Yesterday I received a phone call from someone I was involved with in my past. It’s been nearly three years and this came as quite a shock. I’m not sure how she found my number. The conversation was short and one-sided. My side. I told her that the person she thinks she is calling no longer exists and that she should never call or contact me again. Ever. And I hung up. Later I told my wife all about it. She figured this would happen sooner or later and hugged me and thanked me for telling her. All is well at home.
The most haunting, frightful thought for me surrounding that phone call was this: That could still be me. Three years later this person is still seeking thrills over a phone line, consumed with lust and chained to fleshly desires. It’s a living hell which I know all too well. And but for the grace of God, that could still be me.
Last night my wife and I gave thanks to God for this reminder of where we once were and where we are today. Perhaps I was in need of a reminder of what God has saved me from and the ridiculousness of it all. Because it really is, you know? God made something so wonderful and yet millions of us settle for a cheaper, fake model. We are fixated by pixels on a screen or a voice on a phone line or a stranger in a hotel. AND NONE OF IT IS GOOD ENOUGH. More is always desired and necessary and yet the itch never stops. It’s absolutely ridiculous. Yet at the same time it seems like the most powerful, intoxicating, necessary thing and we can fathom nothing better, in heaven or earth. Such is the pull and delusion of sin.
Indeed, as Augustine said, our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee, O God.
I was shaken by the thought that that could still be me. Three years later I could still be a slave to my desires and passions, ruled by my flesh, no doubt divorced, alone, estranged from my kids and family, wanting nothing more than a cold pizza for breakfast and an internet connection. That could still be me.
But thanks be to God, who in Christ Jesus broke the chains of the devil in my life and set my heart and mind free! It is a wonderful thing to be able to say, “The man you seek no longer exists.” God has made good on his promise to make a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17)! The old has passed away, behold, the new has come !
If you are where I was three years ago, and where she is still today, think about where your life will be three years from now if you continue on the path you are on. All your best thinking has brought you to this point, and you have to admit it’s ridiculous and a mess. Will you accept the offer of life that Jesus extends to you even now? He loves you madly, and has gone to great lengths to prove this to you! The fact that you are reading this now is a sign of His mercy on your life. He is trying to break through the delusion of your sin and bring you to a place where you can, as though for the first time in your life, hear His words – pure words – afresh and new. Matthew 4: 16 says,
For those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.
You have been there long enough, haven’t you? Do you wish to be there still in three years? It only gets darker and more hellish, my friend.
This morning during morning prayer time my wife and I prayed for that woman who called. We prayed that God would flood her with need-filling mercy, that He would save her soul, that He would open her heart to receive the good news that Jesus more than satisfies and can do far more than we can even ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20). It’s the same prayer we pray for you, dear reader, every day. In three years time may you, too, be able to say, that could still be me, but thanks be to God, it is no longer I!