The Lord converted me at the age of 17. It was a standard textbook conversion. I was convicted of my sin. I was convicted of being lost. I was confronted with the Gospel. I repented and believed.
The result was a dramatic change. The scriptures were opened up to me. Jesus Christ was real to me. He was my Lord and my attitude of heart was that I desired to follow Him at any cost. This I set myself to do.
I made what would be considered dramatic progress. I witnessed openly (though not without struggling at times.) I carried my big Bible to school. I was conscious of the enabling of the Spirit of God on a daily basis. I prayed for others. I was quickened in my understanding of Scripture and learned to use the Scriptures as the “Sword of the Spirit”. I was a saved man on my way.
Scene 2 Exterior: Enter the Devil.
I set very high standards for myself. I still had fears and ground I was afraid to address. There were certain family members I was afraid to confront. The Devil used this fear and I went under. I felt I had failed the Lord miserably. Then followed condemnation. I took a nose dive and tried to free myself to no avail. I gave ground to a perpetual spirit of condemnation.
I went to Bible school for 2 years thinking this would prove to myself and to the Lord my commitment. But to no avail. The same spirit of condemnation held me fast, even in the wonderful environment of the Bible school. The devil used the preaching and the example of the Servants of God to only add to my sense of condemnation. I was a mess.
After leaving school, I grew weary of the struggle and decided I was of no use to the Lord in the state I was in and would rather be happy as a sinner than miserable as a condemned useless saint. I refused that sense of condemnation and proceeded to pursue some satisfaction in the world.
Much to my surprise, I found liberty in refusing the condemnation but I still didn’t quite understand the nature of what it was. I continued for a time fearing a return to the Lord was a return to the struggle and sense of condemnation. This continued for a couple of years. I got engaged during this time but knew this was not the Lord’s will. I knew she had a lot of good qualities but did not believe. I began to seek the Lord and it seemed the Lord did a work in her. I married.
I was determined to follow the Lord at this point. The Lord began to work in me and to bring to mind the truths He had taught me at school and also what I had known before. I was determined to live for the Lord and to live in accordance with the principals of faith I had seen and learned from those I respected at school and those who’s lives I respected in books I had read, etc. The Lord bore witness to these truths and I found the Lord meeting me in them. I had answers to prayer. My desire to follow Him increased. I was finding liberty from oppression.
Shortly thereafter, I met with stiff opposition in my marriage. The devil took another angle. He had a grip on my wife. She opposed me at every turn. Accusations, etc. Nothing was right. My career was all wrong. She had an idea of what I was supposed to be and do and I was to fit into that. I stood for a time but eventually went under. I sought to follow the Lord for a while but caved in many areas. The devil knew my weaknesses. He hit them constantly. This went on for many years.
Eventually, and true to my nature and temperament, I found myself seeking relief outside my marriage. I succumbed to the devils allure. I fell into a relationship with someone who did not accuse me and respected me and what I did in my profesion. . This I knew was wrong but continued in it for a time. The Lord dealt with me strongly on this and I repented and ended it.
The incident only furthered the difficulties I had at home. Now there was substance to the accusations and things got worse. I began to seek the Lord.
It is my nature and temperament to condemn myself. Yet the Lord did not respond to me as I would have imagined. The Lord bore witness to my relationship with Him. I began to see the work of the enemy over the years. I refused a spirit of condemnation. I began to find liberty and the scriptures were opened to me. I began to find boldness in asserting Jesus Christ. The truths I had learned regarding spiritual warfare became a reality. I began to decern the enemy at work. I determined to stand my ground come what may. I would not be subject to the devil's control in any form or fashion.
This was a learning process and I made many mistakes. But the Lord was there and gently taught and led me. I sought fellowship with others but to no avail. The devil was guarding his territory. It extended far beyond what I had imagined. His tentacles were deeply entrenched.
I learned the meaning of the Cross in a deeper way. Fellowship with Jesus Christ was my only retreat.
The conflict with my wife ended with divorce. I couldn’t undo the things I had done and she would not relent in her accusations and desire for control. It was a sad picture. One to this day I struggle with. Wounds were deep on both sides. But the Lord has been the Balm of Gilliad for me.
I am married now. With a wonderful believing wife. Jesus Christ is the center of our relationship. We both experience His grace on a daily basis. We pray regularly both together and separately. We find ourselves continually strengthened in both prayer and faith and in our relationship one with another. We both meet conflicts with the same faith and find the Lord meeting us daily both in spiritual and material things.
I regret that it was not so in my previous marriage. I regret my own actions and my lack of faith from the beginning. Maybe it would not have turned out so. I don’t know. God knows. But I do know I have found grace in His sight. There is a joy in Him even in the sorrow of the past. I stand a redeemed sinner. One who has learned to distrust himself and to have confidence in Jesus Christ.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Epesians 6:13
February 28, 1999