The month was April. The year was 1999. I was in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. I happened to be speaking to an all-female group of Christ followers.
Women from all over the bottom half of the state of Alabama had converged at a hotel in that city to take part in a four-day retreat, and I had been invited to speak to them.
There are two things I remember about this retreat. One is that year’s second-runner-up to Miss America, Allison McCreary of Alabama, performed special music for the entire retreat. Secondly, something happened during my fourth and final session with the ladies that I haven’t to this day forgotten.
When I speak for a retreat, at the end of the final session, I always give everyone present an opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior. This time was no different.
At the close of the service, I offered my usual invitation to any and all who wanted to accept Christ into their lives to come forward if they desired to do so. In this particular church, there was an altar placed at the front of the sanctuary where people could come to kneel and pray.
As women came forward to the altar, the rest of the attendees sat quietly at their seats and prayed.
After about 15 minutes or so, I noticed there was a group of women talking and praying with one particular woman. All but this one group had finished praying and had gone back to their seats and all were continuing to pray softly for the last woman at the altar.
About 10 minutes later, one of the women from the group came over to me and asked if I would go and talk with this woman and reason with her. As harsh and cruel as this may sound, but with love in my heart, I said, “No, when she’s ready to accept Christ, no one will have to push her, pull her, beg her or reason with her — and when she is ready she will see her sin in the same way God sees all of our sin … and she will not walk to him, she will run.”
I told the woman I thought it would be best if they left her alone and let the Holy Spirit deal with her, whether it be today, next week or if she never accepts him at all. He has to be the one to draw her to himself. She will not be able to ride the fence.
In truth, there really is no fence to ride. She will accept Christ, repent and become a Christ follower or she will continue to live in her own sin.
I don’t know to this day if this woman ever came to Christ. But I do know God, through the Holy Spirit, was faithful to do his part with her. He was faithful to draw her to himself. But he couldn’t do her part, nor can he do our part. We have to be the one to accept God’s precious gift of Jesus Christ.
No one can make us.
Don’t allow Satan to let anyone deceive you and don’t deceive yourself. Just as there is no such thing as being a little bit pregnant, there is no such thing as being a little bit of a Christ follower.
You are either pregnant or you are not. You are either a Christ follower totally or you are a follower of yourself and you carry the weight of your own sin. You either see your own sin as God sees it or you do not.
Which have you decided to do?
Joshua 24:15 says: “… choose you this day whom you will serve … as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Nita Evans of Columbus is owner of Confidential Christian Counseling, focusing her work especially with ministry leaders and their families. She also is a Columbus Police Department chaplain and a national retreat and conference speaker. She can be reached at 812-614-7838 or by visiting specialspeaker.com.