I had just a few months left on my ten-year prison sentence when a friend said to me, “I don’t know how you’ve been able to do these ten years, Danny.” Without thinking, I said, “One day at a time, John.”
If you think about it, we’re all doing time somewhere. The question is, what are we doing, every day, with the time we’ve been given?
There are two things we all do, no matter who we are. One, we live till we die, and two, every day we’re alive, we make decisions. Good decisions generally lead to good results, and bad decisions usually lead to bad ones.
I’ll admit, I have made more than my share of bad decisions—but that doesn’t mean I have to continue making them. No way! It took serving time in 12 federal prisons and 5 county jails in 8 states for me to come to my senses, but I’ve now made it my aim to make the best decisions I can.
I’m in my 70s, and I have been out of prison for 20 years now, clean and green. I guess you could say I’ve “learned a thing or two, about a thing or two.”
Society has decided that incarceration is a form of punishment that will deter an individual from making the same bad decisions a second time. But does it?
Recently, I asked the men at a Bible study I teach at a halfway house to raise their hands if they had done more than one bit. More than half of them raised their hands. One man had been down 11 times. But then he said, “This is the last time, because I’ve found Jesus.”
Hold that thought!
What is it about Jesus that can prevent someone from going back to prison? Shouldn’t the shame, guilt, and financial hardship we’ve placed on our families be enough? Or living miles away from everything we love? How about living in fear and constantly looking over our shoulders?
For so many, none of those things prevent them from going back to their old ways and ultimately returning to prison. But Jesus can change things. Galatians 3:22 says, “we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ” (NLT).
I got right with God during my first two weeks in jail by accepting Jesus into my life. In that moment, I knew that I was corrected. Sure, I still had to serve the rest of my time and work through some wrong thinking, but from that day until now, Jesus has been doing time with me. He’s helped me overcome every obstacle I’ve met. He’s given me His strength, wisdom, peace, and power to face each day.
Is Jesus doing time with you, or are you still trying to do everything your way? Whatever trial you’re facing, are you doing it with Him or on your own?
I’ve tried doing life my way. It didn’t work. But when I began doing things God’s way, everything changed. He is the reason I am an ex-con, an ex-drug dealer, an ex-drug addict, and an ex-alcoholic.
I saw a poster once that said, “Never be a prisoner of your past. It was just a lesson, not a life sentence.” With Jesus, you can be free from your past, once and for all. His truth and Spirit can set you free (John 8:32; 2 Corinthians 3:17).
Stop trying to do things your way. Let Jesus change your heart and mind so He can change your ways and future. You don’t have to go back to your dead-end ways; you don’t have to be a statistic.
Life is about decisions, and the most important decision you can ever make is to ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. Go ahead, make it today. When you do, Jesus will come into your life and serve your time with you.
DANNY R. COX was called by God to be an evangelist while serving time in prison. He is now a credentialed evangelist and correctional chaplain and serves on the board of KOJ Ministries. Danny shares his story in churches and prisons worldwide. His book, High on a Lie, may be purchased on Amazon in English and Spanish. He is the founder of Prison2Preacher Ministries.