The End of the Search for Self-Gratification; the Experiences at the University and the Beginning of the Pursuit of Divine Fulfilment
Introduction to Part 2:
In part one, I recounted most of the significant things I could remember from when I was a young lad to the time I finished A-level. The reader must have realised that I was always conscious about God and that there was a divine hand pulling things together.
In Part 2, I will show that regardless of being very religious, it didn’t help me live my life for the One I knew was my foundation and hope. I will also talk about the circumstances around which the Lord met me; the trials and temptations I had to contend with following my surrender to live for Christ. I will show what it means to single-mindedly pursue the divine fulfilment in one’s life.
This part also shows how God can meet us in our daily struggles with temptations and bring us out if we don’t lose focus.
THE EMPTINESS OF PURSUING SELF-GRATIFICATION
The very things that purport to fill life with the sensual pleasures are the very things that make life desperately empty as far as regeneration is concerned. Sensual pleasures degenerate the soul while spiritual pursuits regenerate a life.
The Futility of Self-Gratification
All along I had been very conscious about God’s existence and His ability to chart the course of my life. I also knew that God loved me. What I didn’t know was that head knowledge of His existence and superficial religious rituals was not enough to help me find fulfilment and purpose of life.
I realised that unless one gets the bona fide relationship with God through Christ, one would desperately search for this elusive fulfilment. Personally, I didn’t know that I desperately needed something more than what I thought I needed and that I was frantically looking for it, albeit in the wrong place. It was only after I found it that I knew I had been searching for something I was designed to seek. And when I got it I knew it. What I thought I needed was but a distraction occasioned by the flesh and manipulated by the devil.
With all the divine consciousness I had, prayers; visions, divine encounters and dreams, you would expect me to have been “automatically” saved, or someone who had little or no sin of commission. It was after I got saved that I realised that I had only been religious but that this wasn’t going to help me. I came to understand the difference between being religious and having a relationship with the Son of God our Saviour.
Although I believed that I feared God and pacified myself with religious rituals, I went my own way doing things that I knew were not right before God.
Well before adolescent, I had already surrendered to be drawn to the wrong direction. I won’t say I blamed God but I spiritedly bargained with Him over a powerful instinct He Himself designed in me and of which I found practically unworkable to control. It was my only problem. I loved girls.
I have learnt that the divine guidance doesn’t make us super-spiritual and therefore immune to lapses of the flesh. This is why the Israelites kept on going their own way even after seeing wonderful works of God wrought in their very presence.
The problem is that the incessant pursuit of the things of the flesh only drains the conventional virtues of life and compromises the acceptable social norms.
I believe that our life is like a container. The space in this container must have something to fill it. Until we get the right stuff to occupy this space, we may live a restless life however well we think we are doing. The space is like a vacuum which nature hates. If we fail to fill it with the right stuff, nature with fill it with anything.
There are 4Gs, three of which usually compete to fill the space in a human life: Gold, Girls/Gents and Glory. The fourth G does not compete because He doesn’t lure with sensualities, yet He is the One who brings restfulness and fulfilment. The fourth G is God.
There is the human instinct of craving for more. If one pursues fulfilment in the flesh, the more he gets the more he wants. This kind of pursuit enslaves. If it is chasing after women (men), the more you get the more you want to continue the adventure. For a man, each woman is special in her own way.
If it is chasing after riches, the more wealth one accumulates, the more wealth he will want to accumulate. If it is power, the more power one has the more one will want to surround himself with insurmountable power.
The problem is that the incessant pursuit of the things of the flesh only drains the conventional virtues of life and compromises the acceptable social norms. In other words, the more we pursue the desires of the flesh, the more we degenerate into depravity.
Seeking God is also meant to be unquenchable, that is, the more we get God into our life, the more we need Him. Nevertheless, while the incessant pursuit of self-gratification leads to degeneration, the incessant pursuit of God brings regeneration; the ceaseless pursuit of God brings freedom while the endless quest for the gratification of the flesh enslaves.
For me I was searching to fill this space with women. The more ladies I won the more I believed I was a hero. “Conquering” one lady after another was to me a wonderful life. It was only after getting saved that I realised that I was headed for a disaster.
I Knew the Problem I had
If one is sick and knows it he is better off than the one who is sick and doesn’t even know it. I knew the “sickness” I had and could have sought God’s help had I stopped justifying it. I held that it was God who created the instinct and understands how it was “impossible” to control the instinct.
Although I justified my sexual indulgences, once in a while I would feel condemned in my heart. The condemnation was especially stirred any time I read the sections of the Bible which speak against sexual sin or when someone preached against promiscuity. The Bible does not only speak against sexual sin but also correspondingly and categorically spells out what sexual sin is.
Although I played escapism as best as I could by silencing the reproving thoughts, sometimes it was not easy just brushing the thought aside. One day, after having been with a lady in what was a wonderful time, I felt so condemned until I told her that I may not do what I was doing for long.
You may not believe this but I even use to pray about it and tell God in my prayers that He will have to forgive me because He understood how I was just being human. What amazed me and which never let me off the hook was, If God understood how it was impossible to resist the attractions from the opposite sex, why is the Bible so strict on the matter, and even warning of an imminent damnation?
I didn’t want to face it but at the back of my mind, I knew that I was playing a dangerous game. I didn’t have anything within me that could get me disentangled from lust.
Tribute to Women with Warning
If it was possible to send a petition to God that would make Him modify His creation, I would have pleaded with Him to tone down women’s beauty or remove the sexual association and appeal which goes with her beauty.
I have never been another man other than myself and so I don’t know what men see in women but if the average man sees what I see, then there would be no debate that a woman is the best that was created. Each one has something special to offer:
If she doesn’t hypnotise you by her legs she would by her eyes—have you ever caught eyes with her and get treated to a feminine gaze?
If she doesn’t melt your heart by her smile, she would by her walking style—have you ever seen her swing herself in front of you?
If she fails to capture your attention by her facial beauty, she will by her voice—have you ever heard her talk, sing or laugh? If she is not nagging or quarrelling, her voice can be music to the soul.
If she doesn’t overwhelm you by her dance; she will by her figure—have you seen her appear in the perfect design?
If she doesn’t attract you by her lips, her hair will knock you off your feet—have you ever seen her hair flowing, glittering and sparkling?
It may not be decent to describe her two features: I will call one of them “her sitting allowance” (the reader will figure out what that is) and the other I will describe as what she uses to nourish us when we are new-borns.
To sum it up: She is a lover; she is a mother; she is a sister, and she is a daughter; she is a nurse—her tender hands would get the sick healed if it is a healable condition. She doesn’t have to be perfect to win applause. She only needs to be above average as a mother, lover, sister, etc. and you will thank God for bringing them around if you are the appreciative type.
She is the most powerful factor in a man’s life and that is why the devil has quite a bit of his attention on her—hence a warning: be wary of women!
From the very beginning the most powerful proxy that the devil uses to reach man is a woman. As you read this, many men are losing out with God because of a woman. A woman factor will not leave a man in a neutral position. That is why they say: Behind every successful man there is a woman. And equally so, behind every fallen man there is a woman.
So for ladies, what kind of factor are you going to be for a man—bring him down for the gory annihilation by the devil or raise him up for the glory and exaltation of God?
Lady, you are already beautiful; a man is struggling not to follow you with his eyes, are you going to make it even more difficult for him by the way you dress and expose those “classified” parts of the body that inflames him? Men, what are you going to do? Are you going to help the woman bring out the best in you for God’s glory? How will you appreciate women? Will you view them as sexual objects?
This is where we are: Men were designed to be attracted by women and women were designed to be admired by men. What do we do? Our sexuality is probably the most difficult to manage amongst the instincts we were given. I wish it didn’t have to be that way. Personally I love nature. I can stand and watch a tree or a mountain or an animal, marvelling how God put it together. I wish God also made it in away that I could sit at corner in a social place and follow women with my eyes “appreciating” their beauty without the sexual instinct raising its head. I wonder why God tied women’s beauty with sexuality so that whenever a man stares at a beautiful woman, the sexual nerves begin to process signals.
Selfish Philosophy to Justify Sin
I didn’t even respect people’s wives. I misused my God-given gift of persuasion and likeable personality to win women for myself. I maintained that it was unfair for one to lay exclusive claim over a beautiful woman. Much as I maintained that I never had any ill-will against their husbands, I thought I was just sharing something that I couldn’t deplete for them. I used to argue that if a lady gave me food that she had kept for her husband, it would be unfair because then the husband wouldn’t get anything to eat. On the other hand if she shared love, she would still love her husband the way she chooses.
I was blinded by the fact that I even advised some ladies who were at the verge of leaving their husbands to stay in the marriage. This made me thought that I was not evil after all.
According to me, it was alright if you don’t allow yourself to be caught. As long as we didn’t allow anyone to know about the affairs, it was not bad.
It was after getting saved that Christ’s golden rule not only made sense but also opened my eyes to see my sexual immorality from others’ standpoint. In the Golden Rule Jesus had said: “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31). That made perfect sense. I shouldn’t do to others what I wouldn’t condone that they do to me. If I would expect men to keep away from my wife, I have an obligation to stay away from their wives. If I wouldn’t expect anyone to get sexually involved with my daughter before marriage, I should also keep away from getting sexually involved with someone’s daughter, unless she is my wife. This made a perfect sense, why was I not seeing it before?
While the incessant pursuit of self-gratification leads to degeneration, the incessant pursuit of God brings regeneration.
When this was livened in my heart, my philosophy that one only needs to guard against being found out crumbled. I realised that it is not a matter of being found out—sin is sin whether done in darkness or in the light. Moreover, whatever kind of sin it is, every sin is first and foremost committed against God. When Potiphar’s wife tempted him, Joseph said: “… how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9 italics: my emphasis). When the Prodigal Son came to his senses his penitent rehearsal for home-going included the following statement: “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee (Lk. 15:18, italics: my emphasis).
How could I be so wrong with my attitude towards sexual sin! If I was concerned about being found out by men, couldn’t I not have been even more concerned to be found out by the One who matters most—God? In fact, God didn’t even need to find out, He knew about it and would watch all of it. If I engaged in fornication, did it matter that “nobody” knew apart from my sinning partner? Did it matter that the husband didn’t know?
Jesus’ Golden Rule regulates our perverse human nature. We are wont not to take a second thought fouling somebody but cry foul when the same thing is done to us.
Proceed to Chapter 12