“Grant me sexual purity and restraint, but not yet” – is the famous prayer of a young Saint Augustine. You see, Augustine enjoyed his numerous affairs and hedonistic lifestyle too much to change. Born in North Africa in 354 AD, Augustine described himself as a “slave of lust” before he eventually yielded and put his faith in Jesus at the age of 31. This great event occurred because he was so impressed by the faith of his mother and other Christians close to him.
Augustine’s conversion is famous because he chose to share his story and because he was so insightful about what God was doing in his life. Indeed, great quotes from Augustine have continued to help Christians from every subsequent age understand more deeply what God has done in their life. In fact, Augustine may just be the most quoted Christian in history.
For example, Augustine understood how universal the problem of sin is. He wrote, “There is no saint without a past, no sinner without a future.” And he knew how hard it is to change. Here is another insight, “The mind commands the body and is instantly obeyed. The mind commands itself and meets resistance.”
In the Bible, King David wrote emotionally about how hard it is to face up to God and confess sin. Psalm 32 records his experience of shutting God out.
When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. (Psalm 32:3-5)
When Augustine finally understood this and gave his life to Christ it was the words of Paul in the New Testament of the Bible that convicted him.
Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarrelling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 13:13-14)
In response Augustine wrote these famous words about his new relationship with God,
Oh Lord, restless is the heart until it rests in you
Bible verse: Psalm 32:3, “When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long”.
Prayer: Great are you, O Lord … because you have made us and drawn us to yourself, and our heart is unquiet until it rests in you (from Augustine’s book: Confessions)
Acknowledgement: This article was sourced from Outreach Media, Sydney, Australia.
Images and text © Outreach Media 2018
Posted, November 2018