Before my life with Christ, my running buddies and I had a saying posed in the form of a question: “Who’s a man?” It was a question we’d ask before a good party, a hard fight, or an evening of whoring around. We were convinced that real men did what they wanted, that they chased down and fulfilled every desire. We’d bought the lie of the evil one – there is no moral authority; desires are made to be chased; freedom means doing whatever we want. Buying into that lie, we’d become lawless rednecks. We were rough, tough, and sometimes violent. We ran hard as the Devil, convinced we had no need for the Almighty. In fact, Jesus himself might have been speaking about the boys and me when he said,
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
Son of the Devil as I was, I didn’t care a lick about changing my ways, and I wasn’t ashamed to say as much. If you’d have known me back in those days, you’d have said I’d be the last person to darken the doors of a church. I was a lost cause, too far gone. Why wasn’t I interested in changing my ways even though I felt so empty? Why wasn’t I interested in reforming even after I lost my teaching job in Junction City, even after a lost my bar and trailer, even in the days just after Miss Kay left? For starters I had no idea what it really meant to be free. I’d never been told the good news about Jesus, the news that would set me free from the lies of the enemy and the misery those lies brought. I’d never been told I could escape sin, shame, and the grave. I had no idea I could have eternal health care, free of charge. But add to that the fact that I watched folks going in and coming out of their Sunday morning church services, and for the most part, they didn’t seem all that different from me. Many of them frequented my bar. Some of them ran around the woods with me. And the rest of the Christians I knew didn’t seem to be happy, happy, happy. To put it plainly, Christians didn’t seem to be all that much like Christ.
But unruly as I was, violent as I was, whoremonger that I was, my sister, Jan, never gave up on me. Sure, she believed in me, but more importantly, she believed the power of God could free me. Jan knew the truth: God wasn’t dead. In fact, he was quite alive and he had the power to rescue me from the chaos of my life. She knew how to put feet to her faith too. And so she dragged the preacher-man Bill Smith into the darkest place to reach me – a backwoods beer joint.
Years after my baptism, Jan told me how much she believed in the power of God’s love to change my life. She told me what she’d said to Bill before they walked into that bar to share the gospel with me. “Bill,” she said, “if you lead Phil to Jesus, he’ll bring thousands along with him”. What did she see in me? I’ll never know. But I know this much: everyone needs a sister who believes in the truth of God as much as Jan.
Turns out Jan was right. Eventually, after my life fell apart, after I found myself hollowed out and imprisoned by my own desires, after Bill Smith led me into the waters of baptism, I discovered the power of Jesus’ words: “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). I’ve experienced the true freedom that comes when we turn our backs on the lies of the evil one and walk in the power of the Almighty – freedom from sin, from guilt, from a law of works I could never keep, from the grave itself. That’s why I share the saving message of Jesus with everyone I come across. That’s why I tell them how it will set them free if only they’ll trust it. And though I haven’t kept a strict count of the number of folks who’ve come to Jesus through my message, I reckon Jan was right. Hundreds, if not thousands, have come to faith because I’ve shared this message. And it all started with Jan.
My story isn’t a testament to me. It’s a testament to the saving power of a living and loving God. It’s the story of how the truth of Jesus can change one man, how it can spread through one man to feed thousands – friends, business acquaintances, customers, and television viewers alike.
So here’s my parting shot, America. Pay attention to the marching orders Jesus left us:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19-20)
Rest assured: until I take my last breath, I aim to carry out these orders. Join me in the mission of proclaiming the truth of God’s love to an America who’s been sold a bill of goods, a country who is intent on kill’n God. And as you go into the darkest places to preach that truth, know this: Jesus is with you as you go, all the way to the end.
Phil Robertson appears this Monday on LIFE TODAY. Taken from The Theft Of America’s Soul: Blowing the Lid Off the Lies That Are Destroying Our Country by Phil Robertson. Copyright ©2019 by Phil Robertson. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com.