In weakness we can find strength, God’s perfect strength. But in our strength, our pride, when fully developed, we can find desolation and pain. Such was the case in my life many years ago in a place far away.
I was a faithful Christian, involved in church leadership, teaching Bible classes, volunteering at the children’s private Christian school. I was the epitome of walking after the Lord…on the outside.
Inside I had allowed doubt and lust to establish a foothold in my heart and mind. Subtly I allowed stray looks, personal remarks and thoughts to slide in and build comfortable seating arrangements in my inner man, in my heart.
As my flesh grew stronger, my Spirit weakened. And then one day, the dike broke, the floodwaters gushed forth, overwhelming the land of my mind. I acted on my desires rather than asking God to provide a way of escape as we are told to do in 1 Corinthians 10:13.
The pounding force of the pent up desires carved a new path for me. No longer walking on the narrow and straight way, I found friends and satisfaction on the wider way; the one that leads to perdition. Step by step, I walked away from His voice, His pleading, His warnings.
One night, after dropping off my date at the door of a restaurant, I found a parking place nearby. Just as I set the brake, I heard an audible voice say, “Don’t do it!” I was shocked and stunned. I looked to my right, expecting to see the Lord. Nothing. Again the voice said, clearly, “Don’t do it!”
Now if my life had been a movie, I would have broken down, called out to God for forgiveness and run back to Him. It was not and I did not. My pride was running the show. I was not yet ready to repent!
I walked further away from my Savior (who never gave up on me), burrowing deeper into the abyss of broken promises and fractured ideals. Peace? What peace, I am too busy feeding my flesh, looking for that all-elusive satisfaction.
Within a few months, my newly erected wide-path world collapsed, taking me down with it. There I was, standing in the middle of the road, shaking my head, wondering what happened.
This time He didn’t need to speak audibly. Apparently I had not buried the Holy Spirit’s guidance completely because I “knew” that He was calling me back. “You’ve gone far enough,” he let me know. “My grace is sufficient to restore you. Repent and walk away from this sin.” This time I did break down and pour out my soul, asking for forgiveness, knowing He would grant my request…already had.
That was more than thirty years past. Since then, God has healed my heart, given me a new life, a wonderful wife and new Bible classes to teach. My flesh remains alert, ready to strengthen my pride but this time I refuse to relent, I will continue to call upon the Lord to deliver me and forgive me each time I am tempted and drawn away.
And He always does…with a smile and a reminder that His blood shed on the cross gave me absolute forgiveness and a new life.