Grace and peace.
Saints, when I wrote my first blog post back in February 2011, I had no idea that it would develop into a ministry. I didn’t have a plan. I neither knew what I wanted to say nor how I wanted to say it. I didn’t have any short- or long-term goals. And I didn’t know what I would do if everything failed. All I knew was that I wanted to serve the Lord Jesus in some way, and the only way I knew to serve Him, besides preaching, was to write and give my testimony.
I try to be honest and glorify the Lord Jesus in everything I do. And so it is with this blog. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I don’t claim to be a prophet, an apostle, or a pastor. And I’m not trying to be some spiritual guru. What I try to do is glorify Jesus Christ by giving you “sound Bible doctrine and sound Bible teaching,” and I do that by sticking to the inerrant Word of the Living God. If it’s not in the Bible, I don’t teach it as doctrine.
It has been said that the difference between your character and your reputation is that your reputation is what people think you are, while your character is what you really are. Since I have been saved, I have always tried to live as honestly as possibly in private as well as in public, and I have tried to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. Sometimes that is hard to do, but it is something, we must do if we are going to glorify the Lord Jesus with our lives. Jesus Christ is the Truth, and, we, as His children, are to worship Him in spirit and in truth. If we live a lie, then we make Him a liar. And Jesus never lies.
Jesus did more than save me: he gave me a ministry. And, Jesus expects more from his ministers than He does from those who are to be ministered unto. While we are not expected to be perfect, Jesus expects us to set the example in all things pertaining to our Christian walk. I come before you to say that I have not done this.
Since about May of 2013 until about a couple of months ago, things had been pretty bad around the Keeton household. Our little family has been through the ringer. That’s really not surprising if you consider the things I write and preach about. Our message has not been well-received by most. Tribulations and trials are part and parcel of the Christian life, but how we handle those trials and tribulations that is important. That’s why I admire Job so much. Even after God took away his children, destroyed his health, bankrupted him, alienated his friends and family, and turned his wife against him, the Bible says, “In all this, did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:10).
I wish the same could be said of me. I must confess that at times—and especially in the last six months or so—I have not been faithful in all things. I have been known to curse, something I was guilty of before I got saved and had been delivered from. I have also been spiteful. I recently finished an historical novel in which one of the characters was a very spiteful man. While I was not nearly as spiteful as this character, it really made me look at myself and admit that I, too, at times, have been spiteful. I tried to justify it, but there was really no excuse for it. I wasn’t able to see what I was doing until I realized that I could identify to an extent with this spiteful character. I have also been proud, haughty, and arrogant. And though I speak the truth, I have not always done so “in love” as the Bible says we should.
But, above all this, I have been unfaithful. The Bible says that when we make a promise to God, we should “defer not to pay it” (Ecclesiastics 4:5). That means that when we promise the Lord that we would either do something or not do something, we should do what we promised God we would, and we should not do what we promised Him we would not. There is a particular thing I have done from time to time that I know the Lord Jesus would rather I would not. While not a grievous sin, I know in my heart that the Lord is not happy with it. I once promised the Lord that I would not do that particular thing again, but I did not keep my promise. Every time I do it, I confess it and ask the Lord Jesus to forgive me, but my conscience will give me no peace. The Bible teaches that whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). Whatever we do, we must be convinced that God is okay with it for our conscience’s sake. And, if not, then we must confess it and believe that in accordance with 1 John 1:9, Jesus has forgiven it. That way our conscience stays clean and we do not sin with our conscience.
Now, I know that when I confess my sins, Jesus forgives my sins. But I also believe that God holds those in ministry to a higher standard. This, I believe, is especially true for those of us involved in spiritual warfare.
I believe that Christians involved in spiritual warfare must be more vigilant than most, because spiritual warfare is not defensive, but offensive. In spiritual warfare, you are taking the fight to Satan’s doorstep (his strongholds), and, to do this effectively, you must do more than just have faith and live right; you have to be more diligent in every aspect of the Christian walk: You have to pray more. You have to be more obedient. You have to confess sins more often. You have to be more diligent in recognizing and avoiding sin. And you must strive to be more sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. But, most importantly, you must have a clear conscience.
It is concerning this last reason that I am writing to you.
It is now Tuesday morning 2:30 A.M. Central European Time, which is Monday evening about 8:30 P.M. E.S.T. Before about an hour and a half ago, I did not have a clear conscience because, though I had confessed these things to the Lord Jesus and asked His forgiveness, I had not confessed them to you, the body of Christ. The Apostle James admonishes us to confess our faults one to another (James 5:16). I could not, in good conscience, continue to minister without confessing these faults to the brethren. And you are my brethren.
I ask, therefore, that you would please forgive me for my failings, and I also ask that you would pray for my physical and spiritual strength because the past four months have not been easy and it is not likely to get any easier. Please pray also that God would forgive me for anyone who was seeking the truth and got turned off because of my actions, or for anyone who trusted me and was disappointed. I pray that I have not discouraged anyone from investigating the Gospel for themselves and, if I have, I pray that the Lord Jesus would please forgive me. If I have hurt any one of you through a lack of compassion and love, or in any other way, please accept my apology.
I also ask that you please pray for my wife, because, I have come dangerously close to undoing all my prayers for her to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus. And please pray for my children also. I covet your prayers.
Thank you, and God bless each and every single one of you.
Be encouraged and look up, for your redemption draweth nigh.
The Still Man