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by Michael Harbour
What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Temptations come. Every temptation looks good to us. If it did not look good, if we did not think that it would be a very good thing for us, we would not indulge. What is it that tempts you?
Ken (not his real name) grew up in Atlanta in a Christian household. He went to church with his mother, but never knew his father. His dad was never interested in being a father to his son. Ken is charming, intelligent, and handsome. He was tempted to make use of these gifts. He knew that his easy smile and smooth style was powerful. He liked to go to parties and live outside of the boundaries that he had heard about from his mom and from the church. He was not too interested in work. Fun was his ambition.
Sixteen months ago, Ken came to Galveston from Atlanta for a party on the beach. He found his fun in dangerous living. He found a beautiful young woman to use. There would be consequences for both of them. About a month ago, Ken came to Houston for another round of parties. He had stayed with some rowdy friends and they had gone out to a club. He charmed an exotic dancer, or perhaps it was she who found a vulnerable man with a little bit of spendable cash. She took him to a motel. He woke up the next morning with no money, no wallet, no ride. He began to walk back toward the apartment where his friends had let him stay. He wondered how he would get home to Atlanta. It could take him all day to get across Houston to his personal belongings. Atlanta might as well be a million miles away. That is when he saw the church, and decided to ask for help.
Ken thought he would give me a song and dance routine. He did not want to tell me the truth about what he had been doing. He just wanted a ride across town and bus ticket to Atlanta. I decided to preach to him for a bit. I told him that I thought that God had brought him to my office, and that I did not want to dishonor Gods intent. I asked him to tell me the truth, and if he did not want to do that he could resume his walk. He was ashamed, but he decided that he would tell me. I told him that God thought that he was a person of great worth. I told him that the women that he had been using for his pleasure were beloved daughters of God, people of great worth, too, and that if he disrespected the daughters of God, he could expect to be in trouble. He was hopeful to get some help, so he smiled, and was charming, and said, You are right. Inside, he was angry. I told him that I thought that God had a plan for his life, and that he was not living up to the gifts that God had provided. I took him to get a hamburger, to get his clothing and personal belongings, and to the bus station with a ticket to Atlanta.
Do you mean it? Do you mean that you would die? Do you mean that you would trust God with your future? Would you declare your faith in God and your determination to live by the power of the Spirit of God living in you? Would you die to sin? He said yes. He stayed for bible class and for second service. At the end of the service, I invited him up to the platform. His heart was pounding. There were so many people! I leaned over and asked him, What can I tell them?
Nothing!, he said with eyes wide. Well, tell them that I am a father. Tell them something that I heard my mother say. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child. When I became a man, I put away childish things. Today I want to be a man. Gods man. When we baptized him, it was a powerful moment. God had set Ken on a new path. I am praying for Ken as the next chapter unfolds. He is no longer a million miles from home.
He will still be tempted. He needs to be in a community of people that want to be faithful. He needs help. Maybe this lyric from Avalon could help him, as it helps me. I dont want to go somewhere, if I know that Youre not there because I know that me without You is a lie. And I dont want to walk that road, be a million miles from home. My heart needs to be where You are. So I dont want to go.
Author: Michael Harbour
Publication Date: July 16, 2002
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