Becoming a Christian is easy; simply confess your sins, accept His forgiveness and declare Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. He does the rest.
But somewhere between accepting Him and living for Him, we get mixed up. This might not be your experience, but it certainly has been mine. Surrender was easy when I was faced with my own depravity in the light of His holiness and the depth of His love. But because of the lack of maturity and devotion to His word, I attempted to mix my own idea of how I should live with His. Naturally, all my efforts to please Him and be like Him in my own strength and understanding failed. Long and hard were the days before this as I struggled against Him. The last thing I wanted to admit was: I didn’t want anyone telling my how to live my life – even God! Still, He has faithfully walked me through life, teaching me and maturing me into His image. Over time with greater surrender came greater growth.
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,” John 6:68
At some point in our Christian walk we are faced with the question posed to Peter; “Do you want to go away as well?” This life we live is not easy. For most of us it is harder than we ever imagined. We slip into disillusionment when our eyes our fixed upon our circumstances. We easily forget He said we would experience trials and persecution. But above all we forget He promised His unfathomable love, His persistent presence, His strength, power and wisdom through His Holy Spirit to not only endure, but conquer. We must choose. With every trial, with every temptation or test, He invites us to either accept His way or choose our own.
In 2011, I chose His way over my own.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t elated or joyfully filled with excitement. With slumped shoulders, spiritually exhausted from striving, I gave up and simply surrendered not really knowing or understanding what was ahead. Void of emotion I simply threw up my arms and gave up, saying; “Lord, You win.” In spite of my chastized attitude, I was willing to chose His way and humbly allow Him to do the rest. It wasn’t a glamorous or tear-jerking surrender; but it was genuine.
The months and years following were filled with trying times. My newly restored marriage nearly fell apart. Recovering from job losses and failed business, we returned to a stressful careers. After filing bankruptcy, we struggled financially. Then on top of it all, my mother become seriously ill, eventually suffered an unusual stroke, and I was forced to move her into a home due to my own lack of resources. Through it all, with each trial, with each breaking, with every failure and crying out, He grew me up in Him. He discipled me through His word. He encouraged me through friendships and accountability. He carefully chiselled away hardness, rebellion, self-sufficiency, and pride until the soil of my heart was ready to receive all He desired to pour in and grow – all for His glory.
My hope through this blog is He will be revealed in the day-to-day routine of our lives. I pray each one of us will realize His presence in our lives in every finite detail. I pray you will be encouraged – even on your darkest day – to hope in Him and Him alone. Be in His word daily. Commit to prayer constantly. Trust Him in all things.