(This post is a continuance of the last one.)
My friend and I negotiated a rental agreement and I moved out in the country the following weekend. Still in the back of my mind was the clear thought (I couldn’t shake it off) about the church sign I had seen and what I felt God had said, “Be there on Sunday.”
So on Sunday morning I made myself get up and drive over to that little country church. I can still remember the heart palpitations I had as I walked up that sidewalk to the little white frame building. All sorts of fearful thoughts were flooding my mind, like, “Don’t do it. You don’t know anyone here. They won’t accept you. You don’t want to give up your freedom for this….” I almost turned around and went back to my truck. But something drew me on. I know now it was the mercy and power of God.
I was really nervous as I entered the church. I remember almost nothing of that first visit – except Steve and Vicky. I met this amazing couple who were the friendliest people in the world. Wow. Steve became my best friend almost overnight. Vicky became a sister to me and a little like a mom too! I have fond memories of sitting on their front porch for hours in the evenings, discussing the Bible and Oswald Chambers. Steve was a fairly new Christian and had a testimony similar to mine. He had avoided God for many years but had finally surrendered to Christ. His life was obviously being transformed.
With a Bible in one hand hand and a glass of sweet iced tea in the other, I could spit tobacco juice at least six feet, clearing the edge of the porch. I don’t remember Steve every saying anything about the snuff dipping. Vicky, however, was bold enough to confront me for being a “bad example” in front of her four-year-old, Jon. Mind you, she didn’t do this at first, but only after many months of feeding me supper at her table at least once each week. I think she earned the right after all those delicious home-cooked meals!
God knows I had some serious sin issues to deal with in those early days. I regularly abused alcohol – it was a daily dependence. And I was a slave to pornography. And these were just the obvious bondage issues.
Steve and I would become like iron sharpening iron to one another. We both read Oswald Chamber’s classic devotional daily. Oswald challenged us to truly surrender to and live for God and to expect God to speak to us. And He did. I began to experience God’s presence in my life as never before. One by one I was escaping the sins that had formerly controlled my life.
In those early days I learned that God’s Spirit deals with us along the lines of truth. If you don’t want to walk in the truth, you can forget about hearing from God on a significant basis. This reality brought a serious crisis early in my new walk with God.
I’ll never forget the day that God began to specifically confront my lying tendency. More next time.