out of prison. I’m reading everything I can to learn more about you. I feel learning about your life can help me make better decisions with my life. I want to say, thank you for keeping me off drugs and on the right track. Bruce, CA.”
Jesus is the Way…
I wrote Bruce back, saying, “Jesus is the One Who transforms lives, not me.” But I understand where Bruce is coming from in his letter. I pray that he can learn from my mistakes, as well as others who read my testimony. Although, we must remember, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” 2
Simply put, Jesus is the only way to receive eternal life, “...the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All (Jesus)… with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” 3 He was sacrificed for the sins of the whole world, but I didn’t recognize I was a sinner in need of a Savior until coming to prison. I heard from an early age that Jesus loved me, but I never heard, “…the Holy Spirit indicating…the way” nor “why” He loved me.
“There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.” 4
Finally, in the prison chapel that night in 1975, the Holy Spirit convinced me of sin, righteousness and judgment. 5 He loved me because He died, while taking my place and even my judgment for sin, so that I could “…be made the righteousness of God in Christ.” 6 I was blinded for all those years by pride, lust and fear, having sold out to the world, the flesh and the devil.
“Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” 7
Jesus is the Truth…
I was blinded by resentments, fear of failure, humiliation, pent-up anger, stress and anxiety. I was powerless to overcome the problems tearing down my relationships and driving my drug use. I made one compulsive choice after another in disobedience, because I was too prideful to turn to Jesus. Besides, I was “…unable to see the glorious light of the Good News” that was available to me.
My desire is to make the truth clear to you, praying that you’ll hear “…the Holy Spirit indicating…the way.” The truth is that God loves us, cares about us, and wants the best for us. To trust anything else is to deny reality. As Solomon wrote: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” 8
In his letter, Bruce shared his way, truth and life, possibly without realizing it. I’m sure as he reads this view to himself, he’ll realize even more where he truly stands. As we admit our weakness to God, He will forgive us and help us to know the Truth that will set us free. 9
“Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.” 10
Jesus is the Life…
As a believer, I realize that I was born spiritually dead with an evil nature, powerless to overcome my tendency toward sin and failure. But once I believed and received Jesus by faith in God’s grace, I was born again, united in His death, burial and resurrection, and made alive by the Holy Spirit.
“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” 11
My desire is for you to know Jesus, so that you’ll be empowered to overcome your failures and dependencies. It takes being born again to overcome all the daily struggles. As we are transformed by faith in Christ, we will overcome the powerful temptations in our life. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” 12
I hope to hear from you like I heard from Bruce, so I’ll know about the fruit of the ministry. Also, it’s such a blessing to read praise reports, and to know that my labor is not in vain. Remember, God “…is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” 13
A Prayer for You…
Lord Jesus, I want you to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I believe in my heart that God has raised You from the dead. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving me of my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture References (NKJV):
1) Matt. 9:37,38, NLT
6) 2 Cor. 5:21, KJV
10) 2 Cor. 13:5, NLT