It is a frequently repeated story. This man (Call him George. No one here has ever met him.) had been in a fully controlled environment for almost a decade. He was in and out of bed at prescribed times. He ate when he was told, exercised when directed, worked when ordered and
then returned to his cell and locked down for the night. Prison life allows very little freedom, and it was in that structure that the message of Jesus pierced his heart. He was on fire for the Lord, and then he was released.
He quickly landed a good job and associated with a church. He married and fathered a child. Then the world stuck its nose into their little home, and the marriage hit some major bumps. It began to crumble and eventually failed. Divorce sent George and His young son to another state. He settled into a new job in his old home town. The world beckoned. He looked and listened. There was no mention of a new congregation. His fire flickered.
The drift is very subtle. He did not simply leap into anything really bad or illegal. It isn’t like he went back to his old drug-running days. Nothing like that. Golf became his passion. That is innocent enough, but Sunday mornings became his favorite time to play. Eighteen holes took precedence over gathering with the Lord’s church. He takes his son along. He’s learning. This is not an incident from history, nor is it a fictional account. This is happening right this minute as a once-dedicated man loses his way. His influence will echo forever.
The next step was into the nightlife. No longer just driving, chipping and putting; he has a lady and they hit the bars together. Golf. Girls. Neither is bad unless they drive a wedge between us and the Lord. They have with George. Nobody knows who influenced whom, but both are on the broad road to destruction. It is sad to watch, especially in view of who he once was and who he is now.
It wasn’t a sudden leap. It was a gradually drift. Scripture warns us about the potential (Hebrews 2:1-4) and the consequences of returning to that which we have escaped (2 Peter 2:20-22). It is horrible to have known and obeyed the truth that delivered us from the world and then go back. Peter uses grotesque language to describe such a fall. It is a trade of salvation for slavery.
He was special, a real dynamo for the Lord, and then the world got him. It is scary to think that it could happen to a man like him, and then we realize that we are all vulnerable. It was a choice for George: Golf, good times or God? He has set his priorities. The Lord came in third. Perhaps, he will repent. He could, but what if he doesn’t?