Bible Studies for Life Lesson for March 13- Ready for Action
March 2 2011 by Joel Stephens, pastor, Westfield Baptist Church

Focal Passage: 1 Peter 1:13-2:1

It’s one of those memories I wish I could forget, because it reminds me of a season in my life that I wish had never happened.

During my college years, I was the prodigal. And I was a hypocrite to boot. I was a Christian; and on Sunday morning I still behaved like one. But the other six and a half days of the week were another story.

It happened one New Year’s Eve as I was leaving an establishment, having fully participated in the usual revelries that accompany that “holiday.” I was searching for my truck, unable to remember clearly where I had parked it, when I heard a young woman’s voice that was all too familiar.

“Joel? Is that you?” she asked in an excited voice, expecting a renewed friendship.

I was so startled that I glanced up. I guess that in my self-inflicted condition, I just couldn’t think fast enough to avoid eye contact. Even in the dim orange glow of the parking lot lights, my face was obviously recognized.

I recognized her too. We had grown up in church together. We had been on youth retreats together. We had spent most of our lives attending the same Sunday School class!

That was the “Joel” she was expected to meet. Her smile evaporated as she examined a different “Joel” standing before. Her eyes darted back to the door I had left just seconds before. With a flash of confused disgust, her mouth uttered the question that was already on her face. “What are you doing here?”

I will never forget that question. It was her voice, but the question came directly from God’s throne, and it pierced to the depths of my heart. I knew I didn’t belong there. I was a born-again, Spirit-indwelled adopted son of God. I was to “be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). And yet, I was standing in a parking lot in the middle of the night, stripped of all pride, wishing I could crawl into a hole and pull the dirt in on top of me.

God recalled her question to my mind several thousand times over the months that followed. He used her words and her sense of disgust to cause this prodigal to come to his senses. The hog pit is no place for the redeemed. 

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3/2/2011 1:07:00 PM by Joel Stephens, pastor, Westfield Baptist Church | with 0 comments

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