I will tell you that I have been conquered by force. God made war on me, He broke down the walls of my stronghold, He smashed down my gates, and then He killed me in the ruin of my own tower. All my fortifications were in made in vain with the Lord of Hosts appeared, and when He did appear, I threw my idols over the wall. Except for myself. I would not give up myself, and in the end, He would not turn back until He had me.
But the Lord of Hosts did not destroy me as a man might destroy another. For the Almighty did not only have the power to force me on my knees, He brought with Him the power to break my will and change my heart. The weapons that overcame were not simply threatenings, but they were weapons of truth against which no self-deception could stand.
My tower was constructed of lies I had spun. I had compared myself to others and judged myself good. I had done a few kindnesses and thought myself generous. I showed favor to some, and I judged myself loving. And thus my bulwark was constructed by my vanity, and I deemed my works unassailable by God or man. I was a good man.
First, there came a herald of God's law. All the commandments, all ten of them, seemed just save one: Love the Lord God and serve Him only. All the others, I fancied I could keep and confessed that they were good. I would make war on thieves, liars, and adulterers. I would honor my parents. I would not covet another man's gains. But I would not kneel to this King. His glory was no better than my own splendor. And so I strutted about my castle and hurled my insults at His majesty.
Then, the herald came again. I read that this King said that my lustful looks were adulterous, that my anger was the fountain of murder, and that I should give up my coat to anyone who asks. I knew that this was going too far. No one could live as this man demanded. He was a tyrant, and I must keep him out at all costs. His tyranny extended to my very thoughts, into my own soul and person, and I knew that I willed to do none of the things He said I must do to be good. So I hunkered down for war.
At last, the King came as his own herald. He wore no armor, and He had no fear. The first thing I saw was that He was already bloodied with battle, but not battle against me, but a battle fought on my behalf. His image seized me, as did His selflessness, and I saw in Him everything that I was not. My fortress of comparison could not stand against Him. I could compare myself to any man, or so I fancied, but certainly not this One.
When He spoke, my tower began to shake and come undone. He spoke to me of love and hate, of sin and of righteousness, of good and evil. He showed me the glory of his Father, and he opened my eyes to what it is to be holy. My towers of self-righteousness fell, my barred gates of excusing myself crumbled at his words, and I was laid without defense in the dust.
The King slew me that day with His truth. His love undid me. His justice was perfect. I no longer wanted to be King. I cast off my own delusions of self-righteousness. I no longer wanted to be free; I wanted to be ruled by this King. I begged, in dust and ashes, to be his servant. He took my hand and lifted me on my feet; he embraced me; he forgave me my transgressions against his majesty; he clothed me as his own brother.
I am sickened that I ever lived in that tower I had made. I am so grateful that the King broke me to pieces. I am so happy that Jesus defeated my tyranny and placed me under his rule in place of my own. Every time I think of it, I am conquered again. Long live the King!
I am a pastor serving in my hometown of Albertville, Alabama. The greatest evidence of God's grace in my life are my wife, son, and daughter. One look at me and then my wife will tell you that her "yes" was a modern day miracle. Otherwise, I am almost completely mundane.