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Bob had been a Christian for about 6 years and had come to Dallas to head up a major city wide evangelistic campaign, hosting a daily radio program and working with some of the largest churches in America. He was beginning to think he was close to reaching the ultimate in Christian maturity - until one day he took his wife shopping at the mall. Crowded and busy like this time of year parking was at a premium. Seeing 2 empty spaces right near the entrance as he approached his “answer to prayer” a guy driving a shiny new sports car pulled into that spot straddling the line.


At first Bob thought it was an accident, so he rolled down his window and said nicely, “Sir, you probably haven’t noticed, but you’ve taken up 2 spaces.” He gave Bob a quick glance and with a smirk said, “I know it.” As he got out of his car, Bob got a good look at him. He was middle-aged, with flecks of gray in his well groomed hair. His shirt was open down the front, revealing numerous gold chains dangling over what looked like a “chest toupee.” Bob felt instant and total dislike for that man. A little more forcefully Bob responded, “Well, would you please repark it, so I can use one of the spaces?” Holding out his arm to escort a much younger-looking girl, the man replied, “No.”


At that moment all those years of being a child of God didn’t mean a thing to Bob. His mood was now murderous. “Buddy,” He said through clenched teeth, “if you don’t move that car I’m going to stuff you in the tailpipe and move it for you!” Bob started to get out of his car, fully intending to do what he said. However, his wife Amy looked at him as if he’d lost his mind, and said so. Bob told her that it wasn’t his mind that he was worried about losing; it was that parking space! Suddenly Bob stopped. “What are you doing?” He asked himself. “You were perfectly willing – in fact, excited to give up your thriving, lucrative business to go into full-time ministry, but you are ready to fight another person rather than give up that parking space!”


Having finally come to his senses, He spent the next several minutes maneuvering his car through the lot, driving mostly in reverse. His goal was to keep the guy with the foreign car from seeing his rear bumper – the one with the sticker that said, “Smile! Jesus loves you.”


Have you ever been there? In spite of a sincere and genuine faith in Jesus Christ, have you ever suddenly found yourself acting in a stupid manner, as if you never heard of the gospel? If we’re totally honest, we’d all admit to such times. All of us can forget who we are and what we believe in an unexpected moment of time. We’ve all heard those voices, either real or imagined: “I thought you were a Christian!” comes the sneer. “I thought I was too,” we respond in disgust. “How could I do such a thing?” Of course besides “unexpected moments,” Christians can choose to live in a determined and long-term manner that’s contrary to what God’s Word says as well. In fact, we all have areas of our lives where we face ongoing struggles with temptation and failure. And we sometimes wonder if we’ll ever begin making progress in this Christian life. Growing in grace begins by being honest with ourselves and God by recognizing a need for God and for growing in grace.

(This illustration comes from the book "Growing In Grace" by Bob George pages 9-10.)

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