When speaking in prisons, my husband often begins by asking inmates the question, “How many of you, when you got saved, asked Jesus to follow you?” Ninety percent of those in attendance raise their hands. Bill then proceeds with, “Yeah, and look where you took Him. You took Him to the whore house, the dope house, the gambling joints, the beer joints. You even took Him to jail and now prison. He didn’t want to go there, but He went because He loves you.”
Some powerful truth right there. When taken into account, it has turned many a wayward heart back the right direction.
When I asked Jesus into my heart at age eleven at a Billy Graham movie, taking Him to such unseemly places wasn’t even on my radar. That didn’t last long with me taking the lead in our relationship. Let’s just say by age 28, Jesus and I had put some hard miles behind us. All because I ‘put the cart before the horse’ and dragged Him into those previously mentioned establishments and into other hell holes of my own making. Yet, He so mercifully allowed my irreverent mishandling of Him and His wonderful gift of salvation until out of a bellyful of pain and suffering, I finally surrendered control. I’d been gambling with my eternity, thinking my one-time salvation prayer sufficed to get me into heaven—especially in light of such truths as; But he who endures to the end shall be saved and For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. [i]
That’s all history now, but every now and again I catch myself trying to ease my little cart out in front of the power who leads me and wonder why He’s dragging His feet. For such occasions, I have tucked between the pages of my Bible a penned list of scriptures to jog my memory—Just who’s leading who right now, Debbie?
I run after Him because He draws me. (Song 1:4)
My Beloved is mine because I am first His. (Song 6:3)
I press on to apprehend because I have already been apprehended. (Philippians 3:12)
I am able to repent because His kindness leads me to repentance. (Romans 2:4)
I increase because His gentleness makes me increase. (Psalm 18:35)
I have faith because God dealt to me a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3)
I can forgive because He forgives me. (Colossians 3:13)
I can love others because Christ’s love compels (urges) me to do so. (2 Corinthians 5:14)
I can experience the fellowship of Jesus’ sufferings because I experientially know Him and the power of His resurrection. (Philippians 3:10)
Much is expected of me because much has been given to me. (Luke 12:48)
I love Him because He first loved me. (1 John 4:10,19)
[i] Matthew 24:13; Romans 8:14