The other day I had the privilege of spending half the day with a good friend of mine who is also the Pastor of our Church. We’ve only known each other for a couple of months so as we worked, we had time to ourselves to share of our past and how we came to be where we are now. It was nice to just be able to talk about the things that I have been through and where God has brought me from, brought us from.
I enjoy sharing my story. It is something that never gets old and I pray it never does. As I was sharing with him about all of the struggles, mistakes and bad choices it brought with it emotions. Deep inside I felt as if God was saying “See all that I have forgiven you of, see how far I have brought you!” The emotions were excitement, peace and joy.
Peace because I am forgiven. All the things in my past have been wiped away by the Blood of Jesus. Every single mistake and bad choice no longer appear when God looks at me. That is the peace that I feel.
Joy because of God’s love for me. God loved me so much that He sent His Son to die for me. That brings a joy to my heart like nothing else can.
Excitement for the things to come in my future. God created every one of us for a reason, we all have a purpose in His plan.
It has not always been this way for me. This feeling of peace is something that I can honestly say I’ve never truly felt outside of a personal relationship with Jesus. So many times I would turn to Him. I would commit my life to Him and do my best to follow Him. It never seemed to work, I would always revert back to the old ways, to the old me. Every time I would go through that cycle, I would be worse than before. I would be darker on the inside and I would slip farther into the sins I was committing. It’s funny because Jesus actual talks about that very thing in Matthew 12:45 “Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation.”
All those times that I would try to turn to God they wouldn’t work because I expected it to be on my terms and not God’s terms. There were things that I wanted to keep in my life, there were sins that I tried to hide. I wouldn’t give God everything only the things that I wanted Him to fix or handle. The other things in my life I felt I had under control. When God would try to remove those things from my life that is when I would return from Him and back to my old self.
I have learned that if I am not 100% committed to God and His will than I am not committed at all. We have allowed the world to fool us into thinking we don’t have to give God everything. That we can keep some things for ourselves. That is a lie from the devil himself. It actually makes me think of Ananias in Acts chapter 5. With Ananias it involved money. He lied and told Peter (which was like lying to God) that he was giving all the money he received from selling his house. He gave his word that it was all the money, but he and his wife had stashed some of it just in case they needed it. He didn’t have to lie to Peter, he could have told him the truth. When Peter confronted him about it he lied again and God struck him down. A little while later we see his wife being asked the same question from Peter not knowing of her husband’s fate. She too lied and was struck down and carried off by the same men. When we give our lives to God, when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, He expects ALL of us. He will not settle for “joint custody”. We must turn from the world and follow Him.
The day I gave 100% to Christ, four years this October, was the first day I was truly free. Spiritually free from the bondage of the world. Please don’t misunderstand, by no means do I mean I became instantly sin free and haven’t sinned since. That isn’t what I mean at all. I am by no means perfect, I am by no means better than anyone else. What changed for me on that day is the way I am viewed by God and the way I view myself. I can’t speak for anyone else but myself. Every day is a battle for me, every day I have to suit up for war. (Ephesians 6:10-19) Some days go great and aren’t too tough, but most days are a battle to the end. To follow Christ is to step into battle. Our armor must be worn at all times. And when we get hit and knocked down we pray (1 John 1:9) and God will cleanse us from our sin. But we must be willing to give it all – we must be willing to sacrifice everything that we have in order to gain everything He wants to give us.
So how are you fighting this fight? Are you trying to play both sides? Or maybe you’re just on the sidelines and think that’s the safest place to be? We are either in the fight completely sold out for God, or we are on the other side. There isn’t a middle ground – Revelation 3:16 “But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!
We are always here and available if you need help or guidance. Be blessed and remember that our strength as Christ followers comes from Jesus not ourselves.
In Christ alone