Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Abby's Personal Testimony of God's Work In Her Life

[My wife wrote the following for a class she was taking here at the Seminary.]

I do not have authority over my own life. My parents took me to church every week while I was growing up. I learned many Bible stories and what the Bible states about the character of God and His relationship with mankind. I believed with childlike innocence that God created the world and was the only God and thus worthy of mankind’s worship. I believed He was holy and hated sin. I could tell you I was a sinner for I could recall many instances when I had disobeyed my parents and harbored completely unholy attitudes. I believed what the Bible says about sin separating mankind from God and that the penalty for sin is death and an eternity in hell. I also believed that God Himself provided a Savior from mankind’s pitiful destiny. That Savior is His only Son Jesus Christ, who came to earth, lived a perfectly holy life and then died in mankind’s place to take on Himself the punishment for our sins. I knew that after He had been dead three days He rose to life again, proving that He has power over death, and now is in heaven with His Father. I believed my pastor and Sunday School teachers when they said that belief in these facts could rescue a person from their eternal fate in hell and confirm them a place in heaven with God for eternity. I firmly believed all this, but as with most, the cares of childhood outweighed any thoughts about the future or my eternal destiny.

That changed when I was around ten years old. There was a guest preacher at our church for a week, and he went over and over those facts I already believed. However, he also emphasized that belief in those facts should result in a life submitted to the authority of Jesus Christ. He also taught that only God could bring about that kind of change in a person. I couldn’t let go of his words that week, and now I know that God was working in me to turn all my belief into life-changing belief. If someone had asked me to articulate all this at that time, I would have said something like, “I knew Jesus was not a part of my life and I needed Him.”

After that my life began to change. I began to feel guilty over wrong things I did or bad attitudes, and not just guilt in the fact that I could be punished or concern over what my parents thought, but deep concern over what God thought about my actions and attitudes. I had a desire to please Him and wanted to follow His instructions for living that are laid out in the Bible. I was driven to read the Bible, and I am sure God was allowing me to understand what it said.

All of these changes have only increased through the years. I still struggle with sin on a daily basis, but I am confident that God is working in me to make me more holy. The Bible also assures me that when I acknowledge my sins and turn from them I have God’s forgiveness because these sins were paid for in Jesus’ death. I now understand the meaning of the verse, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” I had always believed these things, but it wasn’t until Jesus became my Lord, meaning the authority over my life, that I was rescued from my fate as a sinner and guaranteed to spend eternity with Him in heaven. My motto for living has become another Bible verse, “He died so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.” Of course, this kind of living can only begin and be carried out through God working in a person to change them.

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