(continued from the previous post)
I knew I had only once choice, if I planned on going forward with God. I had to call the professor back. But before I called I carefully gave a lot of thought to what I would say. Finally, I made the call, said my spiel, and hung up. No sooner had I hung up when I was gripped inwardly with the thought, “You simply told him more lies.” I figured it was God’s Spirit convicting me of sin…again. At that point I was almost physically sick! In reality my “confession” had been a lie in itself. I had told the man that I had “mispoken” and had “previously failed to explain the situation accurately…”! Just call me Dr. Spin, the image specialist. Now I would have to call the man again. Iwas a given that he’d think I was a psycho now.
I couple of days later, feeling all miserable, I dialed the professor up again. While I was dialing I found my mind racing to think of ways to gloss over what I’d done. When I realized what I was thinking I said outloud, “Stop this in Jesus’ name. I’m not going to lie to cover a lie anymore. I’m going to tell the truth only.” It was humble pie. But I did it. I told the dear man that because I so treasured his opinion of me that I had hesitated to really tell him the truth. I had lied to God and lied to him. God was dealing with me about really being a man of truth and I was a work in progress. Would he forgive me for lying to him two times now?
He was very gracious and forgave me. I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. As I hung up the phone there was a sense of relief, for my conscience was now clear. Then suddenly it was as if the roof of the house was lifted off. There came a joy indescribably into my soul in that instant. I was filled up with the sense of God’s deep approval of my life. I wept for joy. The thought that came to me in that moment was, “You mean this is what I’ve been running from? My lies have been keeping me from this kind of joy and cleanness of conscience?” I had been telling lies in hopes of gaining the approval of men. All the while I was forfeiting the approval of God. When I got that turned around I began to immediately sense the approval of my heavenly Father. This is real stuff, folks.
My perspective on living to please God changed that day. Though I didn’t have words for it then, what I have learned is that when I pursue God and seek to please Him and to obey His voice, I’m also pursuing what will bring the highest joy to my own life. Many of you reading this stuff may be feeling conviction from the Holy Spirit right now. You’ve been seeking men’s approval at the expense of truth – and have been forfeiting the joy of having God’s approval on your life. Perhaps you always thought that surrendering to God meant giving up the potential of really enjoying life. You’ve been lied to, my friend. Maybe you’ve been lying to yourself as well.
Today, twenty-two years later, I’m even more convinced that Jesus’ will for our lives is calculated to bring us joy:
“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:11)