I should have known that God had me reading The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert for a reason.
Lately, I was noticing a trend on my Facebook news feed. Verses praising Jesus’ healing work of salvation, the harsh reality of a changing lifestyle, the reminder to himself (and to his Facebook friends) of Christ’s sacrifice, of His forgiveness, and of His love greater than all our sins!
This man was openly homosexual, I remembered. And after a couple days of seeing these posts, I paused. Curious, and perhaps afraid of rejoicing too soon, I told him how encouraged I was daily by his posts, and, “Are you doing ok?” I assured him that whenever he wanted, I would listen.
A few seconds later, I get an IM. He starts out with “God is good all the time.” Unsure of how else to respond, I go with the most genuine: “Yes He is!”
He goes on to explain to me that he is leaving the homosexual lifestyle. “But not in spite of Jesus, because of Him.”
I couldn’t say anything for a few seconds. This man, who, like all of us before Christ, was entrenched in his sin, and in the midst of it, God saved him!
I finally was able to answer, and thus engaged in a joyous conversation between two Christians.
God… oh, His timing is impeccable.
If I had not read Rosaria’s book, the secret thoughts behind her conversion from feminist, environmentally radical lesbian to Christian housewife with four adopted children — had I not poured over her mental, emotional, spiritual turmoil during this time — I do not think I would have been as sensitive to my friend’s battle.
Praise God for saving him! Praise God for saving me! Praise God for saving Rosaria Butterfield! Praise God for preparing me for this conversation!
And now, fellow Christians, whose lips sing the same praises, join me in praying for this man. He is fighting a hard, sweaty, bloody battle. Yes, he has been won by Christ. But that does not shake the devil’s homing device on his soul. Pray that our brother in Christ will don himself in the armor of God when facing inevitable temptations! I am encouraged, by praying for him, to pray that I, too, will better use my armor when I really want to get angry, or when I feel my sinful pride welling up.
A passage that instantly came to mind while talking to my friend:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
And one more passage — emphasizing that we win this battle only by grace, not by our own good deeds.
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the bodyand the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”