Last night at the jail, my message was on our imperfection but His perfection – about Him reconciling us to be more like Him – about experiencing His touch upon our lives now, not just after our hearts have stopped beating. It was about coming broken daily to see His healing and correction continue to take place in our lives. It was about looking not at ourselves, but looking to Christ for our salvation.
I started out the message singing a very broken and imperfect delivery of the children’s song “Jesus loves Me”, standing in that cell block amongst some who were attending the Bible Study and many who sat in their bunk areas far away. This was clearly a broken and imperfect performance as the song lifted out of my range and my voice cracked and I even laughed at myself at one point. You see, I can normally sing fairly well, but I had asked the Lord to use me however was best to deliver His message tonight, not so that I would receive any glory or honor. And for a message on imperfection, He was doing a great job of it in the opener – and I started into the message, letting the Holy Spirit guide us along the night’s journey into the Word of God.
In the middle of the message, I was mentioning Galatians 5 and someone said their translation had the word “debauchery” and they asked what it meant. My immediate thoughts trying to explain this old word that is rarely used today went to sexual immorality and promiscuity, but it covers so much more than that. My answer was imperfect and left room for improvement – yet again demonstrating that we don’t have to be perfect (nor will we be this side of judgement) in order to share testimony and truth about the Word of God.
You see, it isn’t just about sexual things, but it means any excessive indulgence that separates us from walking in the Spirit and giving God glory. I’m thankful for my brother, Michael Mcleymore, who was there beside me, ready to quickly assist with greater clarification, explaining that it could be anything taken too far, even wasting our day away playing video games or watching TV in excess instead of using the day for the glory of God.
It is about excess. Taking the things of this earth that exist for our survival, for our health, for our enjoyment – and perverting their use from their natural intended purpose for which we should be giving God thanks and praise, and instead perverting them into something excessive and distracting from God’s glory.
And it all comes down to who is the Lord of our life. It comes down to our individual choices and decisions, moment to moment, breath by breath, and who we are choosing to serve and glorify with those choices. Whether we are using our lives for their intended purpose of bringing Him glory and honor – sharing the Good News, loving and serving others, making disciples, equipping the saints, walking in the Spirit, and obeying His commandments – or if we have made it about ourselves and we are proving it by our excessive enjoyment of worldly pleasures and lack of concern for God and for others.
Settling and getting comfortable with our own imperfections will allow them to grow into debauchery. But walking this path of reconciliation with Christ, seeking His healing touch daily will help us identify, cut away, cast off, and be delivered from those things that have no place in the life of a vessel of the Holy Spirit. Choosing to feed the flesh with individual decisions will exercise those fleshly desires in our lives, or choosing to submit and walk in the Spirit will exercise His strength in overcoming those temptations and evil influences in our lives.
So we should ask ourselves, not whether we are perfect or imperfect – because if we don’t recognize that we are imperfect, how deep have we fallen into the darkness. But we should ask ourselves, what path am I choosing to walk, the narrow path that is seldom chosen, or the broad way that leads to destruction?
de·bauch·er·y dəˈbôCHərē/ noun
noun: debauchery; plural noun: debaucheries
excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures.
“a life of self-absorption and debauchery”
dissipation, degeneracy, corruption, vice, depravity;
immodesty, indecency, perversion, iniquity, wickedness, sinfulness, impropriety, immorality;
lasciviousness, salaciousness, lechery, lewdness, lust, promiscuity, wantonness, profligacy;
decadence, intemperance, sybaritism;
Ephesians 5:18 ESV
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
Galatians 5:19-21 ESV
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Romans 13:13 ESV
Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.
Romans 1:26-27 ESV
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
2 Timothy 3:16 ESV
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
Ephesians 5:1-33 ESV
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.