BY NATURE---BY NURTURE---BY CHOICE?? MY STORY OF ULTIMATE DELIVERANCE
BY NATURE, BY NURTURE, BY CHOICE?---There has been an ongoing debate in regards to whether or not people are born with a perpensity to do certain forms of behavior. One example being the argument that being LGBT is a matter of birth rather than a matter of choice. Or the argument that has been made in certain criminal cases, that the accused, murderer, rapist, etc, was born with certain genes that caused them to commit their crime. In recent years the argument has grown louder, in regards to the, "it's in my genes" theory.
A notable example is the matter of the LGBT lifestyle: There are some who say that as long as they can remember, they have always had an attractions, toward those of their own gender, thus they say that they were born gay. Others say that as long as they can remember they have always been attracted to both sexes, (bisexual). There are men who say that from their childhood on to adulthood they have always felt a need and a desire to wear female garments. Thus they argue that they were born gay.
The nature versus nurture debate is one of the oldest philosophical issues within psychology. So what exactly is it all about?
Nature refers to all of the genes and hereditary factors that influence who we are – from our physical appearance to our personality characteristics. Nature is what we think of as pre-wiring and is influenced by genetic inheritance and other biological factors.
Nurture refers to all the environmental variables that impact who we are, including our early childhood experiences, how we were raised, our social relationships, and our surrounding culture. Nurture is generally taken as the influence of external factors after conception e.g. the product of exposure, experience and learning on an individual.
Even today, different branches of psychology often take a one versus the other approach. For example, biological psychology tends to stress the importance of genetics and biological influences. Behaviorism, on the other hand, focuses on the impact that the environment has on behavior.
The apostle Paul addressed the issue of being born with a tendency to act a certain way. According to Paul, the main question is not who we are, but who do we want to become. Paul reminded the early believers that many of them had a natural tendency and proneness to do certain things. The manner of conduct he was referring to, was that which were contrary to God’s guidelines. Paul then noted that for many of these believers, that a personal encounter with Christ, radically altered their lifestyle pattern of behavior forever. (compare below).
"AND SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU." These words of Paul has infuriated many today: especially those of us, (of whom I was one), who are convinced that they are who they are and what thy are by birth, and can never change: In fact many today take offense at the suggestion that they even need to change, much less be delivered. The question at hand is, how is it that some people never change, while others are radically transformed by Christ?? THIS IS MY STORY OF A RADICAL TRANSFORMATION.
BY BIRTH, BY NURTURE OR BY CHOICE??? This no doubt is an issue that many have struggled to come to terms with. This is not merely a gay issue, but a issue which affects us all, including both gays and none gays. How much of how we are and who we are is based on our genes, how much is based on nurture and how much is based on the choices we make in life. The question of nature, nurture, and choice was a issue that I struggled to come to terms with in the early 70s. The reason being, I seemed to have a natural proneness to continually pursue and act out a very destructive lifestyle.
I found myself struggling to walk away from a lifestyle of drug abuse, criminal activity, and sexual promiscuity on a grand scale. What greatly perplexed me was why did living this type of lifestyle seem to me to be just as natural as breathing. As Time progressed it seemed like my life was a vicious merry go round, with no way off. To me the lifestyle I lived was a life sentence, that I was destined to live until the day I died. THERE ARE MANY TODAY FROM EVERY WALK OF LIFE WHO STRUGGLE WITH THIS ISSUE, AM I THE WAY I AM BY NURTURE , BY BIRTH, OR BY CHOICE??
I was reared in a loving environment, my mother was one of the best Christ like examples a child could have. As a child I grew up in a home where I was well provided for by my mom and dad, I was not abused or mistreated, I was surrounded by family members who for the most part set positive example, in regards to how to live a meaningful and productive life. Yet I found myself constantly prone to do just the opposite, from the positive ways in which I was raised.
I assumed that since I could not seem to ever have a lasting change in my manner of living, that I was the way I was by birth rather than by nurture or by choice. As time progressed I found myself in and out of jail, I had needle track marks running down my arm from shooting heroin, I was sexually active with a wide variety of sexual partners, at times I was a one person crime wave.etc. What troubled me the most was the fact that I simply could not seem to break away from this destructive lifestyle. I noted in my mind that none of my other siblings had these issues as we reached young adulthood. In time I concluded that I was simply the odd ball who was born bad.
HOW COULD ONE WITH SUCH GOOD NUTURING TURN OUT SO BAD?? Unlike some who could claim that a bad home environment contributed to their negative behavior, I did not have this excuse. There is no denying the fact that this was one of the main reasons why I was conflicted by the lifestyle I was living. By virtue of the very nurturing I experienced I knew better, than what I was living. In fact there were three things I took note of in regards to mother early on in life. She Always kept herself neat and clean, She always kept her children neat and clean, And she always kept her home neat and clean. (even if it was shotgun house).
This was all a part of the mindset of dignity and self worth Mother sought to instill in us as children. In spite of Jim Crow, and all the indignities which came with it. There were certain agendas that she had, that we were yet to fully realize. Mother was determined that we know certain things, and neither poverty, segregation, or even the devil himself was going to hinder her children from fully grasping these things. First of all she was determined that we would get to know God. Secondly she was determined that we would know the difference between right and wrong. Thirdly she was determined that we would know how to love and respect everybody regardless of the color of their skin.
MY DAD, MY HERO-- Looking back at the time in which we lived I even more grateful to my dad now than I was back then. He sought to instill in me a right understanding of what it was to be a man. I admired his work ethic and willingness to provide for his family. There were time when I would get to go work with him on one of part time evening Jobs. I always enjoyed those times, because I got to spend time with my dad.
MOVING ON UP-- By the late 60s we had moved out of the shotgun house. We moved to lyon street, the house we moved in actually had more than three rooms. Things were beginning to look up. We joined Bethlehem Baptist Church which was conveniently located right next door to where we had moved. However, merely joining a church was not sufficient for mother. I can remember the many times when mother would have us all sit at the table, as she read scriptures to us out an old Gideon Bible.
She would tell us of the blessedness of heaven, while warning us about the horrors of hell . I did not realize at the time, the impact her words would have on me later on in life. My experience at Bethlehem Baptist was a very positive experience. This church had a lot to offer, young people by way of programs and activities. Mother had us fully involved in all the positive activities the church offered. They really took their youth involvement programs seriously. There was the cub scouts and boy scout programs, junior choir, and BTU.
It was at Bethlehem Baptist church that I had my first encounter with the most commonly presented form of salvation. This encounter occurred back1962, at the time I was twelve years. On the last day of church’s annual vacation Bible school, they asked that all young people come up for a special prayer. I along with many of my friends came forward. We were then led in what is commonly known as “the sinners prayer.” After the ministers and deacons prayed with us, they then told us that we were now saved. Everyone at church seemed to be genuinely happy with this arrangement, My family, my minister, and the other church officials. Since I figured my pastor and the other church officials were the experts when it came to salvation, I simply took their word for it, when they said I was saved.
After graduating from High School I got out on my own and in the process, much of what mother sought to instill in me became a distant foggy memory. So did the version of salvation I was told I had obtained when I was twelve, at my church.. It’s not that I did not take mother seriously, in regards to what she said to me concerning God. From a small child up the only life I saw mother live before my siblings and I was a very godly life. Therefore I knew that when she spoke to me about God and what she used to call “judgment day” she did so with all sincerity. As I reached young adulthood there were so may other things that pulled at me, things that seemed to be much more appealing, than the God my mother had told me about.
The events I was witnessing in the late 60s, Was truly a shock to the system for those of us who had lived through the 50s. The advent of the 60s and the radical explosion of knowledge, which accelerated in pace in the 70s, made the events and happenings of the 50s times seem like the stone ages. This is perhaps why I struggled with accepting much of what Mother sought to instill in me in regards to the reality of God and my need for him. I felt that the God of the 50s was out of touch modern day sophisticated and highly educated society. It was not that I could not relate to the sense of fairness and respect toward others aspect, but it was the notion of needing God to the point of allowing him to be in control and dictate, that I could not come to terms with. I felt that in order to accept God on these terms called for one to become, gullible and naïve.
I was living a hard and dangerous life, and I seemingly could not stop. On a trip to New York, to obtain drugs everything came to a stretching halt, when I was pulled over and arrested. There I was locked up in Fayetteville N.C. and I was not even sure why. The next morning in the jail we could hear a radio playing, which was turned up to full volume. As the local morning news came on, The newscaster announced that the local police had made a major break in solving the case of a string of robberies which had been taking place in the Fayetteville N.C. area. He said that they had arrested several robbery suspects. As they began to read off the names to my utter amazement, he called my name.
I found this unreal, how could they arrest us for something we did not do. Early that morning they put us in a lineup, which after being viewed by the victims of the robbery, they said we were not the ones. They then released the other two fellows, but informed me that they had found drug paraphernalia in the car, and since it was my car, they were charging me, with possession of drug paraphernalia. So there I was locked up, no money, away from home, my car was impounded.
As I sat there in that jail cell trying to figure out what would be my next move. I noticed an old Gideon Bible in the cell, the reason it caught my attention, was because it resembled the Bible mother used to read to us from, when we lived on Lyon street. It was at that moment that I decided to do something I had never done in my life, I decided that I would open it and begin to read. Day after day I read it, I found the things I read in it truly incredible, it was as if it was speaking directly to me.
I had never realized, just how personal this book could be. It was as if, what I wanted to say, and the fears and concerns I was now experiencing, were already written down on my behalf, and was being reflectively spoken back to me. At times it seemed as if I was not merely reading, but more than this, this book was speaking to me. This was especially true when it came to the book of Psalm. I never realized just how personal this book was, perhaps I never realized it before because I had never taken time to seriously read it.
I’m sure that some of you will with much sarcastically say that I was suffering from a case of jail house religion. But this was more than that, this was a jail house revelation. I had never before in my life, even half heartily taken the Bible or God serous. Nor had I prior to this time even considered the possibility that prayer, bible reading, and seriously focusing on God, offered anything more than a hard pew to sit on, and a set of rigid rules to adhere to.
In that cell I found myself locked up with and coming face to face with the one person I left Columbia trying to get away from, myself. I found myself having to deal with the thoughts that I now found myself locked up with. As I said earlier when I was twelve years old I was told that I was saved. In spite of being told this I was not satisfied. I always felt that there had to more to it than that. As I sat in that jail cell praying and reading the Bible I began to realize that maybe, (just maybe) there really was more to God than what I had been offered at the age of twelve.
The more I read and seriously pondered life, the more certain questions came to the forefront: Questions such as “where did I come from? Why am I here? What happens to me when I die?” Etc. In retrospect I realize, that a higher power was at work, than I realized at that time. Even though there are many things in life which affects the way we think, if we really want to know the truth, it will find us. It was during the Fayetteville incident, that I also realized another troubling reality. Our ability to think, deduce, reasons, choose, and understand the consequences of our choices, comes with a great responsibility, it’s called accountability.
After about a week of being locked up, I remember doing something which to that point I don’t ever remember seriously doing, I Diego the whip, (my street name), actually prayed. It was awkward, but intense. I asked God to please help me to get out of this place, and help me to go home. As I awkwardly prayed I sensed an warm assurance coming over me, that God was listening. Not only this but without fully understanding how, I was given and inward assurance that I would be going home the next day. The assurance was so strong that the next morning I got up and began to get dressed, as if I was about to be released.
To understand the statement I was making to my cell mates by getting dressed, it should be kept in mind that back in the 70s, when they locked you up, there were no orange jump suits. Nor were there any changes of clothes issued to us. To help preserve whatever we had on from dirt and body odor, it was customary to take off ones clothes and sit around in the cell in our tee shirt and underwear.
As my cell mates watched me getting dressed I am sure that they were perplexed, there had not been any names called for release that morning yet here I was getting dressed. They no doubt figured I had cracked, especially after I announced to the entire cell block that God told me that I was going home that day. Just as I zipped up the last zipper on my boots, there was a clinking of the keys, as the jailer came to our cell and loudly called out “Williams all the way.” As the cell door was opening up, I glanced back over the faces of my astounded cell mates. The last thing I told them, was fellows you’ll need to pray.
The main thing I took away from this Fayetteville experience was knowledge gained. I now knew that there was much more to God, the Bible, and prayer, than I ever had imagined. The knowledge I gained in Fayetteville N.C. was not based on a particular religious denomination’s doctrine. Nor was it based on the indoctrinated teachings of a particular theological seminary. I was simply just a man who was for the first time in his life, in the time of trouble, given God a serious look. This in turn allowed me to come to the realization , that God will help those who are willing to honestly, earnestly, and humbly pray and seek him. In Fayetteville I came to the realization, that the more I honestly and humbly wanted to grasp the answers to the questions which had been troubling me, the more I found the answers in that Bible.
I found myself now trying strike the proper balance between incorporating the knowledge I gained from the Fayetteville incident, with my thug and drug lifestyle. Prior to Fayetteville My view of the thug world, the gay world and the drug world (and whatever world you may choose), was, to each his own. But now I knew without a shadow of doubt that there were moral guidelines that I and my friends were subject to.
One would think that after my experience in Fayetteville and the things I read in the Bible that I would steered clear of the drugs, the clubs, the illicit sexual activity. While I did not forget the lessons I learned about God, the Bible , and prayer, The knowledge of the reality of God’s mercy toward me, and the knowledge gained in Fayetteville, was not sufficient enough to completely deter me from returning to my old ways. In spite of now being acutely aware of the fact that there actually was a coming day of judgment, I still struggled to let go.
I sought to work out some kind of deal between myself and God. Therefore I promised myself that after I got the things I felt would make me happy, I would then make more serious time for God. In spite of my best efforts to fall back into my old lifestyle pattern of drugs, sex and criminal activity. I found myself right back in the same place. But this time things were different, I no longer wanted to be in that place.
I soon found myself stuck on a vicious merry go round, although there was nothing merry about it. I would vigorously pursue and obtain the carnal things I desired, but I still felt empty on the inside. Try as I might, neither the drugs, the sex, nor the worldly possessions could satisfy me for long. I then decided that what I needed was a stronger dose of religious activities, (me version of salvation). Therefore I dramatically curtailed, my drug use, my sexual misconduct, profanity, I even my curtailed my cigarette smoking. I went back and forth. I would the start the cycle at Point #1.
This is the point where I would invite Christ into my life and pray. This always made me feel better for a while. I would then proceed to Point #2 in this cycle, This was when I would convince myself that where I had just came from, the drug, sexual and thug activity was not all that bad. Point #3 in this cycle was when I promised myself that this time things would not get out of control. Point #4 in this cycle was the active pursuit of the things I craved for. Point #5 was when the sense that things were getting a little out of hand. This would lead to point 6 and 7 this is when feelings of bondage and depression would kick in. Which then would lead to me crying out to God for help and deliverance. Amazingly GOD intervened on my behalf and would help me to began to walk away. This would then bring me back to point #1, where I would re-invite Christ in my life, which in turn would cause to begin the cycle all over again as I once again found myself going back to point #2.
By the mid 70s this was the vicious repetitive cycle I found myself stuck in. But not only was I stuck in this vicious cycle, so were the rest of my friends and associates. In the 70s I had several groups of friends, there were my drug friends, my thug associates and my gay friends. In interacting with them I realized that some of them was encountering the same struggle as I was.
They had, had an encounter with God, knew he was calling out to them..yet they found themselves stuck in this same vicious cycle. As a result many of us felt we were simply born the way we were, and had little chance of any real and lasting change. I asked myself how could I be the way I was, after having been raised in such a loving and positive environment ??
At times I felt that I was the way I was by birth, at other times I felt that I was the way I was by choice. As I sought to come to terms with the issue of was I the way I was by birth or by choice. As time passed I began to develop certain hostile attitude and mind sets, which I also detected developing in my friends and associates. Perhaps we develop these various attitudes, as a wall of defense, or perhaps it is a white flag of surrender, when it comes to trying to do better and be better, or perhaps it’s an act of frustration, or perhaps it’s an act of defiance. (COMPARE BELOW)
Even though I was allowing these attitudes to develop in me, I could not get the Fayetville event out of my mind. I may have had these attitudes in my mind, but in my heart of hearts, I knew that it was not really a matter of birth, but a matter of chioce. What I was really struggling with was not how I was at birth, but who do I now wanty to be. Even through we may have conflicting desires raging in us, the issue that we must resolve once and for all is what do we really want.
There is no denying the fact that whatever we most desire in life and choose to seek for most, will impact our lives. This holds true not only in this world, but in the world to come also. There are many things in this world that we can set our desires on. In essence, we are our desires, and our desires are us. Christ tells us that the value system we function in is closely linked to what we most desire. What we most desire becomes what we most treasure. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Lk 6:34. I was at the point in my life where I had to choose what I most wanted in this life.
May 21st 1974 , THE DAY EVERYTHING CHANGED. This inner struggle with coming to terms with what I really wanted and desired most, came to a head on May 21st 1974. By this time I had grown so accustomed to constantly being unable to obtain a lasting change that I concluded that there was no hope. Perhaps it was the things I inwardly sought to satisfy that caused me to continue down this path. Inwardly I had a thirst that I could not seem to quench, A tiredness that I could never give rest, And I had a emptiness that I could seem to fill. I would constantly renew my commitment to God and do the accept Christ as my personal savior routine.
May 21st 1974 started like any other day, I got up and got dressed for work Having recently put my car in the shop I had to ride the bus to work that morning. This being one of what I called my religious days, I picked up my small New Testament Bible and stuck it in my pocket. On the way out the door. This was one of what I call my good days spiritually. Having recently made another resolution to allow Christ to be Lord of my life, I was ready to face the world. Even though I was still struggling with my on again off again salvation, I none the less sought to share my faith with others. As I boarded the bus I saw some friends I had not seen for a while sitting in the back. I greeted them and sat with them and began to talk with them.
I began to share my faith with them, telling them that they needed Christ in their lives. I even pulled out my Bible and shared Matt 11:28 with them, where God promised rest to all who come to him. Amazingly they actually listened and showed interest in what I was sharing with them. Once at my destination I told them good bye and exited the bus. I really felt good about the fact that I had ministered to them and they had actually listened. Not that I had not witnessed to others, I would frequently witness to others. The problem was when friends would come over there were days when I would witness to them and there were other days that I would get high with them. But on that Tuesday morning I felt I was having a good saved day, and perhaps those back and forth days were now over.
That evening I went straight home after work and settled in for the night. But around about 11:00 pm I felt the old urges coming back on me, I knew I wanted to get high. This was how the vicious circle always would begin. The only problem was since this was one of my saved days I did not have any drugs in the house. I got dressed and walked out of my apartment. In the area I lived in at that time I knew that it would not be hard to find drugs of some sort some where near. As soon as I got up at the top of the hill barely a block from my apartment,
I saw a group of fellows standing in a circle, I cautiously approached them. Once the street light reflected on their faces I recognized them as being the same fellows I had witnessed to earlier that day on the bus. As I greeted them it was obvious to me by the looks on their faces that they were not to awfully glad to see me.
The reason why soon became apparent, they were standing there in a circle passing a joint of weed around among them, I guess they were thinking “oh no not this dude.” As I said I had left out looking for a quick high, and though heroin was my drug of Choice, the weed would have to do for now. I could tell that these guys were a little uncomfortable smoking weed in front of me. After had I not just talked to them about their need for Christ and read a Bible verse to them earlier on the bus. As we stood their in a circle talking, they passed the joint of weed around the circle. To the utter shock of the fellows in this circle, when the joint of weed got to me, instead of allowing it to pass by me and go to the next man, I reached for it and took a big hit.
As I took a big hit from the joint I could feel their eyes on me. They did not say a word, nor did they need to, the expressions on their face said it all. I knew exactly what they were thinking, “wait a minuet!! Isn't this the guy who earlier today was telling us about how we needed Christ?” It was at that moment that the reality of my circumstances finally and fully hit me. I bummed a cigarette from one of them, (I did not have any because I supposedly had quite). I then turn and headed back home, as I walked down the sidewalk I began to cry.
I literally cried and prayed all the way back to my apartment. Ironically as I was praying I began to detect a sense of anger in me toward God, and for a moment I began to blame Him. I told Him I could not understand what was wrong with me, why was my efforts at salvation not working out as advertised?? When I was twelve I was led in the sinners prayer and was told that I was then saved. I took my church leaders at their word. Since Fayetteville I had sincerely tried to renew what they say I obtained when I was twelve. I had honestly believed and tried to live the life of a saved individual but it was not working out. I had even began to carry a New Testament Bible around in my pocket and used it to witness to others, (such as the fellows on the bus earlier that day).
So what was wrong, had God lied to me, were the minister wrong??? And what of the vicious circle I constantly found myself in??? Was I this way by birth with no hope of ever changing? With these and similar thoughts racing through my mind, the struggle I was encountering was very intense. Once I got back to my apartment I went in but did not cut any lights on, I simply walked in the living room and literally fell on my knees and continued to pray. I finally gave heed to that soft quiet voice in my mind, that kept telling me there was something still missing in me (perhaps you have heard that same voice??) I had came to the point in my life where I simply had ran out of energy. I was tired of trying to give myself fulfillment, and I was tired of trying to patch up and maintain, my version of salvation. As I lay on the floor crying, I told God I had failed in my efforts. I finally realized If he did not by his grace help me, I would never find real fulfillment, or get to the place I could sense he was trying to bring me to. I finally admitted to him and more importantly to myself that I did not know Him.
While I was praying, it seemed as if the powers of darkness and my thoughts ganged up on me. I could hear my thoughts yelling at me, telling me I was a fool for laying there on the floor crying and praying in that dark room. Then there were forces at work that night which tried to persuade me to give up and just die. A verse that I would later find in the scriptures, speaks of this struggle, For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephe 6:12.
But the more my thoughts fought against me, the more I cried out to God for help. I became so desperate that night, to really know God. that I determined within myself to tell him the truth no matter the cost, (at that moment, I had no more tricks, cons or lies, only the truth). I began to confess to God about how all of my adult life I had sought to use him for my own selfish ends. I admitted to Him that when I had a problem in my life I wanted His involvement. But when the problem was solved or subsided, I did not want much to do with God until the next problem arose.
Again I could hear my mind telling me, “don’t you tell God that, don’t admit it” but in spite of my apprehensions I was determined to tell God the truth. I wanted to tell him about the real inner me that no one else could see. The prayer I prayed that night may not have been fancy, or theologically correct, but I meant every word. I had never prayed to God like this in my Life. Yet after all the crying and praying, NOTHING HAPPENED. I did not understand, I had prayed, I had told him the truth, yet nothing happened.
I don’t know what I had expected, but surely something was supposed to happen. Once again my thoughts kicked in high gear, My mind tried to get me to get angry at God, (for a moment, I actually did). In my anger or perhaps disappointment, I almost got up off the floor, but I realized I had no place else I could go, nor anyone else to turn to but God. to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. Jn 6:68. My inner emptiness and tiredness pushed me to cry out to God even stronger. It was at that moment it seemed that everything in me was crying out to everything in Him. Perhaps nothing had yet happened because I had not been specific enough, in telling God the truth
As I lay on the floor crying, I told God I had failed. I finally realized If he did not by his grace help me, I would never get to the place his voice was inviting me to come to. . The harsh reality had finally settled I finally saw that I had failed to come up to his standards. There were three specific areas where I realized that I had failed to meet God’s requirements, These three specific areas were #1. My conduct, #2. My character and #3. My state of being. I then determined that I would tell God the truth about myself in these areas, (there was now no holding back). I acknowledged that my conduct was not only sinful but exceedingly so.
Rather than trying to separate myself from my conduct by placing the blame elsewhere I acknowledged that the reason why my conduct was so sinful was because of my personal character I acknowledged that at the very essence of who I was, made me a sinner by nature, (rather than by nurture). I then had to come face to face with that which I had sought to run from all my adult life. It was the truth that caused me to avoid certain drugs because doing them caused me to get a glimpse of this painful truth, I was about to admit. I acknowledged my true state of being. Inwardly I was empty, weary and lost and I was ill prepared to face the judgment of God I had read about in the Bible.
I then realized that the me (the real me) that I was telling God the truth about, was the me he knew and loved all along. And that the truths I was telling Him about my conduct, my character, and my state of being, was what he had been trying to show me all along. The images I saw of myself as I admitted the truth about myself to God were not pretty or flattering. It was then that I realized that these were the truths God saw and knew all along. He knew that my conduct was sinful, He knew that by virtue of my true character, I was a sinner, and He knew that my true state of being, was one where I was lost and on my way to eternal damnation. The moment I knew that he already knew, these things, was also the moment I realized just how much he loved me. Wow God had seen behind the mask I had been hiding behind all along. He knew everything there was to know about me. Yet he came and died on the cross for the ugliest part of me, which was in essence the real me.
Though I was on the floor of my living room, I felt as if I was kneeling at the foot of the cross. It was then that I realized, that this very person I had just come to admit I was, was the same person God knew was there all along. This was what that still voice had sought to show me a few years earlier, when I sought to hide from the stark light of its truth. What was happening in me, was truly amazing, my faith was going through a metamorphosis. The same faith I had used in times past, to believe I knew how to best give myself fulfillment, I was now using it a different way. And the same faith I sought to use to convince myself that from the age of twelve on I was somehow saved but not fully aware of it, I now was using in a different way. I finally understood this verse ”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Jn 3:16.
The same faith I had used in times past, to believe I knew how to best give myself fulfillment, I now used to believe that if I believed on Christ he would fulfill and complete me. And this same faith which I had in times past sought to use to convince myself that I was saved, I now used to believe, that if I believed on Christ he would save me. (did you get that?). I began to tell God that I BELIEVED. While I was yet expressing my faith and gratitude to God, something wonderful happened, I actually experienced the presence of God acknowledging my faith, and filling my very being (The real inner me) with his spirit..
It was at this moment that that same small still voice, which had been telling that something was missing, now bare witness to me inwardly, that I had just met Christ and he had saved me. WOW!!! This was different than what had happened to me at church, when I was twelve. Back then they told me I was saved, this time Christ Himself confirmed to me that I was a born again child of God. This was a day in my life I will never forget, May 21st 1974, 11:30 pm. THAT WAS THE DAY I WAS BORN AGAIN
It was at this moment that a scripture I had read in the Bible made sense and became a reality in my life. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2nd Cor 5;17. I had never before realized just how powerful God is, when it comes to delivering a person from their old lifestyle.
The change in me was dramatic and instant, I remember waking up the next morning and though I had smoked cigarettes for years I did not even have a nicotine fit. After all those years of smoking it was if I had never smoked a cigarette I my life. The drug craving which the day before had so dominated my life also was gone.
I knew that this had nothing to do with will power or making a new resolution. This was the powerful deliverance Christ had spoken of while on earth. And he had gone to Calvary to insure that those who truly wanted this real deliverance could obtain it. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. Jn 8;36.
May 21st 1974 11:30 pm, That was the day I obtained what Christ called the new birth After the encounter I had with Christ.
Wait a minute!! (You may be thinking) “ I could never pray like that.” Oh yes you can and if you want to know Christ as desperately as I did that night you will pray just like this. Some would say, “but I am just not an emotional person. Even though emotions are involved. Coming to God is much more than emotions. It is the attitude we come before God which is most important. We must have an attitude of truthfulness, humility, gratitude and true repentance. Perhaps you were not expecting such a personal admonition to come to Christ, in this book, but perhaps this is just what you need. Perhaps you have been stuck in that vicious circle I was in, and need to know that there is really is a way out.
Perhaps God allowed me to go through what I went through, and put it in a book, to let you know that there is hope and help for you.. Salvation by way of the new birth is real, but in order to truly obtain real salvation, you have got to pursue after it with everything in you. God has a promise on your life, but this promise can’t be fulfilled unless you want it to be fulfilled more than anything else in this world. And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart. Jer 29:13. If you want to desperately know him as bad as I did that night you will find yourself reaching out to God with all that is in you. Coming to God in such a intense level of truth may be scary, because it calls for true Intimacy. It’s scary because it means being open, honest and vulnerable, (Just as Christ had to do, when he laid aside all his power and might, and hung on that cross for you and I).
God tells us that in order to enter a relationship with Him, everything in us, must cry out to everything that's in Him. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. Jer 29:12-13. Coming to God in such a intense level of truth may be scary, because it calls for true Intimacy. It's scary because it means being open, honest and vulnerable, (Just as he had to do, when he laid aside all his power and might, and hung on that cross for you and I).
Inwardly we all crave acceptance and fear being exposed. Our inner fear is "if you see me and know me as I really am on the inside, you may not like me. Worse still, if I know me as I really am on the inside, I may not like me either!" Yet it is only to the degree that you are open and honest, that you can ever be known for who you truly are. Furthermore, it's only to the degree to which you are known that you can ever feel truly loved. If you wear a mask, others may like the mask. But you will never feel loved because your mask is not you.
God is all knowing and he loves the person behind your mask. It's to YOU that he says, "I LOVE YOU" and I want a real relationship with you. Perhaps this is what has been missing in your life, a relationship with the God who sees behind your mask. I came to realize that God wanted a relationship with the person behind my mask. And just importantly, I came to realize that the person behind my mask wanted a relationship with Him.
In my encounters with my DRUG, THUG AND GAY I shared my testimony, about God love and power to deliver.
Some rejoiced with me and for me, others did not take me seriously. And still others took offense, they bluntly stated that they did not want any part of God and what he offered. Some of my close gay friends came to Christ got saved and went into ministry. Some became pastors and are in ministry till this day.
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WHEN GOD GIVES UP--PART #1