At twelve I was reading Rosemary’s Baby and by thirteen listening to AC/DC with gusto. When I graduated high school I had devoured all the religion shelves at the library–including books on cults and witchcraft.
Freddy Kruger and I met in junior high around the same time the Halloween series become a yearly rite of movie passage.
There were no boundaries as to what I read, viewed, or listened to. If it interested me, I partook.
I was a believer. A scared-out-of-my-mind believer half the time. The other half was spent wondering why my life lacked the clarity to make decisions with confidence. The Bible was clear-as-mud to me and despite praying daily, I was not growing in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18).
James 1:8 described me well: “A person who has doubts is thinking about two different things at the same time and can’t make up his mind about anything.”
I was straddling the fence of faith, both feet planted firm as concrete on either side.
There was an obvious disconnect between the Bible and life, something was not adding up. I struggled with fear. Language fit for sailors popped into my mind at inappropriate times, even though I did not speak in this manner. Graphic movie scenes paraded across my mind without restraint. My heart shook and swayed under the conviction of falsehood. Outside I looked like a perfect Christ follower. Inside I was a seething mess of indulgences resulting in daily torment.
When I was watching a remake of an old movie, it ended with a blasphemous mockery of Christ. Previously ignored conviction reached critical mass. The fear of God filled me. Understanding came, my eyes opened, and I realized my sin.
God was an integral part of my life, but not my life.
At 1 AM after tossing and turning, I got up, dressed, and returned the movie instead of brushing away the Holy Spirit’s conviction like in times past. For the first time I realized how little respect, love, and reverence I gave to God, all while calling myself His daughter.
Just like the children of Israel, I wanted things according to my desires. God mercifully allowed me to understand I was a servant to a world in great need of learning His ways.
“However, they will become servants so that they may recognize the difference between serving Me and serving the kingdoms of other lands” (2 Chronicles 12:8).
Like King Rehoboam I “did what was evil, because he [Rehoboam] did not determine in his heart to seek the Lord“ (2 Chronicles 12:14).
Instead, I believed the lie that what I allowed into my body, soul, and spirit were of no concern of God’s, He didn’t care nor mind.
“For the eyes of the LORD roam throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
Completely His, that’s what He always desired of my heart. Finally, I understood.
This isn’t about legalism or censorship regarding entertainment choices. The message of grace has become distorted and the fruit of self-control forgotten–at least that’s how it was in my life. Salvation brings change. If there is no heart change, there is a problem.
Healing did not happen overnight. It has been a long, challenging road filled with temptations and opportunities to trade away peace of mind, self-control, and my love for God. Yes, I was a believer back then, a deceived, weak, carnal, fleshly, lukewarm believer. Like the people and kings of ancient Israel, I proudly built high places in my mind and determined in my heart to do as I wanted.
This is my story of sin’s ugly hold on my heart and mind. If you are in a similar situation, know dear one, there is deliverance through Christ alone. True, lasting, complete, and total freedom. It all can start today with asking His forgiveness.
“Lord, forgive me for allowing the crud of life to build up around my heart and in my mind. I give my heart completely to You, be the Lord of my life in spirit and truth. Purify my heart and mind from the trash of this world. Deliver me, give me strength and self-control to tear down the high places in my mind once and for all by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus, amen.”
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Kellie Renfroe founded Mentoring Moments in 2005 with two friends as a way to introduce women to the benefits of godly mentoring. Happily married for 23 years to Greg Renfroe, they have one daughter (14 years old) and three sons (19, 11, and 8 years old). Visit her new blog, Citizen Mama, follow on Facebook where she shares free Kindle books daily, and Twitter @kellierenfroe.
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