When I first became a Christian I was extremely zealous. I would hit the streets with my crew and proclaim the liberty of Christ up and down each sidewalk. Unashamed and unafraid, I wanted everyone to know the power Christ had to save. It didn’t matter if you were homeless standing on the street corner, a prostitute waiting for your next “john”, or if you were on your way to the corner store for an alcoholic beverage. If you crossed our paths, my friends and I would drop a track in your hand, minister to you about the goodness of Christ and lead you in the “sinner’s prayer”, solidifying your salvation for the kingdom. We were “on fire” and did not yet understand that the race was not for the swift, nor the strong…Eventually several members of the group gave in to their various battles with temptation and found themselves isolated from the body of Christ. One brother in particular was entangled in a lifestyle of sin for 5 long years. We would lay hands on him, just fall short of stalking him, and encourage him with God’s word. But it seemed nothing worked. He had given in to lust and lust would not let him go. From time to time I would think about him and even pray, but never really expected that our paths would cross again. Imagine my surprise when I saw him 7 years later at a mutual friend’s gathering. At first I didn’t recognize him, but upon frequent glances in each other’s direction, we almost simultaneously made the connection. He looked good. He was married, healthy and now a pastor of a church! I was floored as he explained his journey in being backslidden and how God in His mercy brought him back to himself. He said that he literally one day woke up and was in his right mind. He gave up the alcohol and other enticements and chose to live for Christ that day forward.
I was amazed. Not just at how the Lord delivered him in one day, but even how he had grown and matured from his experience. Indeed, we had both grown and matured so much from our early Christian days. We were long lost friends who hadn’t seen each other in forever and talked for a good 2 hours just trying to catch up on life; the other visitors slowly fading in the background. I knew when talking to him that that is what heaven would be like. Getting to speak with people you once knew and loved dearly and connect as if no time had passed at all. I thought of this meeting yesterday with my old friend when I too experienced a sudden miraculous deliverance.
I had been battling the doubleminded-ness and attempting to cling to what I knew was true and ignore the lies that were contradicting God’s Spirit inside of me. I finally broke and cried out to the Lord “Father, I can’t do this…I don’t have any control, I give in to this desire…” Little did I know He had been waiting for me to make this very declaration. A declaration which to me tasted bitterly of failure. Mere moments after those sentences escaped my lips, I felt His peace and the hold that was previously over me was broken. I was free. I no longer had that sinful desire and my mind was cleared of the fogginess it was experiencing. “WOW”, was all I could say. Even after 10 years of walking with Him He never ceases to amaze me. His power is phenomenal and there is nothing on this earth that is greater than Him. What was reiterated to me in this experience was that it is Christ’s responsibility to free us from sin. The burden is His and we do not have it in us to free ourselves. I had to get to a place of letting go and cease attempting to “be strong” or “free myself”. Where we are weak, He is truly strong. So even when we experience those moments of clarity when we are in the midst of sin, it is His grace and strength that helps us to take “the way out”. Apart from Him we can do nothing. We may not like this because it means we do not have the capacity to be “good” in and of ourselves, but that is our own pride. Humility will teach us to be utterly and relentlessly dependent on Him.
That is one of the major differences between Christianity and any other faith. Christianity says, “I am not able to live a life of abundance and freedom in and of myself”. It requires one to humble themselves and ask for help from their Creator. Another beautiful truth in Christianity is that it offers relationship from the Creator with the creation. So many are entangled in sin because they have sought other sources of fulfillment and yet they have come up empty simply b/c they are really aching to be restored to their Maker. Those of us who know our Creator do not just call Him “God” but we call Him “Abba…Daddy”. He is intimate and passionate and near to us and He causes the members of His body to be the same. At each point of my own struggle there were people standing in the gap for me. People I could call and who would lovingly walk me towards the door of freedom. I have no doubt, it is their intercession that has restored me to my rightful position in Him. It is their love and support that is aiding me in manifesting my eternal identity in the earth. It is the cheers from the crowds of those in heaven and those on earth that spurs me to run this race ’til the end…