Who am I?
This question who am I? is a very interesting one because, believe it or not, we are not who we think we are. Studies of the human mind have shown that our conscious mind only occupies less than 5% of our brainpower. The remaining 95% of how we operate is all done on a subconscious level. Most of the regular things that we do like, breathing, walking, getting dressed, singing a tune, driving a car, they all happen without any real concentrated effort on our part. For example - many prisoners, who are released after a number of years of only walking in a one-way system around the exercise yard, find themselves flustered when trying to walk along a pavement where people are walking towards them.
The point that I'm trying to make is that it's what's in that 95% that determines who we really are. Most of our mind is like some sort of locked away computer programme that automatically decides what to do in certain situations. Take an alcoholic for example - his conscious mind cannot help him however hard he tries. With all the will power and good intentions that he may have, he is still a slave to forces within his subconscious mind.
Most of the content in our subconscious mind is information put there during our earlier life's experiences, or in other words how we are brought up. Our minds are like a self-learning computer programme and in some ways can be compared with a dustbin - if you put rubbish in then you get rubbish out. I've said before in these talks that one of the great untruths in this world is the saying - 'Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me'. This is untrue because names do hurt. Think about those children who have repeatedly heard such things as - 'Your one of the 'XXX' family, bad blood in there, you'll end up in prison like your father'. Is it surprising that those children, who have been constantly told that they are rubbish, turn out that way? Is it surprising that they grow up with a very poor opinion of themselves?
One of the main things that Jesus asked each of us to do was 'Love your neighbour as yourself' The problem I found with many of the men I met inside prison is that they didn't really like them selves at all. So if they can't love themselves they are not even at first base in trying to love others.
The question that I want you reader to address in these notes is this 'Do you love yourself?' I'm not looking for the 'cocky' sort of facemask that you may wear on the prison landing. No, I'm asking about the 'you' that's in your head when you are alone with yourself in your cell at night. Do you like who you think you are or would you like to change but don't now how too. Have you failed so often to change that you've given up trying?
I don't know where I read this quote but I noted it down to be able to share at a time like this - "It's hard for sinful man to believe that God loves him. His own accusing conscience tells him it couldn't be so. He knows he is an enemy of God and is alienated in his mind through wicked works. He sees in himself a thousand reasons why God should not love him. Yet the whole of the Bible proclaims the love of God for sinful men".
The truth that you reader needs to understand is that God loves you just as you are, with whatever faults you have, but he loves you far too much to leave you that way.
It has been said many times that 'a leopard can't change its spots' - the Bible even confirms this in Jeremiah Chapter 13 verse 23. But what the Bible confirms is that the leopard or YOU can't change YOURSELF. This is because you haven't got access to your subconscious mind, the 95%, the real you.
The Good News that I bring is that Jesus' Holy Spirit does have access to subconscious minds and He can change you for the better, but only if invited. He has to be invited by you into your life. Nobody else can do this for you, your parents can't and your loved ones can't, it's got to be you. An unbreakable rule from God Himself is that he will not take away anybodies free will to go their own way in this world. You can if you want 'do it my way', as Frank Sinatra used to sing. The choice is yours, your way or God's way. This is how we all start life and yet I've found from my own experiences that the real bottom line in life is this - We can either live the life we choose, and try to be successful and happy by relying upon our own talents, intelligence and skills or - we can ask God's help. If you've lived your own life up to now, without God's help, then look around you and ask yourself this - 'Am I a success? Did I make the correct bottom line choice?' If your honest with yourself then the chances are you'll admit you're a failure, certainly judging by the world's standards. And you probably don't like yourself and don't know what to do about it. How about asking God to help? He doesn't look upon you as a failure and he loves you even if you are yet another of the many prodigal sons that he has. Do you realise that God is never disappointed in you, or anybody else for that matter. Disappointments only occur when expectations are not met and God, who knows each of us even better than we even know ourselves, never has expectations above our capabilities.
God has loved you, reader, since the day you were born and has been trying to get your attention ever since you reached the age of reason. Why not give him a chance to show you his way of living. Open your heart now and invite him on board. Give him access to the 95% of your mind that needs healing and transforming. You won't be he first, or the last, person to do this. St Paul wrote in a letter to the Christians who lived in Roman all those years ago "Don't copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how his ways will really satisfy you" (Romans 12:2 Living Bible).
He also wrote in another letter to the Christians who lived in the City of Philippi "For God is at work in you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you to do what he wants" (Philippians 2:13 Living Bible)
As I finish please join me in your thoughts in this closing prayer. Dear Lord Jesus I'm sorry for the way I've ignored you for so long. My life is in a mess and I need your help to sort it out. Come into my heart now and give me a taste of the love you have for me. I'd like a fresh start but can't do it on my own, be with me from this time forward, Amen
Contents are © Copyright 2006 Ken Mainey
Taken from www.jesuslovesprisoners.co.uk or www.jesusrenewsprisoners.co.uk