Yesterday my pastor (known affectionately as Pastor PeePaw for some unspecified reason) asked a sobering question: “Are you one person at church and another with certain groups of friends?”
Yikes. I don’t think this is true of me now (although I am not some great super-Christian and I do slip up with bad words every now and then, mostly on accident), but I have definitely struggled for seasons of life with on purpose sin in the past, even though I was a Christian and knew it wasn’t what God had for me. I didn’t keep it a secret because I didn’t want to be fake so I would lament to my coworkers about how I messed up and knew it was wrong. And my close friends got to see me at my worst. My witness was super strong, let me tell you. Insert sad face here.
Thankfully God is greater than my weaknesses and has been patient with me (like, really patient). Though I have grieved the Holy Spirit, and also tried unsuccessfully to justify sin to myself and others, I always felt terrible when I was living outside of God’s will for my life. I couldn’t stay there.
Over the years, as with most Christians, I think, there have been mountains and valleys in my journey. There have been times I have wept from experiencing the beautiful, undeniable presence of the Lord, and times I have felt alone and very far from God. I am so thankful for the evidence of the Holy Spirit because I am a hard-headed idiot at times, so it must be God continually pulling me away from my self-destructive behavior. It’s definitely not me!
God has been so faithful. He has led me, step by step, back to his heart and his good purposes for those who belong to him. He has brought me, church by church, back to a body that preaches only the truth found in God’s word. No fluff necessary.
I don’t have to pretend to be “good”. I’m not good. But God is, and the more of my life I give over to him, the more his character and his goodness shine through. The more my heart changes to become like his.
Wherever you are, know this morning that God is so faithful. If you find yourself in a place you know God wants you to come out of, don’t wait. Come out. There’s nothing for you there.
I’m speaking from experience.
Ephesians 5:1-16 ESV
 … Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.  Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.  For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous ( that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.  Therefore do not become partners with them;  for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light  (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),  and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.  Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.  For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.  But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,  for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”  Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,  making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. …