Unless You Are Broken...
If we want to truly live godly lives by being “partakers of divine nature,” one of the most helpful things we can do is to follow the godly examples of individuals, especially those who have walked with God for many more years than we have (2 Peter 1:4). The lives of people like Saint Anthony, Saint Benedict, desert fathers and desert mothers, and a host of such godly saints from the history of the Holy Church, can be a constant challenge for us of what it means to follow after the Lord.
I cannot express what a profound impact many of these people have had on my life even though I have obviously never met them in person. Personally, I also have a few people that I can call and openly share my struggles with and ask them questions.
One of those people is Steve E, a Mennonite Preacher. I first met him when I was about 17 when He and Sidney C came and visited me at my home after writing him for several months. He is someone I can call any time and ask him any question. My life continues to be deeply impacted by his. I know that having these mentors in my life will help me stay close to the Lord. Regardless of my position or experience, I still remain a disciple, a little boy on the inside. People sometimes think I have the answers. But I don’t.
As we grow in the Lord, we can look at how much we know or how much we’ve already walked through and think, “What more do I need?” We think we have arrived and can now do something great for God. But this is a dangerous attitude to have. It’s so important to always leave room for others to speak into our lives.
When I first started serving the Lord as a Baptist with a church I was a part of in North Florida, I was so young and naïve. By my age and experience, I didn't even feel qualified to be on staff. At the beginning, I couldn’t do much. My main role was helping in the Bus Ministry and making visitation calls.
During that time, as I continued to serve in this ministry, my burden for the people I saw grew. I spent hours and hours studying and reading. I cannot tell you how many books I read during those days or how many times I read through my Bible consistently, preparing notes and studying.
Within a couple years, I was being called upon to be a minister of the Word on Sundays and Wednesday nights. I was asked to run the Bus ministry, We bought property in a place where we could have a school for the children that came on the buses, A place would be built for those parents of the kids who had addiction problems. I became proud and arrogant and stiff-necked. I was so sure of myself.
One of the men in the church aware of my ability and potential, confronted me so I would not be destroyed by my pride.
In so many words he told me, “You are so gifted and so able, but you are proud and arrogant in the way you deal with people, and rebellion is so evident. It seems the attention you are getting and your ability are destroying you. I love you and care about you and don’t want to see you make a shipwreck of your life.”
I felt these people didn’t appreciate me. They didn’t know what I had done for the Church or how important I was in the ministry.
That night, I took a walk around the pasture on the property where I lived. It was dark, pitch dark. I was so depressed. I felt my future was totally destroyed. I felt like my life was so miserable.
After a few days of sitting on my pride and coming up with arguments, God in His mercy began to deal with my heart. He very simply said to me, “Unless you are broken, unless you give up, I cannot do anything with you.”
From there, the Lord began to lead me on a journey of learning, brokenness and repentance. A leader in the church, a true friend, was willing to speak hard words to me, and eventually I listened. Experiences like this are not easy. But I can tell you, humanly speaking, if it was not for God’s grace and the things I learned in that church, I would not be doing what I am doing today. I cannot imagine where I would have ended up. They were not perfect people, but they were the ones God used. It was God’s mercy that I listened to them. Not long after, I was asked to move across the state to take care of my grandfather. While there, I began my journey as a Catholic. Why? a neighbor invited me to their Parish.
I encourage you to make listening to those who have the courage to speak into your life a normal part of your walk with God. Take time to think: Who are those people God has placed in my life to lead me? What is my attitude towards them? What relationships can I choose to build with godly individuals around me so I can learn from their lives how to do spirituality and follow Christ?