Summary: Living your new identity in these broken world.
We come to part five of Identity Check: Living a Verified Life. I hope you've been reading through the book of 1 Peter, and I hope it has been reading through you, because again, like I always say, that's exactly how our lives are changed. It's not just reading a Word. It's allowing that Word to read you and then obeying and submitting to that very Word.
My father passed away just after I got out of high school. My father went on to be with the Lord, and it wasn't long after I got out of high school. The short time I had with my father I thoroughly enjoyed. My dad put a lot of things into my life. My dad deposited a lot of incredible nuggets and wisdom and love and work ethic. You go on and on. I had a good father.
He deposited a lot of that in my life. I desperately miss him, but I know I will see him again, so I'm thankful for that. He did; he put a lot of things into my life. I can stand in front of a bathroom mirror to this very day, and there are often times that I hear my father whisper to my heart. He whispers to my spirit, and I hear him say this. "Is that really who you want to be?"
I want you to know there are going to be times in your life, there will be moments in your life that something will happen that is unforgettable. There will be moments in your life that there will be moments of direction change. There will also be moments in your life where a seed has been planted deep in your heart and your spirit that you don't necessarily respond to right there in the moment, but it begins to grow, and before long, it begins to produce this beautiful harvest that it was intended to produce.
I remember one night in particular when I was young, when I was a teenager, that all three of those converged together. It was a night that I will absolutely never forget as long as I live. It was a night that the direction of my life began to change, and it was a night that a seed was planted deep within my heart that began to produce fruit and began to grow. It was an incredible night, because it was a night of beauty in the middle of a bunch of ugliness.
It was a night that God began to work in my life long before I ever knew he was working in my life. I didn't go out that night as a teenager looking for a lot of trouble. I didn't go out the door that night looking to do something wrong. I really didn't. My heart was raised by my father. He put a lot of good stuff in me, put a lot of good morals in me, told me what kind of man I was supposed to be and how I was supposed to live and how I was supposed to act. Has anybody ever been there?
When I walked out that door, there was no motive to go, "Hey, man…" There was no premeditation. But before long, I found myself under a lot of peer pressure, and I had one of those nights that I gave in to that peer pressure. I had one of those nights that I made a very not-so-good decision. It was a bad decision. I partook of some things I wasn't supposed to partake of. I remember, by the grace of God, I finally made my way home. The only intention I had was to get by my parents, make it down to my bedroom, and go to sleep.
I knew my dad wasn't at home. He was working late, really late that night. I saw his truck up at the shop where he used to own a heating and air conditioning business. When I pulled in, I thought, "Man, I scored." I knew I could just slip right on by my mom. I opened the door, and I walk in, and sure enough, as soon as I step into the kitchen, our living room was just in front of me, and there was my mother and my cousin, Angie.
I did the little quick little, "Hey, guys. How are you doing?" and got ready to turn, and my cousin Angie goes (my mom's name is Janet, "Janet, do you see his eyes?" Uh-oh. My mama called me Stevie. "Stevie, come back here a minute." I come walking back, and I stood in the kitchen. I'm still a good 20 feet from her. I said, "Yeah, mom, what's up?" She said, "Where have you been?"
I tried to explain myself. "What have you been doing?" "I've done nothing, mom. I'm just coming home. I had a good time tonight. I'm going to go downstairs." She said, "Are you sure?" I said, "Absolutely." Then my cousin, Angie, goes, "Janet, he's lying to you. Look at his eyes." I wanted to just… It was like, "Come on, now. You're my cousin. Quit ratting me out." She was only a couple of years older than I was. "Aren't we on the same team?"