“Locked up, But Not Locked Out!”
Rev. Kevin Sauls
Peter in Acts 12 is dealing with an empire and because of his courage and his witness, he’s locked up in the jail. Like Peter, sometimes life can lock us up behind prison bars. Life can bind us up with all kinds of chains; chains of debt and depression, of unemployment and disappointment.
The cradle to prison pipeline is real. Life can sometimes lock us up behind prison bars. These bars can be social. These bars can be political circumstances, social and political circumstances we did not choose. Schemes and systems you see we cannot control.
Circumstances such as abuse and neglect, my brothers and sisters; abuse from a bully or a brother or a father; neglect from a mother or sister or a society that has shut her ears to your concerns; circumstances such as exploitation and discrimination. Circumstances that can create prison style conditions whether it is in the suburbs of London or the inner cities of America; prison-style conditions from South Los Angeles to the Southside of Chicago; from Skid Row to your row on the corner of misery and despair. Prison style conditions!
These prison bars can be personal experiences that we did not sign up for. A cycle you see, manufactured to entrap us in addiction, entrap us in a certain location.
These changes can be professional experiences we did not subscribe to, familial and societal experiences we did not make reservations for.
These bars and chains, my brothers and sisters, can be situations and conditions we either created and/or signed up for.
Behaviors that we choose to participate in and perpetuate, actions we engage in that resulted in bars and chains being a reality for us for days and months and even for years.
But one thing is clear, whether intentional or unintentional, emotional or financial, physical or spiritual, prison bars can seduce and entrap us into a destructive cycle that can compromise God’s plan and purpose for our lives.
However, being locked up in jail doesn’t mean we are locked out of justice. This is the good news my brothers and sisters, prison bars don’t have to have the last say on you. Chains don’t have to have the last say on you. Being locked up in your physical and emotional jail doesn’t mean that you are locked out of help and healing.
Being locked up in that jail called depression, that jail called domestic violence doesn’t mean that you are locked out of hope or healing. In the midst of paralysis due to a stroke or diabetes or obesity, you can know today my brothers and sisters that you are not locked out of the miracles of healing and recovery towards wellness, regardless of the familial bars and societal barriers. We can never be locked out of God’s grace and God’s possibility.
Oh, church, there’s about to be an angelic break-in to facilitate a breakout. God has the commitment and God has the courage to break into your locked down and locked in situation and facility a breakout. God has the audacity and facility to break into your breakdown and facilitate a break through.
Whatever it is that has you locked up, whoever it is that has you locked down, you are not locked out from God’s plans nor God’s possibilities. Whatever has you locked up, whoever got you on lock down, you are not locked out from God’s plans and God’s purpose for your life.
If you want to move towards being broken out, I believe Acts 12 tells us to wake up and to get up. In the first place, if you find yourself in a locked up situation, wake up and get up.
Why wake up? Because sometimes our locked up situation can invite us to slumber; sometimes our locked down situation can make that which is abnormal, become normal. It can make that which is abnormal very comfortable and we just take a nap over there. The first thing that the angel does to Peter in Acts 12:7 is to wake him up.
So first thing, brothers and sisters, it is time for you and me in our locked up, pinned down situation to wake up and smell the coffee and realize we might not be where God wants us to be. We might not live the life.
God is inviting us to live. Peter had to wake up and if you are to get ready for that angelic breakout at your break down it’s time for you to wake up!
But then it’s not just enough for you to wake up because if you’re like me, waking up doesn’t mean I’m going to get up. The alarm clock might wake me up, but it doesn’t mean I need to get up. I can just sit there and have a good time with my eyes open and in my mess, with my eyes open in my craziness, with my eyes open in my foolishness.
It’s not just enough to wake up, my brothers and sisters. We also need to get up because God has a new way for you to walk. God has a new way for you to talk. God has a new destination for you. God has a new direction for you!
I don’t know about you, but now and then it gets so comfortable for us to just take a nap in our mess, to take a nap in injustice, to take a nap in all the craziness around us, with violence, with abuse. But oh, thanks be to God that there’s about to be a break-in in your breakdown to facilitate a breakout if you are just willing to wake up and get up!
Wake up to your faith. Wake up to your ability. Wake up to the possibility that God has placed in you, and get up for the future.