Thank you for seeking to know more about the most important decision you could ever make.
When I was young my mother took me to church. Most of the time what the pastor said went over my head. However, what I consistently noticed was his smile and when he smiled he radiated peace, joy and love and I recognized that. So, though I did not fully understand what he was saying, I knew he possessed something that attracted me.
Finally, at the age of 14 everything started to make sense and I could not sit easily in church. At the time I did not know that it was God tugging on my heart, trying to turn me to Him. However, as I continued to attend church the tugging became stronger and the understanding of faith became clearer. God wanted me to come to Him, to make the decision to give Him the care of my life.
Finally, close to my 15th birthday I surrendered. The wrestling ended and at that point my concern of what my family, friends and neighbors would think of me ended. I clearly remember that moment, I said, “Lord, forgive me of my sin – for going my own way and saying no to your love for me. I believe in your death for me, that you went to the Cross for me, for my disobedient nature because of your love for me. I want to accept you into my life, I want to live life with You now. Thank you for hearing me and caring so for me, Amen.”
After that prayer ended, there was a presence that came over me and a peace that I had not experienced. I knew that I had changed. God had really heard my prayer and sent his Holy Spirit to live within me. A reality that some 40 years later still amazes me.
The whole life of being a Christian, a Christ follower, is a work in progress. I liken it to hiking down a mountain into a valley and then climbing back up the other side. In hiking down (and I can only speak of my life with Christ) the Holy Spirit is breaking down my pride, my self will, anything of myself that hinders his work in me. I would liken it to boot camp. The time it takes each person to make it to the valley floor is extremely personal. So many factors come in to play, but the end goal is “Lord, not my will be done but yours.” Once this attitude found a foundation in me, though not perfect, the climb back up the other side started.
In climbing, as in coming down, life was tough. It was accompanied by many challenges, “many giants in the land (a quote from the Old Testament)” and I was running scared most of the time. Finally, the day came where I looked at myself and said you are either going to trust the Lord through all these trials, or stop pretending that you are a Christian. It was a hard talk, like grabbing myself by the back of my neck. The talk was long overdue. Again (and there have been many ‘Again’ moments) I said, “Lord, please forgive me for living my life as if You were not present and more than willing to help. The giants may be big, but you are bigger, and I want to completely trust you with the business, its worries and stresses, for my marriage and the challenges of raising two girls. I want to trust You for it all. I want to work for You and with You and receive my orders from You. Let’s do this together, Amen.”
At that point I climbed higher up on the mountain and saw such a beautiful view of my Father’s care and love that it made all the struggles to get there worth it. And after a bit of a rest, the climb resumed and now some 40 years later I am still climbing, however it has become much easier. My confidence in my Lord has grown so much from all the trials and hardships we have gone through that there is not much that can shake me. I often feel that I am “bullet proof.” We’ll see, as only time will tell, but from each trial and struggle instead of growing tired of life, I grow stronger and more in love with life, for He is the Essence of all life. The time in prayer and in reading the Bible have become the most precious things I do each day. And prayer is none ending, there seems to be this constant connection between Him and I. It’s as if we are sending emails throughout the day, it’s so cool.
Also, and this may sound weird, but I hope that I will always have struggles, I never want to “arrive.” I have seen those who have “arrived” (financially speaking) their careers or businesses are established and, things come easy now, and I have noticed repeatedly that their Christian faith gets set aside. Whereas when they were struggling to get the business going, or make their new career successful, they prayed, read the Bible, went to church etc. I do not trust myself enough, I have seen the deceit of my sin nature. When I have several landscapes lined up I tend to feel more relaxed, “a little fat and sassy.” I do appreciate a break for sure, but lean and mean is the way I like to run, no fat on this man’s soul. Trusting God daily, in His Word daily, and seeking His wisdom throughout the day is my definition of “lean and mean.” There is a scripture that I live by and it’s found in Proverbs. The setting is in the time of King Solomon where the scriptures say he made “gold and silver as common as the rocks in the streets.” In other words, wealth was in abundance for all and one of Solomon’s advisors noticed the effect it was having on Solomon and the people and he penned this verse, chapter 30:7-9 “Two things I request of You, remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches – Feed me with the food allotted to me; Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the LORD?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God.”
Solomon eventually lost his Kingdom, his life and the life of his son Jonathan. It is so like human nature that when you take the heat off we begin to drop back in rank and before you know it we are not following at all. Solomon eventually worshipped pagan idols and lead the people astray. If we do not follow close, it’s too easy to go astray. I don’t ever want to be like that.
If what I have shared has spoken to you and you sense God tugging on you heart, whether you go to church or not, whether you read the Bible or not, if there is a “Holy Tug,” on your heart you need to respond to it. Jesus said in John 3:16 &17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whoever would believe in him would not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through him.”
To believe in Jesus is to give him the control of your life, to surrender. The word surrender according to Webster is to “cease resistance, submit to their (His) authority, concede, yield…” This Christmas you can celebrate its true meaning, that at the darkest time of the year God sent the “Light of the World” to be born in a humble manger. The King of Kings that created all that we see and know now is your Lord this Christmas, it’s so awesome. Because of His love for each of us He took our sentence of death, for sin equals death or eternal separation from God, (this is how the Bible defines death, it goes beyond the cessation of our physical body) and borne them in His Own Holy Being. To imagine that He who never knew sin except for those agonizing hours, and the hands that created life allowed his prize creation to drive nails into his hands and feet is amazing. It’s a love that goes beyond our comprehension. He never felt such pain except for when He was taking our punishment. I know it’s a tall glass to drink, however He drank it for us, we only need to believe…
If you decide to accept Christ the words are simple, “Father forgive me for I have sinned, I have walked a life separate from You, living life on my own terms. I no longer want to live life without You and ask that You would forgive me of my self will and grant me a heart that wants to follow You and trust You to do what is best for me. Thank you and Amen.”
Finally, I would encourage you to send me an email to Arthur@executivecareinc.com and ask to be added to my monthly devotional that I send out called Vida4U. At Vida4U.com you will find a blog of many of the Vida4U devotionals that I have written through the years.
May the Lord bless you and guide you and know that your new life is a great life, though it can be tough because of our own insecurities of trusting Him, but each time you exercise faith and trust Him, peace will come and the load will get lighter. If you fall 10 times in a day, the only number that counts is the 11th time when you reaffirm your trust. Purchase a Jesus promise booklet and memorize scriptures that talk about the areas you struggle in. Find a church that teaches the Bible and encourages worship and prayer. You cannot be a Christian on your own. Call me, I would love to talk with you.
Now may the LORD bless you and keep you; May the LORD make His face to shine upon you, And be gracious to you; And may the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace (Numbers 6:24-26) – Amen.