Cigarette smoke swirled past hardened faces, while tattooed arms reached under tables for hidden plastic baggies. Hustlers wiggled around pool tables, bending over to reveal tight-jeaned curves. Drunken voices rose in competition with the jukebox as Bob Segar’s husky voice serenaded beautiful losers.
The neon lights struggled to illuminate the darkness. So did I.
There was a vehement fire burning in my bones to seek and save the lost. Oh, that I could pull them from the gates of hell. I had good news for these hurting people – the people I knew and loved.
There is hope for the worst of sinners. Jesus came to take our punishment on the cross and give us eternal life.
Some listened, some ignored, others mocked. Whether they believed the message or not, it was obvious to all that something strange had happened to me.
I had come to know the living God. I thought my salvation guaranteed I would never sin again. I was wrong.
With the gospel of love and forgiveness on my tongue, I spun around on my barstool to order another beer. The fence I walked threatened a very long fall.
I went home drunk and ran for my Bible. The pages breathed life and death. Confirmation that I was, indeed, God’s witness flew off the page, but so did the warnings to repent. I was broken and confused.
I fell down before Him. “God,” I sobbed, “if you have set me free, why am I still out there?”
Assured that His Spirit, living inside of me, was the power I needed to kill this monster called my flesh, I arose with a renewed hope and a steadfast determination.
The war commenced; the first fight took place on a battlefield of kitchen tiles.
With a hungry husband and four ravenous children, cooking was a never-ending calling. I could whip up a seven course dinner while bouncing the baby and still juggle apples as a side show for the toddlers.
I was now faced with an even bigger challenge.
The children were occupied elsewhere and I had some time alone – or so I thought. The urge to get out of the house crept up and pounced on me. I wasn’t craving drink or drugs, just an escape from monotony. I was restless.
My experience told me where this familiar getaway would lead me. I resisted the temptation brewing in me.
I diced some fresh parsley, trying to forget my thoughts of escape. I lifted the lid on the pasta sauce and stirred. It spat at me, splattering my shirt like blood.
“Help me, Jesus!” I cried.
I paced the kitchen that was now my torture chamber. The temptation intensified.
“Help me, Jesus!”
I grabbed my chopping knife and attacked the onions. I felt the darkness hovering over me like a haunted cloud.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness in this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)
Never before had I noticed the presence of demon powers during this kind of temptation. Why would I? I had never before resisted their influence.
I kept wrestling.
In a sudden, brilliant flash, my Deliverer made His presence known. Drawing His sword from its sheath, a forgotten warning pierced my soul: “Will you sacrifice your firstborn for your sin?”
I shuddered, ashamed.
"How quickly we forget," I whispered.
The evil spirits oppressing me fled. I stood in awe at the power of His word.
Dinner was served with an offering of praise and thanksgiving. To my husband and children it was just another day, another meal. With their tummies rumbling as the smells of basil and garlic promised their favorite food, they never noticed the seasoned one was me. I sat among them a seasoned warrior, knowing the joy of a battle well fought and victorious.
Thank you, Jesus!
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