Focus On God 14:38  “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Dearly Beloved:  May God’s grace, peace, joy and love be ever upon you.  There are a lot of distractions in this world.  Things like sex, drugs, money, lust, toys and gambling.  My biggest distraction has always been women.  In the four years that I have been incarcerated, I have sworn off women.  I haven’t even considered them.  For the most part, I’ve kept my focus on God.  I have never been good at choosing the right women.  Thus, after becoming a Christian, I made up my mind to remain single.  Besides, what woman would want to marry a lifer?  I am broke and I can’t take care of her physical needs.  All I have to offer is love, devotion, loyalty and support.  Without my physical presence, that is not enough for most women.  Over the years, a few have reached out to me, but I just brushed them off – not wanting to take a chance of being hurt.  I am a man and GOD gives me strength, but I still have feelings just like almost everyone else.  (I have met some in my time who are truly heartless.)

Some months back I began corresponding with a very beautiful woman.  I was in a very depressed and vulnerable state at the time.  I kept her at arms length at first.  I intended only to be a friend to her.  Well, after several months of getting to know her I became smitten with her.  She had been through a lot and like me, she’s a survivor.  Her story touched me deeply and made me want to love and protect her.  I struggled and fought my feelings, but in the end I succumbed to them and entered into a relationship with the object of my desire.  My studies got tossed to the side.  Thoughts of her consumed my mind.  I was so desperate for love and affection.  It has been so long since I’ve known the love of a woman.  I was thirsty for companionship of the female persuasion.  So much so that I became blinded.  My pastor, Tom, and his wife Terry, tried to warn me to slow down.  They wisely told me that I am on a different level than her spiritually – she being a very new Christian.  They told me to keep my focus on the Lord, but it was no use.  I was hooked.  Satan was selling me a dream and I bought it.  I felt like a teenager again.  I was giddy and cheerful.  We rushed into a relationship.  We even talked of marriage.  Mind you, we hadn’t even met yet.  Our impression of one another was based on pictures, calls and letters.  Finally, she came to visit me and I could tell the spark was gone on her part.  You see, due to publicity generated by my case, I have some notoriety.  Fame has a way of turning a person into a novelty.  It seems that once she met me, the novelty wore off.  In the end, I suppose I wasn’t what she expected.  I was no longer exciting.  And so, as is her nature, she moved on to the next attraction in search of new thrills.

I am admittedly disappointed, but I am not heartbroken.  In fact, I am relieved.  You see, for the thirty days that I was in a relationship, I had put this woman on a pedestal and made her the center of my life.  I was convicted over that and prayed several times to ask the Lord’s forgiveness because I knew I was wrong.  Thou shalt not put anything before the LORD.  What I was doing is the equivalent to worshiping idols and false gods.  You see, anything that you put before the Lord becomes your false god.  I knew that something was wrong with the relationship I had with this woman.  And so I prayed, “LORD, if she is not the one for me, then remove her from me.”  And I believe that HE did.  Am I still lonely? Yes, prison is a lonely place.  Do I still crave the love of a woman?  Yes, that is human nature.  None of us want to be alone, but we must always keep our focus on GOD.  I had put my Savior to the side.  The one who not only stopped a bullet from voiding my life, but saved my eternal soul from burning forever in the fiery pits of hell.  I did that for a woman who doesn’t truly love me; when I know full well that JESUS loves me unconditionally and infinitely.  He died on the cross for me and all it took was some sweet talk and a few false promises spoken from a pretty face to turn my attention away from HIM.  LORD have mercy on me!  Shame on me!

You know what?  JESUS still loves me.  HE forgave me and took me back with open arms.  HE let me learn a very valuable lesson.  Satan will use all types of dirty tricks and temptations to lure us away from GOD and cause us to sin.  I am not the first.  Just read Judges chapter 16 (the story of Samson and Delilah) or 2nd Samuel (the story of David and Bathsheba).  The devil has been using women to tempt men since the beginning of creation.  I gave the devil an opening and he took it.  Thank the LORD that my prayers were heard and the temptation was removed from me.  JESUS rescued me from myself again.  Hallelujah!  Praise his name!  All glory be to GOD!  Amen!  I thought that because I had been serving the LORD for four years that I was strong enough and wise enough to make the right choice.  I was wrong and so I got stung a little.  Thanks be to GOD I have bounced back and landed on my feet. And, I am stronger now.  Lesson learned. Most importantly, my focus is back where it belongs – on the LORD.

I am not at all angry at the woman who was the source of my calamity.  She is still dear to me and I hope we remain friends.  What happened is not her fault.  I, being the more mature Christian, should have known better.  She is much more fragile and vulnerable than I.  She has endured a lot in life and it is going to take a long time for her to get her life on track.  I had no business pursuing a relationship with her.  As a Christian man, I must accept and acknowledge my faults in order to grow.  As I said in my last post, we are engaged in spiritual warfare.  Thus, we must not be angry with the pawns.  Our beef is with the devil who is using and controlling them.  She and I were both leading each other astray.  In the end, it was my own loneliness and desperation that caused me to lose focus.  I won this battle, thanks be to GOD, but the war is far from over.  I must remain vigilant and on guard at all times.  For there are many, many battles ahead.  My beloved, stay on point.  Don’t let your guard down.  And, if you shall fall and lose focus, remember to reach out to JESUS for HE shall pick you up again.  I leave you with this:
Philippians 4:8  “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

May God bless and keep you!  May you stay on guard!  May you keep your focus on GOD!
Love in Christ,
(A man who struggles to keep his focus on GOD)