July 14, 2010

Testimony of a Man, Part 5

You know what fascinates me? When I read about those who receive the merciful, gracious blessings of God in their life, and then turn their back on His perfect Lordship. Well, that's the pot calling the kettle black in my case. If we're all honest, that encompasses every one of us.
God has been so good to me. He protected me and loved me as a child. He gave me a family, and He opened my eyes to salvation.

And I pretended to be devoted to Him, but I chased after the world in my new found freedom.
I became a pretty good athlete in High school, took the lead in a school musical, and launched into a fairly successful stint as a thespian. I sang in a choir and I began to hang out with the popular crowd.

You need to understand that I had to overcome being very socially retarded. I didn't know how to relate to people very well; and when I finally began to earn the respect and popularity that athletics and fine arts afforded me, I became arrogant and foolish.

I knew what God desired for me, but I wanted to experience the things that all "the cool people" in my life had always experienced. I never got into drugs or alcohol, but I turned my back on God's call to purity and gave into the lust of sexual greed.

There were several years through college and afterwards that I lived a lie. I pretended to be a devout Christian and youth leader in church and Christian circles, but I secretly dated girls who had made the same decision I did, to pursue temporary personal satisfaction rather than wait for God's perfect plan.

1 John tells us that to live a lie is to be out of fellowship with God. I can honestly say that for almost a decade of my life, I was out of fellowship with God. It grieves my heart to write it, and it grieves my heart for the pain it brought to my wife, and the gift and purity it denied her.
Fascinating isn't really the right word for it - is it? It's heartbreaking.

But God's grace is greater than my shame. He brought me to a place of repentance. I will tell you this, there is no greater bitter-sweet experience on earth than to repent before a perfect, holy, gracious, loving God.

If hope you know the experience of having your heart broken before the all knowing eyes of God and what it is to grieve - I mean really mourn - over your sinful pride. I believe I was saved at the age of twelve, but I didn't know the Freedom in Christ until I was almost thirty years old. When I finally surrendered my pride to admit I wasn't who I pretended to be, and that I needed Him and desired nothing more than to live in Him, He began to show me what life was all about.
I want to tell you more about that experience, but I need to tell you more about how it came about. That is what I will pick up on tomorrow.

With you for His glory-