Next week will be the seventeenth month anniversary of my employment at NCITE. As I considered the environment in which I work, it struck me that I have yet to hear an inappropriate comment about a woman. I work with three Christian men and one self-proclaimed atheist. Even the atheist has kept his conversation clean. Surely this is a little taste of heaven on earth.
This past weekend I walked a group of students through Paul’s epistle to the church at Rome. When we reached Romans, chapter thirteen, I shared the account of Augustine’s conversion. I always enjoy recounting the circumstances surrounding his submission to the Lord Jesus Christ. I trust you can locate the details of this event online. Let me just share this: As Augustine was hearing the neighborhood children sing a well-known song similar to one of our nursery rhymes, God stirred his heart. The line repeated in the song was “tolle lege.” That is Latin for “Pick up and read.” After hearing the chorus, “tolle lege, tolle, lege,” Augustine walked over to the place where he had set a copy of Romans.
Do you remember what transpired next?
Augustine opened the letter and his eyes fell upon the following passage:
“Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (13:11-14; NASB).
Augustine’s response surprised those in attendance that day. He closed the letter, stating he had no need to read any further. His heart had been changed. He finally embraced the truth his mother had lived before his eyes and prayed so earnestly about–the Lordship of Christ. He was ready to submit. He was prepared to walk in the light and to battle that which controlled his life up to that point–his flesh.
Have you experienced such a transformation in your life? In a very real sense, what happened to Augustine is what ought to happen to everyone who claims to be a Christian. The specific events will be unique, but the two necessary components to genuine salvation will be present: faith and repentance. Augustine believed and he turned from his sins. No, he did not instantly become perfect. That process would only be completed at his death. But the process had begun. Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ and fighting his flesh would remain priorities for the rest of his life.
Would you admit that these are priorities in your life as well?
Are you “behaving properly”?
Mediate on these questions today. The topic is truly that important.
If these practices do indeed describe you at this point in your life, you will experience moments that will prove to be little tastes of heaven. And that is nothing but the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ and the absence of sin.
Both realities are glorious!