In our church planting quest, we have been visiting churches. One thing I didn’t count on, necessarily, is running into people I know. I’m not sure why. I grew up in this region and I’m getting “older”. The older you get it seems the more people you know. I’ve run into several familiar faces. I don’t always recognize people…we’re getting “older” and we’ve lost weight or in my case, gained some weight. Or a teenage grew into an adult, etc.
Recently, I was recognized by a girl I went to high-school with. As I was trying to placing her face…I knew it was familiar but it wasn’t clicking. She told me her name. That I recognized and then she added, for good measure, “I was the naughty (or maybe she said “bad”) cheer leader.”. If I was an emoticon I would be the wide-eyed one. We’ve been out of highschool for many years. I was completely unaware of any highschool indiscretions she may have participated in. In any case, I seriously doubt her highschool shenanigans would shock me today. And more seriously, I ask myself, “How do I see myself? and how would I describe myself to someone from my past? How would I have handled the situation?”
I am not sure. But I hope that I would not associate myself with my past or my sin. To the best of my ability, I will associate myself with who God says I am; my best self.
Freedom is hard to come by…it took me a long time to get freed up. Even recently, I prayed for continual healing. Reluctantly. Healing isn’t always fun but it is always good. Deliverance isn’t always easy but it’s the best thing for us.
I prayed and a day or two later, I am driving down the road and I pass a house that I used to spend time at. God tells me, “You have a soul tie with that house.” A house? Yes, because every time I drove by that house I remembered a season of my life that was sinful. Then I thought of the people who lived there and my mind would wonder to “Where are they now?”. It triggered memories and emotions that were not from God. I had to break it and let it go.
There are places we have to “break up” with.
I’m going to say something and please don’t take it out of context. I don’t think I will go to hell if I walk into a bar. I don’t also don’t want to sit in the bar with my family and eat dinner (too loud, too many TVs and too much bawdy behavior for my babies). Having said all of that, there are some bars that I have no desire to step into and that’s because they used to be my place of worship…that’s right, I would go every Thursday, Saturday and sometimes Wednesdays or Sundays. I was there all the time. I had to stop going because I had made a choice to live my life for Jesus. There are some things that are acceptable for us to do…the very act of walking into a bar isn’t going to cause me to lose faith in Jesus but it may also not be edifying for me. And it’s not who I am.
I’ve given this testimony before, I know my parents were praying for me because I had a distinct moment walking back from the bathroom in a crowded bar…I was buzzing and all of the sudden, I had a moment of sobriety when God said to me, “Look around.” I was surrounded by people who were drunk, making out, being loud and aggressive. It was as if the lights have been turned on. Have you ever been in a bar at 2 a.m. when they turn the lights on? The “cool” decor is suddenly dated, gross and filthy; literally very dirty. There is trash on the floors and drunk people shielding their eyes from the light. It’s not pretty. Not to mention, the people…that “10” becomes a “6” real fast. Then God said, “You weren’t made for this. You don’t belong here. I made you for for more than this.” That’s why I don’t go to bars these days…I’ve been there when the lights came on and it’s not pretty.
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 12:8
That’s the whole thing about freedom. When the light comes, you see things differently. Once you are forgiven, you aren’t who you once were. You must see yourself in the light.
Here’s an extra nugget…once you have asked God to forgive you for something, believe Him. He forgave you. Stop bringing it up to Him over and over. It’s done. Trusting that God has forgiven you is an act of faith. You either believe Him or you don’t. At times, it is easier to believe in God’s forgiveness for others than His forgiveness for us. He hasn’t offered anything to anyone else that He isn’t offering to you.
God Bless You!