The following is my most recent post over at Fire Press.
I’ve had my stomach in knots since earlier this week. I found out, through a Facebook post, that a friend of mine from Bible college was arrested for stuff I couldn’t imagine he’d ever do. Or any other born again believer would do for that matter. I couldn’t believe it. I assumed it had to have been some kind of joke. Some kind of misunderstanding. But even the article said the man confessed to various charges as the police came and questioned him.
I’ve Googled and read everything I can find in case this is one of those cases where an offended person is making stuff up in order to make a minister’s life hell–as I’ve seen happen before. But unfortunately it appears to be legitimate. I so badly wanted to find something to prove it was not.
Instead of going into detail of what the news reports from websites in his community are reporting, I’ll just say my heart is very grieved.
I’ve been left with so many questions, like, how does a minister of the Gospel fall to something so depraved? What will this do to scoffers and enemies of the Gospel who are already prone to point out every hypocrisy and indiscretion they can find in the church?
It has made me think of such things as I wrote about in posts of mine like Do You Have Stranglers In Your Life?, that people don’t “fall into” sin over night. They go down a path for a long time. It starts in seed form and as desires and temptations are given into, the seed grows into an actual plant in the thought life. As I shared in that post, a strangler
…is like a virus that grows onto the tree, usually in the roots when the tree is young or little. As the tree grows, so does the matapalo (“killing stick”). It appears on the surface somewhat like it’s actually a part of the tree, but don’t be fooled–it’s not.
These thought seeds or desires start small, but like James says
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:14-15, ESV)
The gestation stages of potential sin
It doesn’t happen right away but is a process and we must cut it off early so it doesn’t progress and come to full fruition! One of satan’s most effective strategies is to scatter lies and deception in seed form early on in the harvesting stage. When you take two different seeds in the palm of your hand, you typically will not know what they will they turn into until you’ve planted them and seen what fruit is produced. Habits and thought patterns are formed at an early age, and as a result, can be very difficult to change later on.
Let me encourage you to not live your life in such a manner letting both seeds take root in your life, later having destruction come to destroy works of the flesh! Galatians warns us that we cannot sow to the flesh without reaping corruption and destruction. We suffer when those seeds go unchecked and come to fruition in other forms down the road. Better to deal with them early! It’s much easier to deal with things in their seed form than it is when they’ve taken root and developed a lot of structure in our lives.
A friend once told me of being on a flight with a well known minister of the gospel when he was younger. They were sitting in first class, and for some reason one of the stewardesses kept flirting with the minister. My memory doesn’t give me details about how long this went on or what else my friend said about this situation, but I recall that finally this minister just yelled “whore of Babylon! whore of Babylon!” and the stewardess quickly backed off and tried to distance herself immediately so as to not draw any attention to herself or give others the idea he was referring to her.
My friend told me that he and the others present looked at him with jaws dropped and he told them “if you don’t embarrass sin, it will one day embarrass you.”
That sounds radical, but I’d rather look like a fool such as Joseph who ran away and lost his shirt when Potiphar’s wife came on to him, then to have it all come crashing down on me one day later as the consequences of my sinful choices and actions caught up to me.
I encourage you to get radical about dealing with sin in your life as well!
I also encourage you to listen to this podcast episode with myself and Dave Edwards and be stirred up.