Playing Fast and Loose with God
"Do not be afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house is increased; for when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not descend after him. Though while he lives he congratulates himself--and though men praise you when you do well for yourself--he shall go to the generation of his fathers; they will never see the light" Psalm 49:16-19.
Oh, God, at creation You imparted Your image called 'life' into humans. We are uniquely different from any other form in Your creation. We are created in Your image.
"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men" John 1:4.
We are creatures with consciousness of ourselves, others and especially You, God. Your word calls that 'light.' Though we may try to ignore You, it is hard to kick against the pricks of conscience, the "you ought" that tries to guide us into the way of knowing You in intimate relationship and obedience. And, because we grow up from infancy to adulthood always possessing Your image, we don't think of ourselves as having Your life on loan, as it were, to see how we will manage such a valuable entrustment.
Soon after your Holy Spirit immersed me in Himself, Spirit baptism, He took me down and down, though I had no idea where I was going. I did not see fire and brimstone nor did I feel intense heat. Instead, I was seated all alone on a grey stone bench in a grey stone cell. Everything was drab grey, likened in my mind to the volcanic ash that spewed over the countryside when Mount St. Helen erupted. It wasn't the color 'grey.' It was the 'absence of color and beauty' grey. Ugly. Void of life. Dead. I realized I was in hell!!
As I sat on the bench, I felt myself 'shift to the right.' At first I thought I had moved sideways on the bench, but I had not changed my position. Suddenly, I recognized that the shift had happened in my essential being. I no longer was the same person I had been on earth. Something was drastically different! Your image that was integrally part of me all my earthly life was gone. You had removed it. It was dreadfully missing! I would never be my complete self again!
That voice, that feeling of "I ought" was missing. The urging toward You that once moved deep inside of me was gone. Sometimes I had toyed with it when I was younger. For instance, I knew I shouldn't do something because Your voice warned me not to. But I did it anyway.
At other times I felt I should go somewhere or speak to someone, even about the lostness of their soul, but I gave in to my fear of what people would think about me if I did, so kept silent. In each case I knew I had disobeyed You and sinned but did it anyway. I relied on the fact that You would forgive me and take me back into fellowship with you...but I tried it one too many times!
I really played fast and loose with you, God. Even when I knew the Gospel and professed to know You, I would turn my back on You and Your voice, because what You wanted wasn't convenient or didn't fit my comfort zone. Yet, You came after me time and again with what I knew as conviction for my disobedience. You would forgive and take me back so kindly. I really took you for granted many times! Too many times!
Now, in hell I knew that that would never happen again. The part of me so integral to my nature that I called it 'me' would never bother me again. YOU would never bother me again, and...that absence of Your voice and Your presence was going to continue forever! Nothing I could do would change the fact. It was too late!! The life of God with which I was born, that image of God that spoke to me deep within, was gone eternally!
I would never see true Light again! Yes, the fires of hell would cast light: the red glow of burning, searing flames. But I never would see the light of Your Spirit, ever hear the sound of Your voice, never feel the conviction of sin, never have a taste for or feel the tug on my heart to bow before You. I would be willing, God, but it was too late! I was doomed to endure my lost state the rest of my existence--forever--without YOU! I would endure spiritual darkness with no hope of having it cast away or removed, for You were GONE! and separation from You IS HELL!
Then Your Spirit brought me back to my bedroom where I was kneeling in prayer. Thankfulness welled in my heart. I was alive! I KNEW You. I was not lost! But I knew many who were unsaved and lost. I could never be complacent about persons on their way to hell again!