Cindy's title

Cynthia“Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent — the Lord detests them both” (Proverbs 17:15). Human justice is not always just, right, and fair. Those who have had their freedoms and personal liberty taken from them, whether justly or not, have a unique and difficult challenge because they cannot escape their physical captivity and outward control by others. To help them recognize and focus on what they can change and control is an immense challenge psychologically and spiritually. To understand that our mind and spirit cannot be controlled outwardly by someone else or by circumstances is to begin to comprehend the power and deeper meaning of inner freedom. To experience personal control over thoughts, attitudes, and emotions, no matter what the circumstances is a power and freedom that cannot be taken away. It can only be relinquished by us.

The apostle Paul experienced severe hardships, beatings, and imprisonments because of his faith and obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:23 – 28). In spite of that, he was able to say, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12). His secret was inner power and control. His mind, will, and spirit were not controlled outwardly by anyone or anything. Paul identifies the source of his strength in the next verse saying, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Paul’s contentment, inner peace, and self control, no matter how dire his circumstances, came from giving God control of his life. “The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).

John and his coworkers have been privileged through correspondence courses to get to know many people in prison who have become believers and have been obedient to Christ while in prison. They all say that good has come from their time in prison because they have become new spiritually. They have given their life to God in baptism (Romans 6:3 – 7) and become “a new creation” in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Their relationship to God enables them to have victory over their surroundings and their inner demons. God’s Spirit within gives them a new attitude and, indeed, a “new self” (Ephesians 4:22 – 24). The irony of inner freedom is that we all have the power to choose who and what will control us. Those who have been “born again” have chosen God.
— Cynthia Clayton
Photo: Patty Gibson

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