Friday, July 17, 2009
Prospective Shift Two
I was having coffee today with a Pastor had I have just met from another church in my area. He is a part of Chicagoland Transformation Fellowship(CTF) which is a group of pastors and Churches that pray and ask God for his blessings and correction in local government (Aldermen, Public Works employees, Police Officers and yes even firemen-may they stub their toes in their next on duty beach volleyball game). I had never heard of anyone setting out to pray regularly for local government unless it was an election. This is a much needed and excellent method for Christians to positively affect their communities. But then again I digress.
I have been in this profession long enough that I reflexively interview people that I do not know. Somewhat suspicious of this Pastor (Officers are paid skeptics)for no other reason than I had never met him in person before, I was asking him questions to get information out of him to see if he was on the level and providing him with as little information about me as possible...all of this happening before I was even conscious of it. Anyway, he provided me with his testimony.
Now most testimonies are very similar with a narrative that begins with too much alcohol, sex, drugs, jail, violence, etc, you then decide you hate your life and everyone around, Jesus finds you in the gutter and you start your walk as a forgiven saint. This is where he threw me down, mentally, and provided me with a prospective shift. What he said was, "I enjoyed my life (pre-salvation), I enjoyed the drugs, I enjoyed the alcohol and I enjoyed the sex. I was happy with my life and did not feel compelled to change anything".
Yet because a co-worker began witnessing to him while he was at work, he started asking the questions, accepted the Lord and never went back to the list of sins he had been committing. He had not fallen into the gutter, God had not removed all the support in his life, he had not suffered any profound affects of sex, drugs and alcohol. God found him where he was at and convicted him before the final blow came.
I always conceptualized our path as sin that was pleasurable, that turns to suffering, then redemption and the Holy Spirit's aid in removal of this sin from our lives. It never occurred to me that God (and of course he can) can convict and remove sin while it still was pleasurable. What hope! We do not have to wait till we suffer the consequences of our actions before we can repent and move on. I have always become convicted of an area where I have fallen into sin, only when it has turned from pleasure into pain. Now I have a chance to turn pleasurable sin into forgiveness and extinction of the action/thought from my life. What a wonderful chance to return to the straight and narrow path in a few steps, rather than returning, bleeding, cut and numb and tired from walking in all the circles. How much more can God's plan be carried on with more steps upon his path.