Getting back into the swing of things after vacation but here’s a quote worth remembering that Andy Naselli highlights: Mark Driscoll’s (and Gerry Breshears’s) Death by Love: Letters from the Cross (Wheaton: Crossway, 2008; cf. the official website) includes a chapter entitled “‘Lust Is My God’: Jesus Is Thomas’s Redemption.” Here’s how Driscoll movingly concludes a brutally straightforward letter to a man named Thomas, who is enslaved to lust (pp. 67–68):
What scares me most is that I am so very much like you. We both grew up poor. We both grew up as highly competitive jocks. We both grew up smarter and tougher than most of the people we knew. We both saw our first porn magazine at an early age. We both had sex with our first girlfriend in our teens. We both had violent tempers that intimidated other people. We both graduated with honors as good students and respected leaders. We both went to college intent on fighting, partying, and having a lot of sex with hot girls.
Yet, unlike you, Jesus grabbed me by the neck and redeemed me from the life I was pursuing. I thought I would get married some day, have a few kids, make a lot of money running some company, commit adultery and look at porn on the side (but seek to manage it so that it did not affect my family), lose my temper now and then to cuss out my wife and kids, and still attend church occasionally, because I considered myself a good spiritual person.
Since Jesus redeemed me from the life I was headed for, things could not be more different. To be honest, I am actually quite surprised that I have been faithful to my wife since I met her in 1988. I’m equally surprised that I have not been in a fight since Jesus redeemed me.
The truth is that you and I are exactly alike in every way but one. Despite the fact that I have not lived in sexual sin as you have, the Bible says that regardless of all the “good” things I did as a non-Christian, I was corrupt and dominated by sinful desires at the core. By redeeming me from one way of life and redeeming me to another way of life, though, Jesus has done something remarkable for me and has saved me from myself. My life is going well; much better, in fact, than the life I had planned for myself. He has given me a new heart so my deepest desires are like his. None of it, however, is the result of my own doing, because I am not a great guy; rather, Jesus is a great God.
Thomas, as I heard your story some weeks ago, as I have prayed for you since, and as I write this letter today, I have to confess that it has really troubled me that, apart from Jesus, I think we’re basically the exact same guy. I don’t like to admit it, but we are pretty much the same except for the one difference that makes all the difference—Jesus has redeemed me. So, I’m praying that you turn from sin to him so that he can redeem you as well. If you do, let me know. Until then, I will pray. It all comes down to you and Jesus. You are more evil than you have ever feared, and more loved than you have ever hoped.