She was hopelessly entwined with a lifestyle that refused to let her go….
Felicia was a beautiful girl. She was actually the billboard model for a prominent whiskey company. She showed up in our church one Sunday and gave her heart to the Lord. It was a heartfelt conversion and without a doubt, Jesus became her Savior that day.
However, there were some significant barriers standing in the way of her becoming a fully devoted follower of Christ.
First, though she felt her career with the whiskey company was an awkward profession for a Christian, it brought in revenue she needed in order to meet her expenses.
Second, she was living with a man whom she had grown to depend on because of a sense of order he brought to her life. She had no family at all and she was completely alone in the Los Angeles Metro area. It can be a scary place.
Third, this man owned the home and car she drove, which he held over her head, threatening that if she left he would give her nothing. She feared should she leave him, she would have no place to live and no transportation. This was before the time when our courts began defending the rights of people who were not married.
Fourth, he was her contact for her job as a model. If she walked out on him, she would lose her job and her connections to her profession, and she had no other marketable skills.
Fifth, her son from a previous relationship was a severe epileptic and required institutionalization. It was extremely expensive and the man she was living with was paying for that very hefty expense.
Though Felicia’s boyfriend was verbally and physically abusive, she feared that it would be too big of a risk for her to leave him. She had become what seemed to be hopelessly entwined with a lifestyle that refused to let her go; and she didn’t know how to break free.
Felicia counseled with me several times in an effort to try and make the break, which I was encouraging her to do. But she wasn’t able to gather the courage to do it. She concluded that in her situation, Christianity was just too difficult for her to embrace. She felt she didn’t measure up to the standards our church and my counsel were asking of her. At a certain point she quit attending church.
In a minute I’ll tell you the rest of the story.
Felicia’s situation isn’t really much different than anyone else’s who decide for Christ. The details are different, but the circumstances are much the same. Felicia’s unique situation involved physical and monetary dependencies. She had no home, no transportation, no job, no money and no way to care for her son and his disability. But some, who don’t have such physical entrapments, may have emotional, relational or philosophical chains that keep them from surrendering their lives to Christ with just as much difficulty as Felicia had.
Everyone wrestles within when the time comes to decide for Christ. Jacob’s wrestling match with God in Genesis 32 is the classic example of the spiritual battle every unbelieving person has within when they are faced with the decision to embrace Christ. If they lose the battle, they win with God. If they win the battle, they lose with God.
Two years later I received a call from Felicia. She said, “Pastor Chris, I did it. I left him in the middle of the night with the help of people from a safe house. I am living in Northern California. They helped me find a job and I found a little church up here that I just love. The safe house people also connected me up with a program that will pay for the care of my son. There is an exceptional epilepsy clinic right around the corner from me and I can see him every day. And I am so happy. Thank you for setting a tough standard for me. I knew all along that the only way that my life would ever begin to come together was if I made a clean break.”
Don’t be deterred from serving God because of a wrestling that seems to be going on inside your soul; one that has you afraid to give up something of yourself. It’s normal, and we will never find contentment if we don’t enter the ring and begin the match. And we will never become a child of God if we win. We need to lose the match to God in order to win in our lives.