I wanted to share a conversation that I had with a man who experienced REVIVAL. But the story may shock you. Revival came to his church a few years ago. Before the Revival, this man had been living in deep sin, and he was refusing to deal with it. But when Revival broke out, God convicted him mightily and forced him to confess his sins and repent of them.
The outcome was both GOOD and BAD, depending on how you look at it. According to the flesh, the outcome was bad. He went to prison. He is still in prison. His family doesn't talk to him anymore. According to the Spirit, the outcome was AMAZING. He repented of his sins. He is doing better spiritually than he ever did when he was outside of prison. He serves the Lord, has an impact on other prisoners, and faithfully walks with God.
Now, I would like to share a conversation that I recently had with him. Here is the question that I asked him, and the answer that he gave me. My prayer is that many people will be touched by this testimony:
If you had to go back in time, knowing that you would end up in prison, would you confess your sins?
One thing that I must speak about first is God continues to be at work in each of us. We aren't perfect once we commit to the Lord. We are called to grow, to follow, to be disciples and be holy. Our life, habits, and human nature don't normally change on their own. Change takes a disciplined walk with God over time. An example most believers can understand in history is John Newton. He is cherished as a man of God who was wonderfully transformed, who brought us that most beloved hymn, "Amazing Grace". He was a lecherous blasphemous man according to his own testimony. He likely was a serial rapist as was a 'norm' aboard slaving ships he choose to be involved with. Most did not know he continued at least once more in the barbarous actions/ trade AFTER he got saved, (repented and turned to God.) it didn't go on long but we are left with a quote from him. 'When i look back at my life when I first believed, I can scarcely recognize my life my walk as Christian.' I spoke with a man today who is a strong godly believer here. He spoke of when he first turned his life over to the Lord God here in prison, He was still a practitioner of witchcraft! Perhaps some there have kept ahold of mind traps, habitats, or besetting sins that seemingly are unshakable. I was there. I was so there! It was awful horrid. I felt in a way trapped.
God is not thrilled about our foibles or abominable practices.
God does not approve of our sinful behavior. Grace is given as men and women ought to be maturing. having less sin (if not we keep the Lord at bay frustrate the work of the Holy Spirit and distance ourselves from the one ally we must have to properly win those spiritual battles.)
I'm not thrilled to admit it but more than once in my own lecherous blasphemous life the Lord God convicted me and convinced me I must stop sinning - I must confess my sins to my wife, period. -and I dropped the ball! I could say Mild adversities prevented this. DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU. Take action before you risk destruction of all you hold dear. I was afraid. afraid of the consequences broken fellowship with her and the rest of my family. I was afraid of what may happen in every other thing except the one who said he would be with me comfort me uphold me with his righteous right hand.
I failed to act quickly and judgement built up. I was a fool. I didn't know 'a man who covers his sin will not prosper, but a man who confesses and forsakes his sin will find compassion.' Dont play the fool. I knew I wasn't prospering. I sort of knew why. I allowed myself to be blind to sin. I very often confessed asking help asking forgiveness, but never took meaningful steps to make sure the sin would not occur again. To burn the boats.
( I believe the explorer was Balboa. he took his men from the Caribbean over land to the Pacific. in order for his men to not turn back and to fail, he burned the ships that took him to America from Spain. ) I needed to burn my boats. I needed to get sin out of my life. Because I waited/ procrastinated, a social nuclear bomb went off in my life an in the lives of all those who I hold dear. DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES.
Perhaps you have had some success against sin. For me, if I prayed, my battle was won, God helped me to overcome. problem is I didn't always pray... but even one more moral failure is too many when in battle with besetting sin. sinful behavior & doublemindedness is the opposite of that 'living epistle' EACH OF US is called to be. Each time we continue with the wretchedness we lose more of our testimony. WE BECOME A PARTICIPANT IN THE DEMISE OF OUR FAMILIES. WHO WANTS THAT? I am sure that if I had listened to the Lord's prompting the first or maybe even the second time AND obeyed, I would not be in right now. i needed the help of a loved one. a fellow Christian. In my case my wife.
Confess your faults with one another and pray for one another that you may be healed. When we confess our sin, the adversary loses the weapons of fear and (the lie of ) perceived anonymity. We also gain allies in the fight. They will be praying and helping us to overcome.
There is consequences for continued disobedience. True, i confessed my sin and then turned myself in and went to prison. I procrastinated with applying real faith, and it cost me my physical freedom.
If I had to do it over again, even if it cost all it has -including prison - and all of the loss, even though ALL OF THOSE WHO WERE CLOSEST HAVE STILL NOT ALLOWED ME TO HAVE ANY RESTORED RELATIONSHIPS, I still would not go back to being a hypocrite, trapped by my sin. I would not go back to being distant from God, to having my family suffer because of my weakness, to bring further shame to the body of Christ.
Don't get me wrong, it kills me being exiled from those closest to me. Some times it is overwhelming the sadness I have. if all this could be done with less damage to my family I might consider it.
I may have a sense of how God views sin. Sin separates us. We are distanced from God. It keeps us from being in His peace, presence, favor. We, His sheep, are called to hear him and follow Him (John 10) Genesis 3 speaks to how God walked with (us) and after sin we are removed from that closeness with God. I don't want sin's isolation for myself or for my family.
I could have been eternally separated no only from my closest loved ones, but from God and His grace. Who knows, it may be God will save or restore as He sees fit.