In the past, music had been my strength, and it still was—deep inside me, exactly where I had left it.
Back in the studio, I was growing, absorbing and applying all the lessons that accumulate with every personality that makes a contribution to your skill set. But as with most education no matter what the topic or how it translates to life, there comes a learning curve where we feel the bend of the metal, the uncomfortable twist of the mold, until it fits the revised us.
Have you ever wondered why “new wine” never goes into “old wineskins” (Matt. 9:17)? It was a Scripture I would learn the meaning of firsthand.
Faith—my faith—was undeniable to everyone around me. And when my commitment to that faith was challenged, it was made all the more real…
We leaned against the kitchen table as our personal views on each subject brought faint sounds of thunder. Not anger, just a slight rumble of opinion as a rapper listened to me proclaim my faith with conviction about the relationship I had with Christ. It was a compelling testimony, or so I thought, until his manager came in and voiced his own opinion—one equivalent to a lightning strike.
“Don’t listen to him! How can he be a Christian when he just produced the song where you guys are talkin’ about gettin’ high and sleeping with hoes!”
A direct hit!
They left the room, laughing, as Yahushua gently spoke to me through an echo of Scripture.
“No one can serve two masters” (Matt. 6:24).
I couldn’t stand hypocrites, especially in the church. To me, there were few things worse. And there I was, straddling the line, suddenly feeling nauseated.
A change was imminent—it was time to get off the fence!
Everything I attached my name to moving forward had to glorify the Most High. And though I would no longer produce music for secular artists, our personal relationships endured. My nonconformity to the world had made an impression—one they respected.
Yah’s fingerprints were beginning to appear everywhere.
I was speaking His language. Discerning His wishes. Following in His narrow path. I was finding peace where there once was pandemonium. And within that journey of discovery, Yah sent people to teach and guide me.
It’s amazing how the Most High introduces us to individuals at the most appropriate moments. His all-knowing perspective allows Him to address our needs before we’re even aware we have them and aligns people with what He’s doing in us.
That was the summer I met Shannon Gaston. We were the same age, and he was the first Christian brother to befriend me after I surrendered my life to Christ. Our souls spontaneously connected.
The most profound quality about Shannon was his ability to “walk out” his Christian beliefs without compromise. He lived what he preached, which taught me more than even our shared Bible studies. He was a walking, talking expression of Christ’s guidance through example. I now had a growing group of exemplary men in my life proving that it was possible to live with conviction without compromising. Like Shannon, instead of looking for validation in temporary things, I was investing in the eternal.
I had found my new identity.
Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.
Matthew 9:17 KJV
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Matthew 6:24 KJV
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Proverbs 4:23 KJV
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Romans 12:2 KJV
Though my story and Jason’s stories are set in different worlds they are similar…
Most Christians see Mammon as being money, which is a correct translation, but it is also translated greed. Greed is selfishness plain and simple. That’s how I see Mammon. As scripture states one can not serve God and Mammon both. We must lay our selfishness aside if we want to truly serve God.
Jason was being greedy with money by producing a single which would in turn make him more money. That single went against his newly found Christian stance. He got called out and it hurt. It hit him so hard it changed the way he produced music.
My story is of a different selfishness…a different type of greed…a greed to satisfy my sexual “needs” whenever, however and with whomever it took to get that “need” met.
It was not an easy transition after rededicating my life to the Lord. Porn and masturbation still plagued me. Then God spoke heavy one night and that was it. You can’t serve God and self (Mammon)
Quick side note…
Mammon is autocoreccting itself to be capitalized. So I researched it and it seems as if Mammon was more than money in ancient times. He was actually a very powerful demon. One who took care of heavens streets of gold and now as a fallen angel wants all the gold, money and other things for himself. I found that interesting to say the least. For I have seen what greed can do. And it is like that person is possessed.
The old wineskin parable is awesome and it can be a sad one too as Jason, I and many of you have found out.
The old wineskin is our heart and mind, spiritually speaking, and the new wine, word of God, is being poured into said heart and mind. Yes, the Lord works on the inside of man to radiate His love outward but if we are not willing to allow God to create within us a new heart and mind we will not be able to understand His word and love being poured into us and it will just escape and not take hold like a seed planted on stony ground.
And once we allow that new heart to grow we must protect it at all costs and hold fast to the words and love being poured into us so we in turn can speak in to others…in truth and integrity.
So I say men we should be in tears when something happens in our lives that show us we have not fully given our all to the Lord. What was once considered normal action for us could now be a sin. And it should break our hearts into repentance and change.
Yes, we may hurt and cry over having to say bye to an old friend but also cry in prayer asking the Lord to allow said friend to be able to see your transformation. For even from a distance living for God can and will change a person’s outlook on Christ if the walk is sincere.