Many years ago, I was the Nurse Administrator in a minimal correctional facility operated by the New Jersey Department of Corrections. Random searches for illegal paraphernalia were conducted on a routine basis. Thankfully, the facility director was very protective of the female staff and would inform me of the scheduled search the day before.
The protocol involved total lockdown, which required that our entry-proof door of the clinic be double-bolted from the inside. Except for the Director, all staff was sequestered in their offices for an unlimited time until “All-clear” was announced. Although, in-house searches were part of the environment, this one was different. The Dept. of Corrections had escalated the search by bringing in an outside task force.
On this particular day, my coworker and I decided to peek at the officers and dogs entering the corridor. We were younger, and our curiosity had gotten the best of us. The ferocious barking that we heard from the team of dogs made our hearts race and accelerated our breathing. But in our desire to see, we were not prepared to witness armed officers with massive-sized German Shepherd dogs. Nor did we realize how a man would appear shackled with chains around his chest, back, wrists, and ankles to our curious eyes. When his eyes met with our eyes, he dropped his head in shame.
After witnessing the dogs, armed officers, and the shackled offender, my coworker began to cry uncontrollably. Since the sick call was canceled for the day [exceptions for emergencies], we stayed in our clinic with the door closed to process what we had witnessed. It was overwhelming, to say the least, sixteen years have passed, and I still remember every detail.
Sin shackles our minds and bodies. If only we would reflect on the devastation that we suffer when we choose to live outside God. Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
King David realized the devastating impact that sin has on our hearts: Sin shackles us in the chains of wickedness and separates us from God. Yes, we can always pray for forgiveness. But, sin leaves residual effects by desensitizing our desire to live holy and acceptable lives before God. The pleasures of this world are deadly. We can never pay the price that sin requires of us. Our morals and values deteriorate along with our desire to live faithful and obedient lives to God, our Creator.
Jesus went above and beyond, giving His life so we can have salvation, a permanent solution to our inherent sinful desires. “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” Matthew 6:24. We must make the decision to either serve God and live according to His plans, or we must continue to enjoy the people, places, and things that make us feel good. Serving God means total surrender to His will and His way. If God required Jesus, His only Son, to suffer, bleed and die for us, then He requires us to choose this day who we will serve. Free yourself from the shackles of your desires.
Bible Study: Psalm 139
God, we pray for forgiveness of our sins. We need your strength to release us from the habits, and people that are feeding our desire to sin. Thank you, Jesus for your great sacrifice. We pray this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2021, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the author’s written permission.