Anyone who has placed his or her faith in Jesus Christ later in life — instead of in childhood or mid-teens — probably can relate to my story. I am blessed to be His, but I wish I had accepted Him decades earlier. This is Part Two of my story … You can find Part One here.
Before Accepting Christ …
MY WIFE AND I had raised our children as Unitarian Universalists, but after our divorce, I came to see that the UU tradition offered nothing of substance to satisfy an emptiness in my soul that I have since learned was placed there by God to encourage us to seek Him.
I wanted more than man’s wisdom, no matter how prescient it was. I wanted to know Truth. I wanted to believe that Truth existed, and I wanted to find it, and I wanted to embrace it.
When I first had the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ, I flinched, knowing that I was leaving behind the UU tradition my daughters were taught. I felt I was betraying them, that I was leaving them on a sinking ship while I found safety in one of the life boats.
Another Year of Prayer
AFTER ANOTHER YEAR of prayer, Bible reading, Christian fellowship, and weekly worship, the Lord gave me this verse to make my decision clear:
“Anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” – Matthew 10:37b NIV
That tipped me over. The Lord knew I loved my daughters very much and did not want to abandon them, yet He told me (and everyone else, too!) that we are to love Him more than other family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or any possession or treasure on earth.
In that moment, I knew that even if my decision to embrace Jesus were to cost me the love of my beloved daughters, I would still jump right in.
I loved Jesus more. I wanted Jesus full bore!
On Nov. 10, 2010, I accepted the Lord into my heart. This definitely was a Revelation 3:20 moment, where I opened the door and let my Savior in. As He promised He would, He came in and sat at table with me and became my friend.
More than that, He restored my soul and gave me hope and a future.
Finally Accepting Christ!
THE LORD MOVED IN with the Holy Spirit and immediately set about transforming me. That involved convicting my sinful behavior, thoughts, and words, and changing my heart from stone to flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)
Although immediately I was saved by Christ’s blood (justification), I had a lot of growing to do to become a Christian whose light shines in the darkness.
That’s the sanctification part, and mine was an intense tutorial as the Holy Spirit taught me from His Word and from believing friends that certain movies, books, songs, and other offerings of the world were now off-limits.
He led me to abandon harmful addictions, to become more patient and compassionate, and to seek ways to serve Him. I am still learning, and He is still teaching.
As I grew in Christ, the Holy Spirit kept me from wanting those things that the world offers.
He’s still working on me and will not complete the job until I reach glory with Him. (Phil. 1:6)
SO, NOW WHAT am I supposed to do?
It’s the Great Commission:
It’s His final words to the apostles before His ascension: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”– Acts 1:8 (NIV)
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”-Matthew 28:19-20 (NASB20)
To summarize, Jesus told us:
“Go … Baptize … Teach … Receive Power …
Be My Witnesses … Tell Everyone.”
What About You?
WHAT IS YOUR STORY? What should you do with the saving grace God has placed on your heart?
Most likely, it’s the same Great Commission, the same teaching, and the same witnessing to which he’s called me.
If you’re struggling with your faith or unsure of God’s grace, or even questioning whether God’s grace can cover your sin, please take your questions to God in prayer and seek out a Godly mentor of the same sex you are.
Find a Bible-based church (easy to spot: they often call themselves “Bible Church” or “Community Church”) and ask the pastor for guidance or check out the “What We Believe” or “About Us” section of the church’s website.
Buy a Bible and begin reading it. Start with the Gospel of John. He’ll show you the love of Jesus Christ in a more profound way than anyone else does.
Read the Word, pray constantly, seek a Godly mentor, and begin regular fellowship with a strong Christ-based group. Avoid social clubs. You’ll want solid grounding in the Word.
Finally, when you hear His call on your life, answer with a firm and joyful “Yes, Lord!”
- “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” – Hebrews 3:15 (ESV)
- “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” – 2 Corinthians 6:2 (NKJV)
When I heard His voice and finally listened and obeyed, He was faithful and just and came in as I opened the door — just as He told us He would in Revelation 3:20 — He became my Friend.
FATHER GOD, we praise You for Your love for us, Your will to create us in Your image, and Your will to send Jesus to pay our sin debt so You could restore fellowship with us, despite our rebellion, our disobedience. Thank You, Lord most magnificent. We praise You in Jesus’ name. AMEN
NOTE: Photos are of geographic areas of importance to me.