Entering the Internet world in the summer of 1997 introduced me to evangelicals who enjoyed a much more liberal outlook on life (particularly in terms of sexual behavior) than I did. Their understanding of Scripture perplexed me. It also intrigued me. On the one hand, they conveyed a sense of excitement about the Lord, and spoke enthusiastically about serving Him through their local churches. On the other hand, they exhibited worldly attitudes, to the point of calling me prudish because I said sex was created exclusively for heterosexual marriage. When I questioned them about how they reconciled their Christianity with their worldliness, they saw no contradiction between the two.
In response to this online community, I privately thought of their version of Christianity as “It.” On numerous occasions, various people tried to explain that God’s forgiveness and grace liberated them to live in any way they chose, encouraging me to shed my “legalistic inhibitions” and experience my “Christian liberty.” Although their perspective sharply contradicted God’s Word, I found myself wanting to better understand how “It” could be true.
I couldn’t. The more I poured through Scripture, the more convinced I became that I could either continue walking with Christ, or I could indulge my carnal desires. As I sat in church each Sunday, contemplating the double life that I wanted to lead, I found myself totally unable to worship. “It” promised so much, but “It” would ultimately demand that I choose between the fleeting pleasures of sin and the eternal joy of being with Christ.
To put it more accurately, God the Father had chosen me (Ephesians 1:3-6), and therefore I knew that I wanted Him more than I wanted sin. And that seductive “It” that the professing Christians online held out to me was, in reality, nothing more than a life of hypocrisy than damns people. The Lord, in making me His, graciously kept me miserable when I attempted to live as a hypocrite. Furthermore, He kept reminding me of Peter’s words when Jesus asked the Twelve if they would follow the false disciples who turned from Him:
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” ~~John 6:68-69 (ESV)
By God’s grace, I know that “It” promises both the world and Jesus, but only delivers an empty life of hypocrisy that results in eternal damnation. Thankfully, His grace also enables me to repent, and to live in a manner that seeks to honor Him. Moreover, He gives me an unshakable promise of eternal life in His presence! True, He calls me to turn my back on worldly pleasures, making it clear that loving the things of this world demonstrates a lack of love for Him (1 John 2:15-17). Clearly, the Holy Spirit has given me a love for the Father strong enough to help me reject “It.”