There are many days that I often look back at the man I used to be. The one thing that I love about this blog is that Lance puts it all out there. That is, he is not afraid to tell you where he has been very honest about the mistakes he has made, and he also puts it out there for the rest of us to see- that is called true accountability. He also leaves a road map for us to follow and that is Scripturally based and calls for us to repent and to be brutally honest with our lives. In my life, there are a lot of things that I have done that I am not proud of and there have been things in my life that I cannot say anything else but, "Thank you God for always being faithful, even when I am not." The hardest part about looking back in my life is to try and compare the man that I was and the man that I am trying to be and if I am brutally honest, realizing just how close I am to falling back to the old self. Let me be perfectly honest with all of you here. When I first met my wife, I was anything but pure. I had defiled my temple with all kinds of sinful nature stuff. Lust and pride where huge issues in my life as a twenty something bachelor and I did not think twice about the ramifications of my choices. However, sin has consequences and sin can destroy a lot of things in our life. Sure, at the time, it seems like a great idea, but how can we justify sin to a Holy God? We cannot! I cannot expect the Holy Spirit to grow me to the man that God wants me to be if I have unrepentant sin in my life. So when I met my wife, she was pure and she was honest and she was innocent. She (and help from my mom who had a massive heart attack - asked me to start reading my bible) started to get me to attend her Sunday Morning Class and help teach 2 and 3 year olds a Bible Study - ugh! Now that was a rude awakening to what parenting would look like.
The thing about the consequences of my sins were that they continued to haunt me in the first few years of my marriage, that is, I used to be able to justify normal behavior as just the daily jaunts of life. That was a lie and that was revealed to me in Scripture. I was grieving the Holy Spirit in my life by not repenting of sin and allowing myself to try and serve two masters - meaning there was no fruit in my life. However, I didn't like that man and I didn't like the type of legacy that I was paving for my children. My wife and I talked and we/I was brutally honest about my struggles and my sins and she said so do something about it and we grew a lot closer. The more that I prayed and the more that I read Scripture the more convicted I felt and the more Scripture revealed in me the things that I needed to let go of. And then, suddenly, the things of this world grew dimmer and the things of our heavenly Father's will grew more apparent - less of me and more of Him in every aspect of my life.
Another aspect of my marriage was that my wife and I were asked to take a leadership course in our church called Living Fire. The course was a three years in all. The first year was to ask of you two major questions: 1) Who is God (in our lives) and 2) Who am I (and where did my past story take me to this point in my life). I have to be honest and say that as a graduate from college in Finance and having my Master's degree in Accounting and Economics, I did not think that this was going to be such a big deal (was I wrong). Between this course and my daily prayers and bible reading I slowly started becoming the man that I want to be striving for daily to be: To be a righteous man, to be a really good husband and father and to love God will all my heart, soul, strength and mind. In the past 3 years my marriage has really grown and the friendship and love with my wife is simply unbelievable. My hope and my prayer is that I can model this faith, daily walk and husbandry and parenting to our three lovely kids.
There are three themes we need to get a masters degree in: I. Biblical Purity II. Biblical Stewardship and III. Discipleship. If you are married, you need to get a doctorate degree in your wives. Just imagine if we spent half the time on our wives (studying them, trying to perfect them and nurturing them) as we do our sports, hobbies and other interests - Wow! That would really be something. So where do we begin:
1) Read Colossians 3, 2) Read Romans 12, 3) Repent and 4) Move to action - get involved in a men's bible study, a mini-church, an accountability group. Repent of your sin (Jesus said that you cannot serve two masters). Be honest with your life, that is, give up your pride. Take simple steps: Read your bible daily, meditate on what you read, pray on that Scripture that convicts you to move you to change.
When you find yourself moving into these simple four steps, trust me, for an instant just look back on your life (for a gander) and realize that you, too, will no longer be the man you used to be. You will be a man that God wants to use, grow, disciple and mentor others. That, my friend, will be a beautiful day for your church leadership - as you will be a man that can be called to action.
Live each day in order to be the kind of man that when you wake up, the devil will say, "Oh Crap, he is up again..."