Now that I’ve had a nice 4500 word essay published on here for you guys to (hopefully) examine and take to heart, I’d like to back up a little bit and let you know where I come from.
As I said in my introductory blog, Welcome to Me, I have encountered God in a way I hope most people don’t have to. I had let myself live a life pursuing happiness on a day to day basis instead of pursuing God, who brings joy to those of us who ask for it. Little did I know that God was working in my life behind the scenes, preparing me for a time and place that I would finally realize His love. After 7 years of slowly but surely straying from Him, God in all His wisdom, sent me a mental lightning strike…you know what? Let me back up a bit more, because honestly, I don’t think I could ever get tired of telling the story of how God truly saved me from myself.
I was born and raised in the church. It was the only life I knew. I was baptized when I was 8 years old, and from then on I was saved. I never once strayed from my belief in Jesus of Nazareth and the immense sacrifice He made so that I could live with Him for eternity. There was never a time I believed anything other than the fact that my faith in Jesus was the one and only thing that could save me eternally. These things I knew because the “Bible told me so,” but I didn’t REALLY know.
When I was in junior high, I participated in an awesome event called Bible Bowl. Basically what we did is we got in teams of three to five and would memorize large portions of the Scriptures over the course of a year. During the year (and in the summer we had special tournaments followed by a National competition), we would pit ourselves against other teams around the country and try to use our knowledge of the specific Scriptures that we had memorized to get a victory. I memorized large portions of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Mark, Luke, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Amazing right? I guess, but the problem was I never understood what I was reading. To me it was just words being memorized for the purpose of recitation, like the Gettysburg Address or the Preamble to the Constitution. I mean, I knew that God’s Word was much more important than these other things, but I didn’t take the time to actually understand what I was reading and reciting.
Things got worse for me in high school as I started going through that adolescent phase that most people look back at as being even worse than the days of junior high. Essentially, after being home schooled all my life, I felt separated from the world, and wanted to not be looked down upon as an antisocial loser, so I started compromising my morals. I don’t blame home schooling for this. 80% of the time, kids come out just fine from this independent type of schooling – neither too worldly nor too antisocial. Yes I just made up that statistic, but it’s based on the many homeschoolers I know personally.
Over the next 7 years I found myself compromising more and more until I was no where near where God wanted me. I realized this, and every now and then, I would try to shake myself out of this spiritual slump, but I couldn’t do it. I was trying to do it on my own, and that wasn’t happening, so I kept ending up right back where I had been, compromising more and more. I hadn’t found the truth that’s so simple yet so amazing. This past winter break, God gave me a mental jolt. He informed me that I was absolutely not where He wanted me to be and that He had had great things in store for me if I had remained on His path. It is too late now, but I know that He has something else for me. I know that He is going to use the place I find myself in now for His good.
Anyways, so when I realized that I no longer had any desire to be in the life I was currently leading, I decided to crack open the Scriptures. Previously, a friend of mine and I had tried to do a study of Romans, but that didn’t work out. So I decided to give it another try. Soon I found myself fully engrossed in what I was reading, and when I came to the point when Paul talked about how I was Christ’s enemy, yet He loved me so much, He died for me anyway, I was finally able to fully realize the incredible value of this sacrifice. There are no words to describe the amazing feeling that comes when you finally grasp the fact that the amount of grace God gave you is unfathomable. I just hope that you either have or one day soon, you will. As I came to the close of Romans, I had an overpowering desire to share this wonderful joy with as many people as possible.
I want to show you something now. This is a pamphlet that was given to me by a little girl who was no more than 9 years old while I was on break from a frustrating day at work. She had never seen me before in my life, but she came up to my table and sweetly and politely asked me if I would like her pamphlet. I kindly said thank you and took it from her. Now yes, I know it is a Jehovah’s Witness pamphlet and there are several key beliefs of this denomination that I do not agree with, but we’re all going to the same heaven right? The fact is, this little girl did something that most of us are far too afraid to do. She went up to a stranger and shared her faith to him. Why is it so hard for us to do that? Are we so frightened about how people will look at us that we can’t bring ourselves to walk through a mall, shaking everyone’s hand and telling them, “Jesus loves you”? Your excuses: “That so cliche,” “No one would listen,” “They’d just think I’m weird.” Get over it. Everyone deserves to be informed of the amazing love of Christ just as much as you do. Why should you rob them of that opportunity? If they turn it down, then…well hopefully sometime in the future, someone will water the seed you have planted. Jesus calls us to be like children [Matthew 18:1-6]. So like the little girl who has an unwavering faith, and disregarding any social uncertainties, shares her faith, so should we have a blind faith in God, sharing His love to every single person who crosses our paths. It’s not easy, but we should be doing nothing less, because really, God didn’t die for just you and me. He also died for every person in front and behind you in rush hour traffic, the guy in the cubicle next to yours, and the barista you get your coffee from every morning at 7:15 AM.
This is what God calls me to do right now – witnessing to those around me, and I plan on following that calling until He calls me to do something else. For now, I have this blog. If you’re visiting this site, not knowing Christ, I want you to know just one thing – Christ died because you are a sinner and the only way you can have eternal life after death is through your faith in Him and the gift of His death and resurrection, not through your own doing. If you want to know more, please read this. Know also that I claim no perfection. I still struggle against my old nature every day. But I don’t have to do it alone anymore. All I have to do is ask God for help, and He’s right there.
If you already know this amazing love of God, I urge you to not keep it to yourself, but actively share it with everyone around you. I also urge that you encourage me and your other fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to do likewise. It’s something that we constantly have to be reminded of until it becomes our nature, but it’s also something that Christ Himself calls us to do [Mark 16:15]. Please keep me in your prayers on this matter.