by Rebecca Wade
"Hand this man over to satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord."
1 Corinthians 5:5
family attended church every Sunday…and Wednesday…and any other day the doors were open. We
attended private school. We had extravagant vacations. We read bible stories and prayed every night. I had a wonderful childhood but around 13 yrs old, something happened. I don’t know what or why…but I changed. I became very rebellious, promiscuous, secretive, deceptive…I can’t think of a single positive thing to say about myself during those years, which unfortunately lasted until I met my husband. Even our relationship began with deception and lying – he was married. This came as a tragedy to my parents that their firstborn, their daughter, was going to marry a twice divorced man with a child. Our marriage was predicted a failure before it even began. But here we are, 11 years later…with 3 beautiful boys and a healthy and happy and amazing marriage!! But it hasn’t always been this way.
My husband often quotes my mother’s advice from the day we married -- “Marriage isn’t about love, cause some days you won’t love her, it’s about commitment!” And if this hadn’t been his mantra we probably wouldn’t have survived the 7 yr itch - it does exist; at least it did in our marriage. The rebellion that had disappeared when I met Trey was back. But he never forgot the words my mother told him…”it’s about commitment”…and he was committed! He loved me in spite of my rebellion and was committed to see me through my rebellion. We held nothing back, were completely honest, shared ugly truths, cried our eyes out, but held each other close and tight…we negotiated a plan to make our marriage work. Little did I know then that the moment of compromise was the beginning of the end of my rebellion.
The next 3 years of our marriage were littered with sin and filth…reckless decisions and many mistakes. Of course at that time, I didn’t see clearly. My conscience was seared, my judgment clouded. And here’s where this verse comes in…"Hand this man over to satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord." - 1 Corinthians 5:5. Paul is talking about a Christian who is sinning and unwilling to change his behavior! Paul recommends to the church that the unnamed man be put out of the church, thrown into the “world” – the devil’s domain - so satan would have full access to the man. He was spiritually handed over to satan?! YES! The man was allowed to wallow in the pit of sin so long that he may die to his flesh and sinful desires; it would become so miserable and painful that he would cry out to God for grace and mercy!!
I was that unnamed man…disobedient and blatantly defiant.
As cliché as it sounds, it was a slow fade. It didn’t happen overnight. One day at a time, I purposely abandoned God’s will in my life. I placed my wants over my desire to seek and follow Him. I intentionally continued in sin and left the place of God’s protection and refuge. I exchanged my peace for moments of pleasure that would lead to great pain. God provided many opportunities for me to willingly turn from my sin, but with clouded judgment I didn’t heed the warnings. I was never comfortable in my sin though, underneath the façade my heart ached. I was hurting, I was disappointed, I was angry, but most of all I was afraid. I WAS MISERABLE IN MY PIT OF SIN!!! And while I was wallowing in that pit, I removed myself from God’s protection.
Sin brings complications that we can’t foresee – one of those is discipline. The degree and severity of His discipline was determined by my response to it. Ultimately, He gave me over to my flesh…so that it could be destroyed. I was handed over for the destruction of my rebellion. Yet, He didn’t discipline me out of anger, but out of love instead. He loves me so much!
At just the right moment, His gentle hand of mercy touched me, holy and just...His timing perfect. You see, God knows far better than I know; God’s plans are far greater than my plans; God’s love is far deeper than my love. Because HE knew that when given over to my fleshly desire I would eventually die, not physically die, but die to self.
In Romans 6 it says “our old way of life was nailed to the cross,” the old self was crucified with Christ - not for the destruction of man, but for the salvation of his spirit – and “If we get included in Christ's sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection.” Isn’t that an amazing thing about God? Despite all my failures, there is power in my repentance. He raises from the dead and promises to "restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten"(Joel 2:25).
Natural consequences of my sin hurled me into a place of pain, and when the pain was great enough, I cried out to God in repentance and begged for His mercy. I asked God to forgive me for what I had done...forgive me that the story of the birth and life and death of His Son was not enough for me to grasp the severity of my sins...forgive me for not appreciating the price that was paid or the sacrifice His Son made...forgive me for not opening my heart to Him and to His Word...forgive me for stepping out of His will. The moment I realized that I was forgiven and how much He still loved me…that was the moment I grieved for my sins and the “years the locust hath eaten.” I then trusted in God's promise to restore what had been taken from me.
The Father lifted me up and out and it didn’t end there. He was true to His Word and began blessing me and restoring to me that which I had lost. What an amazing God I serve…that He loved me so much, in spite of my filthy sin, that He sent His ONLY son who lived a perfect life and died a sacrificial death…to give His life as ransom for me! His death did not cancel my debt but marked it paid in full. I have been bought at a price and set free!
I was a woman handed over to satan, so my sinful nature would be destroyed and MY spirit saved on the day of the Lord.
~The Wade Family~
For His glory,