"An Inside Perspective"

March 2005

My dear family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ! For those of us who are involved in the Visit Ministry, Saturday visits are one of the highlights of our week. We are blessed and encouraged to be visited by a plethora of Christians from the outside. At times, they wait for hours, just to spend an hour and one half with us. We are highly favored that our faithful God and Savior has raised up His people with hearts to reach out to us; redeemed sinners of the basest sort.

At the close of the visits, we the prisoners are shuffled off to one side of the visit hail and the sliding doors are closed. For most of us, that sliding door is a constant painful illustration of the real and true physical separation that we daily experience from our loved ones and friends.

After we are separated from the visitors, we are then counted, accounted for and given our ID badges. Then the dreaded strip-search process begins. Slowly, methodically, one at a time, all sixty of us are stripped naked and searched for contraband while the officers and all the other prisoners look on. After almost 15 years, I am still not used to it, nor will I ever be!

If we do not submit to the strip-search willingly, they will do it forcefully! The police do not bear the “hats and the bats” in vain. The strip-search process is just that, a strip-search. We stand before the officer and hand him one piece of clothing at a time. Finally, you stand before him in only your drawers. One officer in front and fifty-nine men behind you. Alas, it is off with the drawers---exposed! My stars! Adam and Eve had nothing on us, at least they had some trees to hide behind! (smile)

Before you can get your clothes back, let’s just say you have to do the “hokey-pokey’, so to speak. You must show the officer inside your mouth, the bottom of your feet and yes, as you may imagine, even all your secret parts! Then, beyond question, all things are naked and opened before the eyes of him to whom we must give an account. All is uncovered, nothing is hidden and at that point---you are who you are. It is the height of humiliation to say the least. You feel as if the whole world is gazing upon your nakedness and you cannot get your clothes back on fast enough!

It is written, “The Word of God is quick and powerful... a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart... all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him to Whom we must give an account.” The intent of God’s Word is to spiritually strip-search us! Through His Word, God exposes the sin in our lives and shows us who we really are before Him. God calls us to hand over our grave clothes. Hypocrisy is the temporary hiding of our grave clothes. We hide them because we love them even though they are scented with the very smell of death. As we walk obediently, one by one, the very clothes which have had us bound, we are then freed from. Finally, we are fully exposed and walking in transparency. The Lord in front and the whole world behind us. It is just that spiritual transparency in a man or women that the Lord will so quickly use.

The Lord is looking for our spiritual contraband, our worldly ways as it were, yes, that which we suppose we hide from Him and the other members of the Body. It is most difficult for us, in our pride, to be seen as we really are. It is especially hard for us to allow others to see us in all of our spiritual nakedness and to just admit that we are, what we are. Yet, confessing that we are what we are, declares our need of Christ.

Is there an area of your life that you are hiding from the rest of the Body because of your shame or pride? It is written, “While he was still a long way off, his father saw him...” The Lord sees you even now, as you read this. Are you battling against exposure of who you really are? God says to us, even as the police in prison always say to us, “We can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way, it is up to you.”

God is going to get us to do the “hokey-pokey” one way or the other. He wants to see if there is any contraband in our mouths. He wants to look at the bottom of our feet and yes, as you may imagine, He is interested in our secret parts. It is written, “Behold Thou desirest truth in the inward parts and in the hidden Isecretl part Thou shalt make me to know wisdom.”

Our rebellious refusal to willingly expose ourselves will result in discipline. God will surely expose us Himself, and that forcefully, if need be. It is written, “For nothing is secret that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid that shall not be made known and come to light.”

“Have you done the “hokey—pokey” lately?”