Today, I spent my first 24 hours as a person who knows what it is not only to be spiritually on the right path, living in a state of vigilance and humility, but to know that I have in fact been of use to someone trying to live the same way.
I, Steven Keith Fortt, Sr., in all my unworthy sinfulness; in all my indulgent selfishness, cloying bitterness, and flesh-removing malice, have been set free from the iron chains of my sin and all their dark whisperings and lying, faithless promises. Not from anything I have done, or anything I deserve, as neither are possible for me or any other living soul. I have finally accepted the grace of God and their compounding gifts:
- The gift of acknowledging that I am comprised of the things I have listed above and more... they are the sum of my sinful parts, and by *no* power of my own can I be free of them. Knowledge of the truth, and getting over myself long enough to be set free by that knowledge, even as the Lord Himself said.
- The gift of both recognizing that my pride is the source of my sin, and no longer wanting to live the way *I* want to live, but as God wants me to live. This is in and of itself an enormous discovery. I must die to myself. Every day. There must be no more *me*. I must be surgically removed. I must die, daily, that the Holy Spirit may take over and allow Jesus to be seen in me. Otherwise, every time I speak, or think, or act, the selfish, bitter, malicious creature that I am is what is heard and seen, and granted dominion over my body's temple. I am only the steward of this body. We are *all* only stewards of the flesh we inhabit, and our bodies are not our own, no matter what society says. It is the Lord's Temple, and God can not dwell where there is sin. God is the Master.
- The gift of recognizing that no human being can stand in the path of sin and let it inundate them. This I realized only within the last few days... when you stand and expose yourself to Satan's sweetly baited, cruelly barbed hooks, they *will* take you within their slavering jaws. I have learned that they must be fled from; that fleeing from sin is not an act of cowardice, but of prudence: I must flee from all the triggers that would seduce me into assuming the Dark Armor's seductive, destructive mantle.
- The gift of being able to both seek and receive forgiveness for all my sin. All the things I am comprised of that separate me from God are removed by receiving this gift. As long as I remain focused on the Lord, vigilant over asking God to empty me of *myself* and replaced with the Lord's Spirit, I receive the holiness of the One who ransomed me in exchange for the wrath of God that are the wages of my sin.
- The gift of true appreciation for the unfathomable value of the love God has for me. John 3:16 has insufficiently acknowledged depth. I was separate from God by the curse of sin from before I was born, yet God wanted me to be connected with Him so much that he picked the best that He had, Jesus, His only begotten Son, Who loves His Father and seeks only to please Him, and sent Him here to die, so that by His perfect human life slain on my behalf, all my sins are forgiven. He was connected to His Father for every single moment, until the instant He obeyed and bore my sin and yours, and the Father He loves turned His face from Him. Why? Because the wages of sin is death, and Jesus' act of taking our sins onto Himself made His Father treat Him as you and I deserve to be treated. I did something so simple as drop my own son at day care, see the agony of that separation on his face as he reached for me and cried real tears of pain... remember my own pain at having to leave my own father when I was a child, and I began to comprehend an nth of what it must have meant for the Messiah, nailed in agony on the cross, to be suddenly separated from His Father. I can not think of it even now without my own tears burning my eyes.
- The gift of knowing I do not have to be afraid for myself anymore. That peace alone has no price, and I have it. It "is not a popularity contest," my brother in all but blood, Cyril Jermin, allowed the Holy Spirit to lead him to say recently, "it is a death sentence." Knowing this, my only fear remaining is not passing on this truth, allowing my children to attain this peace, before I pass from the earth.
- The gift of knowing I can help others in their walk with Jesus. That is the purpose of this blog; to share as the Lord wills it in my life, tell of my own human struggle to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Jesus. I have been used already to help someone in this regard, and am so thoroughly humbled and appreciative that the Lord would use me, with all my unworthiness, to help and inspire other children of God who love Him and seek to do His will, has left me in stunned silence.
More to come.
Thanks be to God. All the glory is His alone.