by Levi Keidel
My First Test: Lust
I arrived at Likaski. I found my clan mates. They were very happy to see me. I stayed with them that night. The next morning I prepared my things for the journey. They cooked food for me. I ate it.
“Where are you going now?” they asked.
“I want to go back to Kolwezi, where troubles first caught me. I want to say goodbye to my old friends there; then I will go to Luebo.” I doubted if I had sufficient money for the trip; but I did not want to beg.
“To Kolwezi? We have a tribemate here who would like to send a child back to her parents; they live at Kolwezi. Would you take her and see that she arrives at home?”
“That is no problem.“”
A person went and brought her. She was a girl almost old enough for marriage. Her face had the beauty of youth; her body was matured. I had not been close to a woman for a long time. She attracted me powerfully.
“Fine,” I said. “I'll take good care of her.”
We boarded the train. I chose a compartment. We would be together the whole day. She sat down on one side. I sat down beside her. We were alone. The train began its journey. We began talking about this and that. Friendship began drawing us together. Then, with the shaking of the train, our bodies began leaning against each other.
After a man has been locked inside of prison for years, when he first gets out, how does his body respond to a woman? Desire began to torment me. After a time, I put my arm around her shoulder. I felt my blood catch on fire. Craving wanted to split me. In times past I had not restrained myself in such matters; it had been my custom to finish the affair. But now it was different. Within me there was war. While in my body lust tortured me, my heart rebuked me. The one said, “Why do you torment yourself insufferably hour after hour for nothing?” The other said, “So soon are you going to allow the devil to push you into a pit?”
I began to pray. “Lord,” I said, “You know what has always been the weakness of this my body. On my second day out of prison, why do you let me be caught in a trap like this?”
Then I remembered words from the Bible: “The man who endures temptation will be blessed; for after he has passed the test, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised all who love Him. When a person is tempted, don't let him say, 'God is tempting me'; but he is tempted when he is drawn by his own lust; and when lust conceives, it will bear sin” (James 1:12-15).
I fought war within myself like I had never known since I was born. Finally we arrived at a station where we had to change trains. I got off and walked around outside, praying.
“My God, You brought me out of prison, truly,” I said. “But You see all the troubles I'm having. You know I want to go to Kolwezi to show my old friends that I'm still on this earth, and how my life has been turned around. You know also, that if I spend my little money for a ticket to go there, I'll have nothing left for the long trip to Luebo. I don't want to stumble. This kind of fighting weakens me. If You are really fighting this war with me, please show me. Couldn't You put love in the ticket seller's heart so I'll spend no more of my money to get there?” Didn't You say that You are the Way?”
When I went to the window the man said, “Don't buy a ticket now; wait to one side over there.” After some time we saw them passing us all through the gate and onto the train. We found a compartment. She sat down. I vowed in my heart, “If Jesus is with me like that to fight this war, I'll not allow my lust to draw me into temptation.” I sat down along on the bench facing her. I stayed there until we arrived at Kolwezi.
Remember what I had promised my friends here the last time I was with them? I was not returning to them in the clouds of the sky; I was returning in another manner.
When I arrived at the work camp, a great crowd of people gathered around me. Because of my violence and loose living, I was very well known.
“Maweja our hero has returned!” they cried. “Let's have a welcoming celebration at the cafe tonight!”
That evening the cafe was full of people. I was shown to the table of honor. Bartenders poured drinks for everybody. I refused beer; I asked for orange soda. A few people saw it, had questioning on their faces a moment, than again turned their minds to the celebrating.
Then they began performing skits to remind us of the things we had done together. A large man came through the door. Someone had made for him a wig of long loose hair. He strutted into the center of the people, clacking his shoes loudly. Kneeling in front of a person wearing a long white robe, he tilted back his head, and opened his mouth. The robed person imitated giving him the holy food. People laughed and clapped until the walls shook. Then the big man stood in front of people seated at a table. He lifted a glass of beer and said, “Do you want my strength? This is my blood. Drink it, all of you.” People cheered and yelled. My face smiled; but my heart felt only pity and sadness.
Then my old friends gathered around me, and said, “We the apostles who ate your flesh and drank your blood; we are still here.”
I looked at them and smiled. “It is me you see with your eyes, truly. But it is not the old Maweja; the old Maweja has disappeared. I have been changed. I have no desire to be your hero. I don't want to be lord of anybody. Another Lord has overpowered me. He has put me into His work instead.”
They stared at one another in amazement. “Once this man was proud and ferocious; he craved liquor and licentiousness. By what manner are words of this “other Lord” business coming out of his mouth? Where did he learn it?”
“God got hold of me and turned my life around while I was in chains,” I explained. I shook hands with them all, and said goodbye. This was the second war I had encountered and won.
When I vowed to glue my heart to the words of Jesus and to obey them without wavering, I found power to refuse sin and to speak boldly for Him. My heart rejoiced exceedingly. I entered the train and began the long journey for Luebo.
During the days of that journey, I guarded myself well. I had time to think about what happens to the person who is walking with Jesus. I had not realized it, but in prison I was guarded from many testings. Now that I was free, I discovered the war that the Christian must fight.
At first the fierceness of this inner fighting perplexed me. But when I began to realize that I had renounced my allegiance to an old chief while still living in his country, I began to understand.
In our land, every adult must buy a government identification card. On this card is his picture, his name, his age, the names of his parents, and where he lives. He must carry this card with him at all times. Any civil authority may ask to see it. It proves that a person is a citizen of the country and a member of the country's only political party, of which our president is founder and head. By carrying this card, you are pledging loyalty to the president and obedience to the laws of his party.
The Bible teaches us that this earth is under the authority of the devil. Before Jesus left He prayed to the Father, “Don't take them off the earth; but save them from the Evil One” (John 17:15).
Christians are on the devil's earth, but refuse to buy his identification card. They refuse to obey his laws. So the devil comes and asks them, ”“You don't want to buy my card? You don't want to follow my rules? You refuse to live under my authority? What are you doing here?” He'll give them no peace. He'll persecute them. He'll wage war to destroy them.
Jesus said, “I tell you these things beforehand so that you may have peace within yourselves. While you are on the earth, you will suffer. But rejoice; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). That suffering is not from lack of food or of drink or of clothing. Satan is tormenting me that I buy his card, that I swear allegiance to him and obey him. Then he'll be able to bind me with fornication, pride, foul language, and wrath. While we are on the devil's earth, we cannot be loyal subjects of Jesus unless we are perpetually hard-headed rebels against the devil. I'll relate more about waging this war later.
God had done amazing things for me. He had restored to me an understanding of my worth; He had delivered me from prison. He was teaching me how to tame the sins which once ruled me; and now I hoped He would put me into school so that I could learn how to work for Him.
I arrived at Luebo. I went to the mission station and presented myself to the missionaries. They listened to my story. I took the test to enter Bible School, and passed. Then the missionaries said, “Truly, you know God. You should learn more about the Bible. You should work for Him as an evangelist. However, a man in such work in this land cannot maintain a name of honor unless he is married. Three months remain before class begins. Why don't you return to your home village and look for a wife?”---
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