I share what’s to follow with the awareness that I may be incriminating myself. No matter. I aim to be as open as I could be about the filth that lingers in my being, if only to testify of God’s everlasting love and enduring faithfulness upon me, in spite of my flaws. I felt I needed to say this before I moved forward.
There was a time in my life that I was confident, even proud of the fact that I could go out with my friends and have a few drinks, only to wake up the next day in bed in proper sleeping garments, slightly buzzed if at all hung-over, with my outfit yesterday neatly kept. I was so proud of this that friends of mine started calling my drunken phase ‘Party Brent’, and we’d drink to activate him. But one thing remained constant, whether I was Party Brent or just regular me: No matter how long I stayed out, I always had to go home. So no matter what state I was in, even if I had to force myself, I’d get behind the wheel and drive.
I didn’t really think anything of it, beyond saying ‘I should really be careful’… that is, until I noticed one too many wrecked cars on the side of the highway, and eventually thought – that could have been me. And if anyone was in the car with me, that could have been all of us.
Yes, I share all this openly, as an apology for anyone and everyone who was affected by my selfish decision to drink and drive, putting the entire city at risk; I share it all, only because I know I’m not doing any of that ever again. If I do have a drink, it’ll probably be just at home… or if I do need to be out, it’s either I drink very moderately, I don’t drink at all, or if I find Party Brent coming up again, I sleep out.
I share this as a demonstration of what I think is the old mindset when it comes to repentance. We feel bad for the sin that we committed and resolve never to do it again… or, if we’re honest with ourselves, we find ways to mitigate any consequences if ever it does happen again.
Now that I think about it, if I’m really honest, I didn’t really have to mention any of that, because it’s only serving as my build-up to my real point here.
See, recently I’ve been experiencing issues with my car signals not lighting up as expected when I use the lever. The lights wouldn’t come up if I want to signal left or right, or even when I press the hazard light button. Or, if I do push the lever up or down, the lights would flash, but only for 3-4 ticks before going off. You could imagine how I would have to push the lever up and down or down and up again and again especially when I need to wait before an opening to make a turn.
So yesterday went to our car electronics guy (who is separate from our car machine guy and our car cosmetics guy, mind you). I reported the problem, and in their usual no-BS manner they told me to step out of the car, so they could have a look. At first they took a look at the jumpers, but decided to go deeper. I was so fascinated at how the car’s guts looked as they systematically and efficiently undid a whole lot of screws, pulling the steering wheel out to reveal and analyze the one module which held the light and wiper controls at the same time.
They saw that the levers still weren’t the issue – I only realized this when I forgot to tell them that even the hazard light button was affected – so they decided to go just a little deeper, until they got to another component whose name escapes me. That one component was apparently in charge of controlling the lights, whether I activated them via the signal lever or the hazard button.
And here’s the thing. We found it funny that the component which was already installed and deemed faulty was not for my car – It was for a Kia Pride. Here I was thinking that this was the first time this component was to be replaced. The repair guy and I laughed. We knew it was just going to be a matter of time until I had problems… and I suppose it was just right that this sort of problem came up and was addressed before I did any serious long driving.
So I paid for a legitimate replacement component, I paid for the labor, and now I’m pretty happy – my lights haven’t failed me since.
I mean, I experienced real-time inconvenience in having to reactivate my lights at critical driving moments, if only for a while… and during these times my entire driving experience was affected. I don’t mean to blow things out of proportion here, but I just mean to emphasize that even the smallest deviation affects the car, the driver, any passengers, and any other similar entities involved.
And during these times, are we to merely roll with the punches and just live with the deviation? Absolutely not. I imagine how my life wouldn’t necessarily be so pleasant if I had to make turns or pull to the side, without the guarantee that my lights wouldn’t come on, or stay on. No, I had to fix this, and I had to nip this at the bud.
I suppose that’s one thing when it comes to this repentance we’ve all been led to believe. Beyond just committing ourselves to do better, we’ve come to realize that it isn’t a change of action – no, as we’ve kept saying at the church I serve, the repentance we now have is one which involves a change of mindset. We don’t just fix the jumpers. We don’t just check the levers. We probably need to understand that what needs to change in us is way inside that we need to move more than the usual screws to get to it.
And another thing when it comes to repentance – when we do find where the problem is, chances are we find out that it’s not that our mindset is damaged – no, it could just be possible that the mindset we’ve had, which controlled our signals, probably wasn’t for us to begin with. We may have been driving a Toyota Revo SUV with a signal light controller for a Kia Pride Compact.
I understand that I’ve been saying a lot about how we’ve been made new, and how the old has passed away, just as Paul would say in 2 Corinthians 5:17. But I’m not about to say that Romans 12:2 has no bearing – you know, where it says ‘be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ I mean, what is it? Have we been made new, or are we being renewed?
I’d say, ‘Yes’. The way I see this (which, by the way, shouldn’t be how you should think – maybe at the most, merely for your consideration and even criticism), is that through Christ we’ve been made new creations, our beings made compatible with all that is infinite. That’s how we’ve been made new.
Wait, give me time to explore this.
By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners. By Adam’s sin in this finite reality our existence in the infinite has been impacted. Sin separated man from God, finite from the infinite, and as such, we died.
As soon as our physical bodies were brought into this world, we began to die.
But by one Man’s obedience, many were made righteous. By Christ’s finished work, we have been ushered into the infinite. Our existence, and even our right-standing in the infinite is now our reality, and it overflows, impacting our existence in this finite world. Christ reconciled man to God, finite reconciled to the infinite, and as such, we not only live, but have Eternal LIfe.
As soon as we were born again, we began to live.
I feel as if there’s something flawed in this way of thinking, and I am open to correction here. But if it holds weight, this is how I could explain our being new, and being made new at the same time.
And if what I just said just now isn’t so drastically far from the Truth, that’s probably why I’m open about the drunk driving I did before. I may be subject to the courts of man, and I am willing to face the consequences, but all things considered, it’s by the Truth that I stand – the Truth that has made me new, and is making me new, in His own perfect timing and wisdom.
And what the hell, I might as well be open with it as well – I may be suffering from all the porn I’ve watched, and all the jerking off I’ve been doing for around three decades now. It’s impacted me to the point that the way I interact with people has been altered, the thoughts I think regularly have been twisted. In this, yes, I AM facing the consequences (besides those I haven’t been made aware of yet); and I’ve been open as far as saying I wish the Lord would just zap me in the brain to undo 30 years worth of damage, in just a second… but all things considered, it is the Truth that keeps me standing. This Truth that has made me new, and is making me new, in His own perfect timing and wisdom.
And see, here’s the thing. Those are just two just a whole lot of other deficiencies still trying to latch on to this bag of flesh, but what remains to be true is that this Temple of the Holy Spirit will continue to proclaim the goodness of God – in my greatest victories, and in my darkest of failures.
His power is made perfect in my weakness. No matter how deeply rooted the weakness may be.
And for this, in this season, I give thanks. I am thankful.
I could regret my past, and focus so hard on what I’ve done, that it impacts me on a day to day basis. But I am thankful because of Christ, who paid such a great price that I would have peace; I would have peace, knowing that all things that have happened then up until now – He takes all of these things, and He is faithful to make all of it work for the good. And I am at peace, free of understanding what that even means, especially considering that any good that comes out of it may not necessarily happen for my good in particular, but for the good of those who love God (or, as I say, those who have given the smallest consideration to God’s everlasting love for each and every one of us) and are called according to His purpose (His will, that none may perish but for many to come to repentance).
I could fear for my future, and be so fixated in ‘securing’ all that I’m concerned about no matter what happens in the hours, days, and weeks to come. I could be so obsessed in building a pathway that I lose my footing in the present. But again, I am thankful because of Christ, who paid such a great price that I would have peace, knowing that now and in the days to come, nothing can ever separate me from His love; the best thing that has ever happened to us is that the worst that can ever happen to any of us has been taken by Christ.
My past has been taken care of, and my future is secure in Christ. And as I give thanks in the present, I am reminded of the faithfulness of God, which never fails for me, no matter how much I fail.
In gratitude, we repent… and as we are renewed, we give thanks.
Until the next post, God bless you.