My Story How God Gave Me The Thrilling Life!
Throughout my life I knew of God, yet I truly did not know him, his heart, or his nature. I went to church all my life and knew about Jesus Christ, but I used him only as a means to get what I wanted in life, and to avoid the place I did not want to go, hell.
I had no real commitment to him or desire to follow him, but viewed grace as a free pass to live the anyway I wanted and to not be punished for it.
As a child up until my teenage years I thought of myself and behaved pretty good. My teenage years, however, I lost my sensitivity and slipped deep into the quicksands of sin. I finally realized after a couple of years some of the shameful things I had been doing and “cleaned up” my act for a short time but not for the right reasons, I did it out of embarrassment rather than out of true real repentance.
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 7:10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
True repentance is not just turning from sin, but it is turning from sin to Christ. It is possible to get one’s behavior in order and still have no heart change. It is possible to comprehend the message of the cross but not be transformed by it’s power, and it is possible to profess faith yet not possess an ounce of it.
James 2:17-20 says, “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.”
This is not to say we are saved by good works, but rather a changed and godly life is the receipt of the new life God in Christ has purchased. As 1 John says, “He who has the Son has life, but he who does not have the Son has not life.”
The Son of God living inside a person’s heart will produce a life of goodness. We must always examine our lives, one knows they have ownership of something because of the receipt they receive after the purchase, and if one doesn’t have a receipt of the transaction then we can assume the person is a thief. Christ purchased our new life, we didn’t earn it but our proof is a new life.
I struggled throughout the end of my teenage years with a warped view of God, he was only out to get his way, His only goal was to rule over me and subject me to a list of rules, do’s and donts. In my body I did what I thought was right but my heart fought me all the way.
Romans 8: 5-6 tells us, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.”
When I kept falling into a particular temptation I was angry with the Lord, and I thought, “Why is he punishing me of something I have no power to change?”
My heart raged inside against the Lord because he called me to give up what I could not, he called me to turn away from what I would not, and he called me to surrender to him and obey him even when He did not bless my life with what I wanted or thought was best. It was an alien idea at the time to me at the time to think that obedience to God was worthwhile when I did not seem to get some benefit out of the deal. All this time I told people I believed in God and I thought I was born again and saved, yet just assumed though I just was a believer with some issues.
Finally, I totally threw off all restraint when I was around 19, and I plunged into all the sin I could get my hands upon, I could be found in the bar almost every night hoping to get girls, yes, hoping to have a fun time.
The remarkable thing was while I was doing these sins I even tried to start bible study of all things, but I was ironically still an unbeliever in need of saving myself, I had what Scripture says is “A form of godliness but denied its power.” (2 Timothy 3:5) I claimed to know God but denied Him by my actions as (Titus 1:16) would describe. I was deceived enough that I said in my mind, “I will repent before he comes back,” or, “I will confess my sin tonight and get right-but I will sin some more tomorrow!” Oh how dreadful!
I lived like this day after day, but one day my life was changed forever! I had recently gotten a new job working in collections, and I had gotten off work at about 5pm that evening and was on my way to the bar, hoping to find some trouble to get into. I found something but not what I thought I would, not what I wanted, but when it happened I could not ever imagine life without it. I pulled up and right as I was about to open the door to the car a very powerful heaviness came over me, and I can remember seeing the sun shining through the clouds and feeling God’s very hand upon me. I felt deep conviction and realization of the filth in my soul, and It was in that moment my guilt was there in front of my face and I felt the Lord speak to my heart in words that I could comprehend only with my heart, and He said to me, “You claim to know me but you use grace as a license to continue on in sin, you do not know me.”
All of the wrong choices seemed to wash away from my heart and my heart overflowed with joy as the desire to turn away from the way I had been living took deep hold. I felt at that moment I could be different and actually wanted to be.
At that moment Jesus Christ was not just a figure in my mind but the ruler of my heart. He wasn’t just some action figure or painting on the wall, but he was reigning as King in my life and in my heart. Is this an encounter you have had? If you have gone to church most of your life is this similar to your story? Or are you just following what you’re parents raised you to do or not do? Is it still some list of rules or truly your greatest joy in life?
If you have not been raised Christian, can you see how your idea of Christianity may be skewed from those who may not truly know him themselves, from people like who I was at one time? Rest assured no matter what your story is God can and desires to save you. You are never too far gone that Christ won’t lay hold of you and give you hope to when you sincerely acknowledge to Him you need His power to live differently, for Him, as who you truly were created to be!