As I sat through the incredible message led by Pastor David Griffin this past Sunday at the c|Life Forney campus, I was reminded of my salvation. I was reminded of the deplorable state from which I was rescued. It’s all too easy to rest in God’s arms and be lulled into a sense that you’ve always been there. The truth is far from this for most of us.
As a child I loved the Lord greatly. He was everything to me, and I easily and naturally accepted Christ into my life and received the blessed gift of the Holy Spirit as a young girl. But as I grew and became more exposed to the world, I began to wander far from God. By the time I reached college, I had wandered so far away that the secular university I attended and the ideas I met there easily sealed all belief away in a very small section of my soul. The Holy Spirit was imprisoned there by my own free will.
In this time, I did truly evil things and I justified them with words like child’s play, necessity and need. After all, without God, there is no true standard of good. Without God, all actions are personally justifiable. Without God, no one could tell me that what I was doing was wrong. How dare they even try? But, deep down, I could not escape the knowledge of the law of God written on my heart, no matter how hard I tried. (Romans 2:14-15)
About 30 years into this lifestyle, I began going to c|Life with my young daughter. It was there that the Holy Spirit still with me clashed with the Word of God and exploded. I could not sit through a sermon without falling apart. Every message was written specifically for me. The pastors stared directly at me and burned holes into my soul. They pointed the spotlights on me and moved them when I moved. I shook, I sweat, I could not control my tears, and my countenance fell to pieces.
God was calling me home. Me. All justifications fell away and, this time, I understood exactly who I was without God, and it was not good. I was not worthy of existence in a world where he existed, much less worthy of his calling and love. Yet there it stood, handed out to me as a gift.
God stood before me, the worst prodigal daughter imaginable, and offered me his love and grace. Shattered and beautifully broken, I took it. And I understood what I never understood as a little girl.
I understood that Jesus died for me. He died for the things I chose to do that were outside of God’s will for me. God sacrificed himself so that, once I was brought to the horrifying realization that I had personally destroyed all roads leading to the Father, he could still point the way to the bridge that was his Son. And I could cross over and live, now and in eternity, with perfect love and perfect goodness.
I thank Him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He judged me faithful, appointing me to His service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor and insolent opponent.
— 1 Timothy 1:12-13a
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
— Ephesians 2: 8-10
May we never lose sight of the overwhelming gratitude we felt that day, and the complete surrender we felt for God. May we never forget the calling that God gives us once we have surrendered to him, to go out into the world and love others as he loves us.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
— John 15:12