This week I was at the Illinois African-American Economic and Social Empowerment Summit in Springfield, IL with my Pastor. Now, as a ”white guy”, sure I felt a little out of place, but there was something that the representative of the Department of Corrections said about “Re-offenders” that really got me thinking. He said… “You gotta get ‘em off the criminal road!” It got me thinking about the parallels of the sinner who gives his heart to Christ, but that’s merely the beginning.
What is “The Criminal Road”? And how do you know you’re on that road? Sure, you repented of your sins, or asked God to forgive you of some sin you committed, but are you about to “re-offend”?
Matt 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.”
Here’s some of the warning signs that you may in fact be on The Criminal Road:
1. YOU HAVE A POLLUTED SOCIAL NETWORK.
I see this all the time with young people. Their close friends are using profanity on their MySpace page, they’re still trying to “be cool” at school and fit in at Church, It just doesn’t work. “Who you hang with is who you’ll HANG with!” The noose is ready, the executioner is wearing his black hood! Why? Because you’re friends are bent on sin. They eat it up like a hungry pig in a garbage dump. Your social network has got to change. “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” [1Cor. 15:33]
2. YOU HAVE STINKIN’ THINKIN’.
Sure Jesus is in your heart, but the Devil is still controlling your thoughts. If you’re thinking about dope, Hennessy, or getting down at the Club, where do you think you are? You’re not on the Highway of Holiness, you’re on the Criminal Road, and you’re about to re-offend and get locked-up! Isaiah 35:8 says, “And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein”.
3. YOU’VE GOT BOOGERS IN YOUR NOSE
Have you ever talked to someone and noticed they had a booger in their nose? They didn’t check themselves in the mirror beforehand. “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” [Matt. 7:3] Many times the person on The Criminal Road has got his nose in everybody’s business but his own. He’s lost his focus on getting his own live on track, and somehow validates himself by correcting others.
4. YOU HAVE DIRTY HABBITS
Habits are something that you do day-in and day-out. A habit can make you or break you depending on what kind of habits you have. Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No!” campaign didn’t work, because there was nothing to say “Yes” to! If you take away the Alcohol you’ve got to replace it by drinking the New Wine. If you take away the Marijuana or Crack pipe you’ve got to replace it with a passion for prayer and praise. You’ve got to exchange those dirty habits.
5. YOU’VE GOT BAD BREATH
I’m almost aghast at how many “Christians” these days use profanity or take the Lord’s Name in vain. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” Luke 6:45. Cuss on, my friend – you’re on the Criminal Road and the Holy Spirit is about incarcerate you if you don’t take a detour – quick!
6. YOU’VE GOT A SMELLY SCHEDULE
The person who’s on the Criminal Road is consistently lazy with fulfilling their priorities. They say things like, “Yeah, I’ve been busy lately”, “I just haven’t had time”, or “I know I should have but…” My Pastor once said, “Excuses are like buttholes – everyone’s got one.” I tell my young people, in regards to homework, etc. “Do the worst first.” We must set our priorities, and then everything else is secondary. The Criminal Road is filled with a smelly schedule. Get it cleaned-up and the fragrance of Christ [2 Cor. 2:14] will go before you!