In the first month after I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I encountered a friend with whom I formerly spent a great deal of time. I lived a carnal lifestyle with him and it was with a little apprehension that I now faced him. I knew from other friends that he doubted the sincerity of my conversion. After a few perfunctory remarks, he launched into his attack with a sneer. “So you’re a Christian now?”
I nodded hesitatingly. “Yes.”
“You should know your Bible then, right?”
“Well, “ I stammered. “I haven’t read the entire Bible and…”
He quickly cut me off. “How can you say you’re a Christian and not have read the Bible?”
I was on the defensive. “I know enough that Jesus Christ died for my sins and…”
“Sure, yes, yes...of course!” He was determined to trip me up. “Look I’ll make it easy for you. When Abel killed Cain, what weapon did he use?”
Oh boy, I thought, as I attempted to recall the story. What weapon? As I strained to remember the details, something inside me nudged me to the truth.
“He didn’t use any weapon, “ I smiled. “Abel didn’t kill Cain. Cain killed Abel.”
My friend smiled. I was safe, until the next encounter.
For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you.
1 Peter 4:3-4 (ESV)
This was the first time, but would not be the last time, that friends and acquaintances would doubt the sincerity of my new life in Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God for speaking to me through His Holy Spirit, during that first encounter. But there would be other times that I would not have all the answers. There would be other times that I would fail in my walk with God and not present a godly example of living a life surrendered to God. And when I did, the doubters would point their fingers and smirk, confirming for themselves that my new life wasn’t new at all.
The Apostle Peter reminds me that vestiges of my past life will always abound. I need to cling and hold fast to God’s promises and always allow the Holy Spirit to transform me so that I will not be conformed to this world or my former lifestyle. And if I fail, it is only through God’s grace and mercy through His Son, Jesus Christ, that I am able to continue to die to my old self and live for Him alone.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.