Monday, June 12, 2017

Purpose: More Than a Church Kid



I was born into a Christian family, with two older brothers and two godly parents. Growing up, family life revolved around God. We went to church twice a week, where my dad was especially involved. At home, Jesus was mentioned often (possibly daily) and Christian music constantly played on the radio. I heard Bible verses, so I recited them. I talked about God because I heard Him being talked about.


The first "salvation"

Then, when I was about seven, the thought crossed my mind: How do you become a Christian? I asked my mom, and she seemed to be excited that I asked. She asked me if I wanted to become a Christian, I said yes, (there's no harm, right?) and she went through the Sinner's Prayer with me. Mom told me that I was a Christian.

Whether there was any change - that is up for debate.


From the looks of things - the words that came out of my mouth, the scribbles in my prayer journal, and (some) of the actions I took, things were great.


However, when you grow up in a Christian home, it is hard to tell whether improved behavior comes from being saved or just good parenting. 


The change is more distinct with "bad" kids (I'm hesitant to use that word...).

Lukewarm

Eventually, as a preteen and early teen, I was tired of the Christian culture. It was boring because it had been my life from the very beginning. For someone who didn't care about God, there was an awful lot of Him in my life. Everywhere I turned, He was there. Every time I found myself in a pew (which felt like ALL THE TIME). When I talked to my family - it all pointed back to Jesus. I thought I could escape it when I wasn't in church - but I was wrong. For whatever reason, the family always wanted to listen to Christian music at home and in the car.

Lukewarm, but searching

During this time, however, I still wanted to go to Heaven, and I didn't know if I was saved. When you live in an environment where God is the central focus, there is no escaping your doubts. Sitting in church, there is no denying the countless changed lives you witness. I sort of wanted what everyone else had (or at least see what it was like), but I didn't really want to give up my sin. 

When I was fourteen, my Dad taught a class called "Living in Christ." It was intended for new believers, as it taught the basics of a Christian life. I decided to attend. Whether I was an unbeliever or a Christian who had gone wayward, I felt like I needed to review the basics. I wanted to assess where I was, and witness to the unsaved.


For a majority of the series, it was just me and dad. At the first class, he asked (just to make sure): "Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?"


He had witnessed me (at least once) recite the Sinner's Prayer, and I cried for whatever reason. I had probably "gotten saved" many times in my life. However, since it was just me and him in the class, and I wanted the truth, I went ahead and said it. "I don't know." I explained how I believed in God, but I wasn't sure if I believed in Jesus. I had memorized facts about Him all my life, but in my head He was just a word; a far-off concept. I knew about Him but I wasn't sure if I knew Him. 


I enjoyed the class, and I asked a lot of questions - especially about salvation. I was trying to assess where I was and maybe "get" myself saved. Again, I wanted to go to Heaven, and life had no purpose, but I didn't want to give up my own way. 


The second half of the class was called "Christianity 101" which was about church practices and beliefs. Still sort of interesting, partly because I was searching and partly because I just enjoy learning. 

The Surrender

Then one morning, I began to pace around the kitchen while eating an orange.

I began to observe the intricacies of the oranges' fibers - how neatly and efficiently they where stacked beside each other. This led me to think about everything I learned in botany about the complicated ways that plants work. I remembered what I was learning about the human body, the complex systems that have taken scientists thousands of years to begin to understand. I notice a bird outside, and I admired the detailed designs on the birds' wings. 

A brilliant Creator made these things. He created the thoughts in Einsteins head, the details of each leaf of each tree of EVERY tree in the world. He thought of and spoke into being each individual person, and how they interact with one another. And for whatever reason I thought  I knew better than the one who created my life, and wrote it from beginning to end! I began to pray. I admitted that His Way was better then my way, because He created the way, before time began. I surrendered to His Will.


Then I believed that the all-knowing, all-powerful Creator became a human like us and died for our sins - and then showed His power by rising from the dead. Now, salvation is granted to anyone who believes. I confessed my sin, believed that Christ died and rose again, and let Him be Lord of my life. I was filled with gratitude, awe, and love. I didn't tell anyone because I wanted to make sure it was for real this time.

The Aftermath

The next day I was home all day, and I had some cleaning to do. I was still filled with love and joy and willingness to serve God with everything I did. I prayed and worshiped Him throughout the day. I prayed that I would love Him forever and never grow lukewarm again. I prayed that I would be submissive to Him. I prayed for my future husband, that he would be kept pure and have a God-glorifying marriage. I even prayed for my future children; for their salvation. 

That night was Bible study night, which meant Christianity 101 with Dad. I told him that I had given my life to Christ and I told my brother about it on the ride to church. Dad and my brother advised me. It was a very different kind of Bible study that night.


Part of the aftermath was that I now don't want to sin. It reminded me of a desk.


Imagine a cluttered - even dirty - desk. You can't even see the desk because of all the junk on it. Would you really care that much if you put another small piece of junk on it? Not really. 


This represented my life before I was saved. We're born with a nature that wants to sin. Our life is pretty much built on sin. Even the good things we do have selfish motives. Anything that goes against God is sin. So, if our life is full of sin, one more sin couldn't hurt it, right?


But when we're saved, that desk is made perfectly clean. Every stain is wiped clean - and you didn't need to do any work. Jesus did that for you. 


Imagine that it took hours and hours to clean that desk. Now it's completely empty and clean. You're hesitant to even add a decoration! And if you do put something there, you want to remove it right away. If you bring a cup of coffee to your work space and it spills on your desk, you want to wipe it off right away. That's the same feeling I got when I was saved.

Purpose of this Blog

This blog is for every Christian out there. It is for the global Church. I pray for God to use this blog as a conduit for the Gospel, and that everyone who reads it will be strengthened and stretched in their faith. 

I pray that we will unite and encourage each other to live poured out lives - serving God and then others. Matthew 22:36-40.





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