I haven’t always been interested in spiritual things

September 21, 2007 at 10:36 pm (Christian life, Personal) (, )

You know, I haven’t always been this interested in spiritual things. Growing up in a Baptist minister’s home, it is easy to look back at my life as a spiritual journey. The first milestone was in kindergarten. At that time, several of my friends were being baptized in church. I don’t remember all that was going through my head at the time, but I felt like I too should be baptized. I talked with my parents and answered all the right questions all the right ways, later to talk with the pastor and be baptized. Looking back, I feel that experience did reflect an understanding that “Christ died for [my] sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), but my reasons for wanting to “get saved” were ignorant and therefore not acceptable to God. My decision at that time was more likely the result of a double desire of not wanting to go to hell and wanting to go to heaven. As a child I did my best to live the life of a good Christian boy although I did not know what that meant.

From fourth to ninth grades, because of several moves, I had a difficult time fitting in with other kids my age. Although I had another significant spiritual experience in the summer of 1991, I never sought counsel from others and never acted on the inner spiritual struggles I was having. My eighth grade year, in order to be more accepted by my peers, I begin making decisions that I knew went directly against my Christian upbringing. I started a path into a downward spiral of sin that only got worse and worse for the next five years. By the time I was a senior in high school, no one would ever have guessed I was raised in a minister’s home –which was just fine with me.

The summer of 1996, after my graduation, I went on what I thought would be my last youth group trip to DiscoveryCamp in Cedarmore, KY. I made it my goal to make it through the last night’s invitation without letting God “get me.” That’s how hard-hearted I had become. But, praise God, when I left that assembly, the Lord followed me right out! The only way I can describe how I felt is that He had my heart in His hand which was getting tighter and tighter. I cried for what seemed like an hour, all the while refusing to tell my girlfriend, Monica, why I was so upset (because I had been living a double life—a Christian life around Monica, family, and church and a rebellious life around all others). He would not let go until I gave my whole life over to Him. There with my Dad and Monica (now my wife) looking on, I prayed a prayer of desperation and the Lord forgave me by His grace. From that point on, I have been a different person.

I still haven’t gotten over that incredible day; it truly changed my life. I went to camp one person and returned a totally different person. It’s true what the Bible says, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Of course, I didn’t come home perfect. Some sins I still struggle with today, but many others dropped like flies that very day. God did exactly what I was afraid He would do. He changed lots of things in my life: my friends, my interests, my goals, my affections, and my destination. That’s right, my destination. Although I’ve had struggles and doubts over the past eight years, one thing is sure. Heaven is my home. I know this is true because Jesus promised in the Gospel of John that “whoever comes to [Him, He] will never cast out” (6:37) and He is preparing a place for His children and “[He] will come again and will take [us] to [Himself], that where [He is we] may also be” (14:3).

This is the truth that has changed my life, as well as countless others. Jesus came that we “may have life and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10). And so I say with the apostle John that “whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things . . . [so that you may] believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:12-13). Do you have life? Do you believe?

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1 Comment

  1. Odale said,

    Praise God, yes, I do believe! I was also raised in a minister’s Christian home and, although I never lost my faith, I wandered in the wrong direction for close to twenty years. I am happy for you that you are making your life fulfilling. God Bless You in your endeavors.

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