By Stephen L France
On the ‘worldly social scene’ in my teenage years and early twenties, I’d always felt obstructed by moral barriers. I was only free of these principles, following consumption of copious amounts of alcohol.
But in Dec 2014—after five years abroad—I returned to London a changed man, transformed, and liberated of inhibitions.
I had a simple plan for my life going forward.
Initiate my financial boom through writing my novels, and take full relentless advantage of my newfound amorality — a conscience that no longer knew ethical boundaries as a result of many painful situations, during my time on the other side of the world.
The multitude of hurtful occasions while away from home, implanted a soul-destroying lesson; the world is cruel and no one cares for morals anymore, so I don’t need to either.
Being back in London, I joined the most popular dating apps on my phone and was about to commence my tenure on the ‘worldly’ side of life—fully intentional—knowing my desires were permissible by secular world standards.
I’d never felt such freedom before; I was ready to make money and chase a licentious life with the enticing delights London has to offer…
The ‘worldly’ plan…interrupted
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it.” [Mark 8:35]
Before I even had time to begin making money, enjoying the night life of London, and pursuing my own will, things took an unusual turn.
A week after arriving in the city of smog, I was unexpectedly at a Christian Bible cell dinner, then Emmanuel Evangelical Church, followed by joining a cell, then reading the Bible cover to cover, and my baptism.
There was no time for middle-ground or Luke-warmness in these months.
It was either ‘in’ with Christ or ‘out,’ and I made my choice.
This was not easy and was met with many moments where I attempted to blend worldly desires with Christ’s life for me.
Of course, this NEVER works.
After a gruelling set of Godly trials—examining past wounds and the self-deceptive coping mechanisms I created (scroll down to see previous blog)—2017 has seen me beginning life again, but with God as the foundation of every single facet.
I have surrendered my life to Christ’s grace, knowing what the Lord means when he says “you will save your life.”
I can’t help but feel that in giving my self to Christ, this is not only describing saving my life in eternity, but also my life on Earth.
The transformation He has nurtured has seen me living a healthier physical, mental, and spiritual lifestyle.
Of course, my conscience attacks sometimes with words equating to: Life is passing me by…
Having travelled this narrow road with a fierce hunger for the Lord, my main cause for writing this blog is to ask the questions:
Where does life ambition and money fit in with God’s will?
Is life truly passing me by now that I'm spending much of my time in Godly pursuits?
I’ve been on a part time salary for the past two years and four months and strongly believe this has been God’s will, because it has allowed me ample time to get to know Him intimately.
It’s blessed me with the freedom to consult Scripture daily, read many secondary sources, attend a variety of Godly conferences, and take on multiple courses for profound soul-searching and healing with Christ.
If you speak to me today, my two main statements of revelation are:
1) I cannot believe I ever thought God didn’t love me – He loves people more than words can describe. Everybody needs to know this for the foundation of their self-worth, significance, and security
2) I’m so sorry and sad for the abundance of deceptions that exist in this world – it’s preposterous how many lies are living around us, in us, and through us. I wish to do my Lord’s will and expose the lies to the Light
With this now founded in my heart, I’ve turned my attention back to my life’s desires in the form of my career and regaining financial stability.
This has meant vigilance over time management and making some difficult choices.
The major question that has arisen in my mind is:
Am I putting my own life pursuits before God?
I reviewed the following three verses to answer my query:
Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” [Mark 10.21]
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. [Matthew 6:24]
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. [1 Timothy 6:10]
There are three fundamental points I drew from this:
1) I cannot let money or anything in life assume control over God. E.g. In making decisions between paid work and voluntary service for the Lord, my choice comes down to spiritual discernment and knowing the Word of the Lord. The fact is, He knows my heart so there is no way around my choice, save being absolutely honest about my intentions in heart-felt confession
2) It is impossible to have two Gods so there’s no point in trying to align them. I have to understand that either I serve God or other life pursuits – never both
3) Love of money or anything else other than God will lead me to evil, translating into wicked behaviour like selfishness, arrogance, ostentatiousness, greed, lust, envy, pride etc.
God does not say that I cannot be ambitious in my career nor does He say that acquiring financial wealth is a sin.
The statute our Lord commands of us is to make sure that money does not become a God substitute or godly idol.
God must come first in all things I do, including pursuit of career and financial stability.
I must fall in line to God’s will--the narrow and perfect way--and not try to align God’s will to my pursuits in life.
So, bringing this into my own life: if a Godly course, conference, or book recommendation emerges and there is a strong calling on me to pursue it for the Lord, am I going to say “no” due to time management and my own desires?
Absolutely not; I will prioritise whatever God has for me, because His way is always the right way in all things.
This may mean firing forward with my career or submitting to further patience, knowing that the Lord's way is always good and right.
Do you ever debate with God’s will for you?
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