Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Being Impressed with Myself

Obedience is always from the heart. If it is from the head only, it might be by the act of will only, and therefore it will be by effort and not by grace. “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him” (Col. 2:6). We are to obey the same way we received Christ, that is, by grace through faith.

Before I became a Christian, I lived a life of “obedience” in that I did not use profanity or slang, nor did I smoke, drink, or have sex. I was impressed with my goodness (or lack of badness). I impressed my non-Christian classmates with my “goodness.” I did not impress the Christians.

I had two strong attributes which also happen to be the primary attributes of Satan:

• Arrogance: I was self-righteous and proud of it. Satan said, “I will be like the Most High.”
• Lying: I lied very much. Jesus said of Satan that when he lies, he speaks his first language.

There I was being like the devil and thinking I was good. That changed on October 18, 1947. I came to know the Father.

Some things changed immediately. I still had an obedience mindset. Now I confessed my sins and obeyed by grace.

Another problem was in progress. Over the next several years after graduation from the Naval Academy, I memorized many verses of Scripture. At the time, I thought that it was a good spiritual thing to do. Under the conviction of Psalm 119:11, I memorized 108 verses in the first 14 months. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” The next year, I memorized 3 verses a week. The following year, I was memorizing 5 verses a week. During that year, I began to suspicious—I was still sinning, but I had memorized several hundred verses. The problem was that these verses were in my head, not in my heart. I realized that they needed to be hidden in my heart in order to keep me from sin.

Then on a canoe trip to Hudson Bay in 1952, our canoe got swamped in some rapids we were trying to run. The good thing was all of my cards with handwritten verses on them got soaked and blurred. I had become arrogant about how many Scriptures I knew. I was 29 years old. I thanked God.

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