The Hardest Lock to Pick

Written by Drew on July 2nd, 2009

LockWilliam G. Patterson tells a good story about the time Harry Houdini finally faced a lock he couldn’t pick. Houdini issued a challenge wherever he went that he could set himself free from any jail cell in the country. He had freed himself from dozens of cells until one time something went wrong. He entered the jail in his street clothes, as he always did, and took from his belt a concealed piece of metal, strong and flexible. He set to work immediately, but something seemed unusual about this lock. Thirty minutes passed with no result, then an hour. After two hours, he was bathed in sweat and panting in exasperation, but he still could not pick the lock. Exhausted, he collapsed against the door—and it swung open! It was never locked in the first place. But in Houdini’s mind it was locked, and that was all it took to keep him from opening the door and walking out.

Prison doors are not the only challenges faced by locked minds. A locked mind can keep a person from heaven. Because they have closed their minds, some people will try everything except the clear way out of the prison of sin.

Some try to escape by staying busy, thinking they will escape their guilt by distraction. Paul spoke of some who were “always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). It is possible to work hard and make zero progress because you are hammering at the wrong nail.

Some try to escape by seeking comfort. The Laodiceans were comfortable, but Christ spit them out of his mouth (Rev. 3:15-17). Only Christ can offer true rest, but before he can save us, we must confront our sins with repentance. That is why James said, “Be wretched and mourn and weep” (Jas. 4:9).

Some try to escape by putting up a front. The Pharisees wore masks of piety, but inside they were corrupt and sinful. Jesus said they cleaned the outside of “the cup and the plate,” but inside they were full of greed and self-indulgence. He compared them to “whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness” (Mt. 23:25-28).

Some try to escape by blaming others. That was Adam’s tactic (Gen. 3:12), Saul’s too (1 Sam. 15:21). Others may have a share in your failed spiritual condition, but on Judgment Day, God is going to look at our lives on a case-by-case basis (2 Cor. 5:10). Excuses will not get you into heaven, only Christ.

There are souls who are imprisoned by sin simply because they won’t open the door. They are trying various keys, picking the lock, lighting explosives to blow out the walls, attempting every means except the most sensible one—opening the door.

Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20). You don’t have to be an escape artist to be delivered from sin. Just open your heart to the gospel, put your faith in Christ, and follow him (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 2:38).


2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Kevin Wilson says:

    Great lesson. No matter how much effort we expend trying to avoid it, redemption is only possible when the sin is faced and overcome.

  2. Kevin Wislon says:

    Very good. We must face it.

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