Holy Abashment and Abatement
by Ennis Smith 4/13/2011 / Testimonies
Abash: To destroy the self confidence of; disconcert; make embarrassed or ashamed.
Abate: To reduce in amount, degree, or intensity; to lessen; to diminish.
These two words describe the work the Lord performed, to transform me into a new man spiritually. Romans 12:2 (NIV) says, 'Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve of what GOD's will is-his good and perfect will'. I was a man so deeply rooted in the patterns of the world, I failed to recognize the wretchedness of my everyday behavior, until GOD put me into a position to lose everything I had taken for granted.
GOD knew who I really was, when everyone else saw only a shadow of my true personality. The Lord knew I was prideful; spiteful, selfish in my intentions; and manipulative in my tactics when it came to receiving what I wanted. While I may have acknowledged the existence of Jesus, I never openly professed my love for him and his ultimate sacrifice to redeem me forever. I didn't believe in him. His was a story I heard countless times before, but that was all it was to me; simply a story. The world had me believing in my own ability to make my way by whatever means necessary. Material successes were a product of my own actions. Jesus' life and ultimate sacrifice were accessories to a successful life, looked upon as a shiny new set of expensive chrome rims accentuate an expensive car. My theory was, the car looks great with or without the rims and so a materialistically successful existence would appear flashy with or without the Lord's involvement. But GOD knows the heart of me, and he waited patiently for the moment to restructure my thinking process.
The greatest illusion Satan created was to convince man that GOD does not exist. Many of us, from birth, are bombarded with the glamour the world promises through self-preservation. GOD is taught to be a figure of the imagination; to be believed in when nothing else goes right. Satan is crafty and relentless in his tireless work, ensnaring many unsuspecting followers all the time, and I was no different from anyone else blind to the Lord's real existence. For all my hard work and self serving motives, nothing I accomplished seemed to fill the void ever present in my spirit. GOD went to work on me.
He abashed my false sense of accomplishments. Once a man comes to face the reality that the notches in his belt mean absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things, he feels a deep sense of shame. Accompanying the sense of shame, GOD rained total confusion into my logical way of thinking and overall belief system. Every decision was now questionable. Every move, every truth I had ever believed in was now subject to scrutiny. My loss in self confidence was the inevitable outcome of GOD's work. However, the process had not yet begun to take its toll on my being.
GOD's abatement proved to be the spirit breaking technique to take my spirit to the edge of the cliff, and have it leap over. The Lord stripped me of every material distraction I had latched onto over a lifetime. Money was taken away. Toys were removed from my grasps. Opposite sex companionship was removed. In every sense, GOD had broken me down to a point from where I could not return without his divine help. And that's when he brought me toward him.
The Lord never gives us a challenge we cannot handle with his love involved. During my transformation, I was made to endure righteous trials manifested by my own sinful acts. GOD forced me to reap what I had sown into my life for so long. Faced with the truth of who I really was, and the things I had truly produced in my life, I broke down and called on the name of Jesus to save my life and make me over. He heard my plea.
Today, I can honestly say without shame that I am a Christian. I know my life is full of sin, and I know that sin cannot be removed from my life without the blessings and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived a perfect life and died the sacrificial death for my redemption, and I will forever love him for that. I cannot hope to ever be able to flawlessly follow in the footsteps of the Most High, but he knows that, and loves me regardless. I do not take his love for granted however. He pulled me from a place I never want to return to, and so I fight everyday to learn the teachings contained in his word, and apply that knowledge to my new life.
There are days when the Christian walk is difficult for me. The allure of the old life constantly beckons for my return. On those days, I pray to GOD to grant me an extra boost of his love and protection; that I may shake the devil's temptations and continue to walk in my Heavenly Father's direction. I know that someday I will fall. I'm human and will fail miserably, at following GOD's word to the letter. On that day, I pray that he forgives and teaches me the error of my ways. His mercy endures forever.
I came to Jesus almost ten years ago now, but my walk seems to be brand new. Each day brings a new lesson; a new truth; a new joy into my life. The material distractions have changed as the devil switches his tactics in an effort to reel me back under his control, but I refuse to falter. GOD's word through Jesus and the Bible grant a comfort that fills the void I searched so long to patch. He is worthy of my full attention and love. And each new day sees me inching closer to him. Amen.
Ennis Smith lives in Lincoln Park, Michigan with his wife and five children. Mr. Smith joined Faithwriters to improve his writing skills. He recently had a short story entitled 'How Come Rocks Can't Talk' published for the Webzine "WHEREVER IT PLEASES". www.facebook.com/ennis.smith.52