“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16, NIV).
“There was in Him [Jesus] nothing that responded to Satan’s sophistry. He did not consent to sin. Not even by a thought did He yield to temptation. So it may be with us. Christ’s humanity was united with divinity; He was fitted for the conflict by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And He came to make us partakers of the divine nature. So long as we are united to Him by faith, sin has no more dominion over us. God reaches for the hand of faith in us to direct it to lay fast hold upon the divinity of Christ, that we may attain to perfection of character” (Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 123).
Jerry was a hard worker. He spent most of his adult life as an iron worker building bridges and skyscrapers. He was the guy who would walk out hundreds of feet above ground on a narrow iron beam and spot-weld it to another iron beam. But although Jerry was talented and hardworking, he also abused his body with alcohol, tobacco, drugs, promiscuity, and wild living. Whenever a Christian man would come to work, Jerry would verbally and emotionally persecute him, hoping to drive him from the job. Jerry hated Christianity and Christians.
As Jerry approached age 50, he started getting depressed. One day he decided to end his life. As he was driving home to commit suicide, he saw a sign for the Seventh-day Adventist Church along the highway. The Holy Spirit put a thought in his mind: “Maybe they can help me.” So Jerry pulled into the parking lot just as church school was letting out for the day, approached the principal, and mumbled something about needing help. The principal gave Jerry my number and said, “This is the phone number of our pastor. Please give him a call.” When Jerry called that evening, he told me he was in trouble and asked if I could help. I phoned an elder, and together we went right over to Jerry’s house.
Jerry told us everything and added, “I can’t believe I’ve fallen so low as to have a pastor in my home.” He said he’d tried everything the world has to offer without finding satisfaction, so he had decided to end his life. I said, “Jerry, you haven’t yet tried everything because you haven’t tried Jesus.” “You’re right,” he smirked, “I haven’t tried Jesus. So, what do I have to do to try Jesus?” I shared the simple message of the gospel and asked, “Is there any reason why you wouldn’t want to receive Jesus into your life?” Jerry said, “No, because unless He does something for me tonight, I’m going to end my life.”
Inviting Jerry to kneel with us, I asked him to repeat a prayer after me. Right after we said “Amen,” Jerry grabbed my arm and said, “Did you see that?” “See what?” I asked. “Right as I said ‘Amen,’ I opened my eyes and saw a man hovering over my head with a very evil look on his face, and then he vanished through the ceiling. You’ve got to believe me!” “I believe you, Jerry,” I said. “How do you feel now?” After a moment of reflection he said, “I feel good, really good. I haven’t felt this good in a very long time, if ever. What has happened to me?” I explained, “Jerry, you just asked Jesus to come into your life and forgive your sins. He is now living in your heart. That evil spirit you saw was trying to get you to end your life, but Jesus drove him out.”
Great joy filled Jerry’s home that night, so much so that Jerry couldn’t sleep. He went through his home removing all of his alcohol, drugs, magazines, and anything else he could find that was sinful. He put all that stuff in a plastic bag and buried it six feet deep in his orchard. The next day he drove to a nursery and purchased a tree to plant over the top of all the stuff he buried. When I came to visit he showed me the tree and said, “Pastor, that hole in the ground and that new tree represent my life. The old Jerry is buried down there and that new fruit tree represents the new Jerry because I am now living a new life!”
Bible Texts to Pray About
Each day, as we turn to Jesus and pray, we receive His forgiveness and grace. As the children of Israel went out daily to receive the manna from heaven, so we daily renew our relationship with Jesus, the Bread of Life (John 6:58). Through the presence of the Holy Spirit moving in our lives, we confess our sins to God, accept the righteousness of Jesus in our behalf, and are enabled to resist the temptations of the devil (Galatians 5:16).
Take My Life and Let It Be (Hymn #330); Whiter than Snow (Hymn #318); Draw Me Nearer (Hymn #306); Refiner’s Fire; I Will Bow to You; The Power of Your Love; What the Lord Has Done in Me.