This is #MyStory of how #JesusChangedMyLife
Yes, I am a Pastor…but how Christ worked in my life is still amazing to me and I pray it will be encouraging to you.
While I grew up in a culture of Christianity mixed with Southern traditions & hospitality…that isn’t what changed my life. My family and I attended these little country churches in North Mississippi where I would hear those familiar hymns of old, as well as my share of hellfire & brimstone sermons. It was not unusual for our whole brood to attend the various vacation Bible schools each summer and we were usually early enough for Sunday School each week. Yes, even the knowledge of who “Psalty” was, that Father Abraham had many sons, and that God told Noah to build the ark from gopher-barky-barky were all there. Mine were the trappings of what looked like a normal life filling up the checklist of what makes a “good person.”
But there was a problem, I wasn’t good. I had no idea what that really, truly was. I won’t deny that there were many genuine people of faith in my life…but I was too blind for too long to see it. I grew aware of needing to respond to Jesus at the early age of 11 so that one doesn’t have to fear death and hell…but living for Jesus after being baptized and regular church attendance …there was a huge disconnect. It just goes to show that you can have much knowledge about what the Bible says but not have the eyes to really see it, the ears to really hear it, and the heart that really receives it.
And since I clearly wasn’t getting it…I began filling my presumed emptiness with other pursuits. Selfish ambition and achievement were the name of the game. If I could get recognition for the good and avoid any consequence for the bad…that was the life for me. And I lived that for all it’s worth. Why? Because these pursuits make you believe that they are going to have some grand end among all the tiring means.
I am regretful of such time wasted. I am regretful of such time missed to be a better witness of Jesus (not that I really knew what that was beyond good vs bad behavior). I am also regretful because my life and view of Jesus was so weak that I treated my fellow human beings (all made in his image) so very poorly.
Well, you may be wondering if you haven’t tuned out yet…what happened? Where was that “eureka” moment that God woke me up? Well, there were multiple threads being woven together to bring about this picture. Some in my family who had been a source of surety & confidence were no longer there due to all manner of loss and disconnect. That was the point where I actually became aware of desperation and need and brokenness.
But, there were also some new relationships being brought into my life. For the first time my eyes were open to see when genuine believers actually were attempting (not on their own strength or according to their own design) to live, love, and walk by their faith in & for Jesus.
This evidence of their faith was seen in their hunger for learning & maturing in the study of Scripture. It was revealed through how they served others sacrificially like it was a joy and honor. It was verifiable in the way that they actually would communicate to others (who may not always possess the same worldview or philosophy as themselves) about this Jesus. The were letting it be known that He is the Savior of the world. That He is the Lord of all. That He is the Lover of our souls. That He is the Messiah that is promised. And that He is God!
Seeing this was a revelation for me…but my faith (nor yours) could never be built upon someone else’s faith. It has to be founded upon and built through Jesus Christ alone. Discovering what He has said, who He really is, and what He has done has transformed my life. I recognize that I in no way deserve His goodness towards me…that’s why it is called grace. And His grace towards Me was not in vain…I am what I am and who I am now because of Him and I am grateful for the peace of God I now have by trusting in Jesus and following Him.
In Jesus there is :
freedom from the curse of our sin
freedom from the enslavement of our sin
freedom from the rebellion of our sin
freedom from the punishment for our sin
freedom to know the peace/restoration with God
freedom to experience the love of God
freedom to be transformed through God
freedom to possess eternal life from God
This peace of/with God could have never been achieved through any endeavor or status on my part. It is peace that He provides through His cross and resurrection that is in spite of me and in spite of you. In Christ alone am I saved. So now my life is seeking to follow Him by faith and to grow with Him each day. To know Him more and to make Him known in whatever ways possible.
It is my prayer that you know Jesus in this way. If you have questions or would like to converse about it, please let me know. It would be my honor to listen and discuss.