"As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly." - Proverbs 26:11
Wouldn't it be great if that was it, I got saved, threw out my meth lab, went to church and joined the choir. Ha, I could say that, but then I'd have to repent for being a liar.
The experience was short lived. Within fifteen or twenty minutes my thoughts soon returned to my own estate; the weight of my circumstances and of my sin came back upon me. Not to say that this encounter had no effect on me at all, quite the contrary. Having received God's word in power, I received in my earthen vessel the seed of faith, but this was a small seed planted in the vast expanse of dirt in my own heart. I was greatly convinced of God and was immediately convicted.
I did attempt to throw out my equipment and supplies, and I made an effort to reform my actions. But having little knowledge of sin and of my own sinfulness, I quickly took up my pride and my pretences and made strength my arm, and in so doing I denied God's ownership of me and Christ as my salvation. A week after throwing it all in the trash, I would dig it back out. And this happened on multiple occasions. I had not yet been made to understand that it was within my own heart that the major problem lay. In spite of what should have been obvious to me, I thought that to some degree I was good and to some degree that I was just and/or righteous. I had not come to terms with the wickedness and deceitfulness which was at the core of my own heart.
As I endeavored to reform, I was confounded. As I read God's word, I was convicted. And under that conviction, I would only try harder to break my own bonds, but to no avail. At times fear would set upon me so strongly I would cry, sometimes for awhile, not knowing what was wrong with me. As tough as it was, it was necessary for me to be put under a harsh school master; one which would minister the death to my flesh which was needful for my spirit to live. So the Holy Spirit allowed my own efforts and the ministry of God's law to work death in me. I had to first be broken and made to know my impotence to save myself before a holy God.
My conscience worked overtime, excusing and accusing. Although I had not focused on reading the law as it is written in the Torah, I had some knowledge of it. I also found plenty of verses in the New Testament which worked to bring judgment upon my sin and death upon the works of my flesh. Also my defiled conscience became violent at times and was the most cruel of all as it would constantly barrage me with accusations. With all this I was made to see my lustful thoughts and my pride were wicked in God's eyes. I was made to see all my addictions and vices as idolatrous, both lustful and adulterous. Here I was made to know the necessity of God's law and the full counsel of His word.
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For The Church, With The Church
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