When I was eleven years old, I committed my heart and sins to the Lord in the summer of 1957 when my parents took me on vacation to New York City to attend what is now one of Billy Graham’s most renowned crusades.
Being born into a Christian family, I grew up in church. I sang in the youth choir (though I couldn’t really sing), attended Sunday School, went to church on Wednesday and Sunday nights, though my friend and I sometimes skipped and walked down to the neighborhood drugstore until church was over.
After I married, my husband and I served in several areas of our church.
Okay, this is boring. So, where’s the testimony, you ask? Mine is not a dramatic turn from drugs or alcohol or seeking love after an abusive childhood. I had beautiful parents and a pretty good childhood.
My testimony is the other side of the coin: after several years of marriage and three small children, I had an awakening. My life was a stench in the nostrils of the Lord even though it looked good on the outside. I was not the kind of person the Lord wanted me to be…on the inside.
The Lord began to impress upon me that I was merely a pew sitter. Just taking up space. I did “good things,” but nothing of eternal value. Though I heard the words of all the sermons and knew it in my head, very little of it trickled down into my heart. I was a good person but not an obedient Christian.
With all my service, it was not my enter-heaven-free card. If heaven allows me entrance by my works, then how long does my list of works have to be?
I discovered that there is much more to living out the Christian life than works; it is deeper than just attending church on Wednesday or Sunday, working in the nursery or on committees.
When I disciplined myself to seek the Lord through Bible study and quiet prayer times, I learned that the world’s way cannot be my way, for the standards of the world are in opposition to the holiness of God. God has not lowered the bar of His standards nor relaxed His tolerance for sin because of the world’s beliefs.
No matter what decisions I make, whether large or small, each one must be based on God’s Word; otherwise, I reap unwanted consequences and my life spins out of control.
Paul wrote to the Roman believers, “I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind He will accept. When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.” (Rom 12:1-2 NLT)
I have never regretted one moment of following the Lord. As I trust God to work in all my dark circumstances, every barrier becomes an open portal, every pit has its golden nuggets, and every hill of difficulty becomes a mount of deliverance.
I pray you will know the love of God the Father and that, in giving your life to Him, you will find all you need in Him. May eternity be yours. God bless you!
I leave you with what has become my life’s verse…
and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God?”
John 11:40 Amp