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Hey, sounds like somewhere I've been. It's a shame it took me so long to realize that if books of Christian tactics and self-help really were able to do what the authors so eagerly claimed they would do, we wouldn't have such a huge outcrop of new books from the Christian publishers every year, with people simply buying more and more books. The other sad thing is that when we secretly realize that we can't do it, we have to put on a better front to the world and at least *pretend* as though it's working, and hopefully convince ourselves for a little while as we go. But we can't really convince ourselves forever.

Confusion of Law and Gospel... possibly the #1 cause of Bible interpretation problems.

Adam Roe

Great story, Chris. It sounds very similar to my own. I am in the Lutheran Church primarily because it became clear to me that I was unable to "win" the battle over sin.


I enjoyed reading your post.



When I read this I didn't know wheter to laugh or cry.

What has happened to Christianity that people can invent such lame and useless ideas for dealing with our sin and then get a forum on 'Christian Radio' to sell us this poison?

I'm looking forward to part two of this story.

Thanks Chris. I appreciate your willingness to open yourself up a little.


I, too, and looking forward to the rest of the story.

And as a side note, the tactic of not-thinking-of-something is a Zen Buddhism exercise in achieving some higher level of thought, as in, "Don't think of a cat. When you are not thinking of a cat and know you are not thinking of a cat, you have attained the next level."
This is just another example of Eastern mystical thought infiltrating the Christian worldview.

Wayne Roberts


Thanks for bringing us the story of the "Luther" moment in your life. BTW R.C. Sproul is doing a series on Renewing Your Mind called, "The Drama of Redemption". Chris I think that is an apt title for your story.


As I was reading this I was thinking of something that I had heard before attributed to Luther (sorry, I don't have a reference):

(Paraphrased) When you see temptation and sin in front of you, pray.

At first it sounds like the polar bear, but it really isn't. Didn't Jesus teach us to pray, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil"? By praying when we see the temptation or sin we are taking the power out of our hands (polar bear method) and putting it into God's hands.



God is good. I am dealing with this right now in my life, and I had my own Luther moment today. Coming to this blog, it feels like this Grace v Law series was written just for me. I'm glad to know that others who were raised in the Nazarene Church (as I was) have had the same revelations. I can't remember ever feeling like grace was available. Thanks for writing this.


Thanks Chris, My joureny has some similar elements. I was raised Pentecostal. I have spent my entire adult life shedding layer after layer of that onion. Even while unknowingly wrapping myself in new versions. The highest calling of my church was to be in full-time ministry. I became a missionary. The Mission's highest calling was to live in poverty, seek and obtain direct daily marching orders from God Himself , and "go" with action being more important than training. I left the mission after 15 years. That was 8 years ago. Two years ago I began a full-scale war against The God I Know.

I was failing consistently at everything I did, could barely provide for my family, was holding my marriage together by a thread. When I came to realize that everytime I thought of success, of obtaining a creature comfort, of providing for my family beyond a subsistence level "He" would speak. The message was always the same: that is ungodly, you pursue success against my wishes. It was a hideous and cruel form of legalism.

The tipping point came when I was listening to a teaching tape on being a Christian businessman. An all too familiar story was given. God led the teacher into a course of action. It was successful. But then because the teacher did ONE thing wrong, something not listed as wrong in scripture, something he had no way of knowing was wrong, but because of that God said, Well you blew it, I withdraw my blessing. And his business failed. He lost everything.

That was the God I Knew. I was devestated. I could never succeed at anything with his blessing, because someway somehow my thoughts or actions or desires were going to offend him and just when I thought I had success He would take it away.

When I became aware of this "voice"/feeling/thought/internal conflict I became angry. I went to war with the God I Know. That is his name. Everytime those legalistic thoughts would arise I would go into an absolute rage, drowning them out with my own voice, yelling "POLAR BEAR!!!!" LOL. Just kidding. No I can't type what I said to the GIK. I came to veiw him as demonic. I noticed that he never had any comeback. I would say the most awful, horrendeous things and "he" would shut up.

I maintained that out there somewhere was The Real God, I knew what he was supposed to look like/be like but I accepted that I did not know Him. I wanted to though, and asked that he reveal himself. I was greeted by deafening silence.

So I just continue on my journey. Godless. I kinda hope He is out there somewhere, but at least without the God I Know I am for the first time in a decade free of depression - really, just free - experiencing liberty for the first time in my life. I live free of guilt. I kind of smiled as I read the "short skirt" story, remembering when looking would mean sin and guilt. It doesn't anymore. That is freedom.

Theresa K.

Chris, Derek and everyone else who has comented on this post - it is refreshing, encouraging, yet sad, to read this story. I started keeping my blog after reading this same story over and over on others' blogs. I look forward to part II and beyond.

To Derek who writes: "I knew what he was supposed to look like/be like but I accepted that I did not know Him." That, my friend, is why God reached out to draw us to Him through the atoning sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. We can't ever know God, reach out to Him successfully or do one single thing to please him, yet God still desired us so He provided a way. Don't waste time waiting for God to speak to you; He has already spoken. You were abused at the hands of well-meaning, but lost, souls; don't let them continue to rob you of God's act of reaching down to you to save your soul and your life.

Char Johnson

We, as a ministerium, had Jay Carty in two years to help us understand we could stand, resist temptation and take back ground previously available to the enemy. It's not a matter of Zen Buddhism, but of thinking on those things which are true, lovely, pure, honest, of good report rather than 'bared flesh'/immodest attire, gold or glory. Temptation does not come from God, but His grace will not suffer/allow us to be tempted sans means of escape. We must resist the enemy's wiles and he will flee. The analogy of putting a two year old to bed is apt.

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