January 7th marks two years since that night when I realized how desperately I needed Jesus in my life. Just months before that forever decision, just a few months into living back home, I was asking my dad and stepmom, “When will I know to make the decision to receive Christ?”
My dad’s response was something along the lines of, “You’ll know when you’re ready, no one can say that for you.”
January 7th, 2018 I made that prayer of faith, I pleaded to God that I wanted to have Jesus in my heart. I confessed that I was a sinner and that I desperately needed Jesus to come into my life and take over.
In my personal letter I wrote more in depth about it (just in case you want to read it).
But boy, oh, boy! has God has been so good to me these last two years. Some of the most important lessons God has been teaching me is obedience, self-value, acceptance of His will, and patience. God has been teaching me to wait patiently and I didn’t even want to do that for Him. I was too caught up in other things that I didn’t listen to God when He was clearly speaking. And when you don’t listen, consequences follow. Because God loves His children so much that He punishes and disciplines.
Proverbs 3:12 (NIV) – because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
I made some decisions in these two years, decisions that were not the wisest and I wish I didn’t make them in the first place. But, in the long run, it was necessary to make those decisions so that I could be molded into who I am as of now. God doesn’t break our hearts… we do that.
God gives us the free will to make decisions, but the beauty of it is that when we commit a wrong, God is merciful to help us back up. But, obviously, we are to come with a humble heart and fully repented, otherwise you’d be fooling yourself.
Proverbs 24:16 (ESV) – for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.
It’s like when your mom or your dad tells you not to do something, because they know it’s no good for you. But, they loosen us from their embrace when they see that we don’t want to obey and still want to do as we please, so they let go and let you do whatever you wanted to do in that moment. And then, lo and behold, we realize what we’ve done and in some way it has affected us and that’s when we humbly go to the arms of our parents in repentance and open up about what happened. Your parents knew what would’ve happened, but still they received you with open arms, they probably gave you advice and even encouraged you to take it as a lesson, because that’s just what a parent does. Maybe not everyone’s parent is like that, and if they aren’t, you should know that that is who God is. God is a loving Father who opens up His arms to have you in His embrace, knowing what you did was wrong, but accepting your repentance, because of grace and mercy. And even so, He reminds you that this experience was a lesson and you slowly start to understand why it was necessary to go through all of it.
Maybe some can totally relate to what I’m saying, maybe others can’t, and that’s totally okay. God works in ways that sometimes we can’t understand, but He allows many of these things to happen to strengthen our character and our faith, to mold us, to remind us that we should be putting Him first.
And we should be doing that.
I can say that I have been very shifty with how I was prioritizing God in my life these past two years.
It’s funny, because when everything was going well, I truly thought I had been making the right decision all along and I was forgetting that God should always be first. And I fell into a slump for some time, stressing out my life with school and other personal problems, and I just realized that I needed God in that moment and I sought His hand, and… for a moment, all was well. And so I kept seeking and kept seeking, and I failed here and there, and then… something else happened. I made a decision that got me my heart broken and I questioned God for a moment.
But then, I remembered that God had been using people, His Word, circumstances and my own conscience to tell me that I needed to stop whatever I was doing and literally seek HIM first and wholeheartedly. I just didn’t listen, because I didn’t want to.
Simply put, I wanted to do my will and proceed with my plans instead of consulting with the Heavenly Father about everything.
Thankfully, by the grace of God, I have accepted the will of God for my life in this new year and I pray that He can give me the guidance to do whatever He needs me to do.
And there is still so much to do. There’s still a long way to go.
There are still people that need the Gospel, there are still projects that have to be done for God’s Glory, there are souls to be saved!
That’s why I love the lost parables that Jesus talks about in Luke 15, especially the one about the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). I definitely recommend you to read the whole chapter of Luke.
Jesus Christ is coming back and I want to give account of what I did for His Glory, not my own. I want that whatever I have to go through be all done for His Glory and His Name.
1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV) – So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
I want to look out for others this year and the rest of my days God may grant me here on earth. Something I say to two of my best friends is this:
“let’s look out for each other this year”
Not only look out for them, but for others as well and I encourage you to do the same! If you’re a believer in Christ, look out for your brothers and sisters in Christ. You never know who’s going to need it. And make sure to consult with God and other spiritual leaders for advice. Remember to pray for them, that’s one of the most powerful pieces of armors we learn about in Ephesians 6:
Ephesians 16:18 (ESV) – praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints
Everyone’s gonna have to go through their own process, but there are always going to be people whom they can go to to talk. Maybe that’s you. Maybe you’re someone who’s going to need that person.
And I encourage you to surrender to Jesus if you still haven’t. Christianity is not rainbow and sunshine. Being a disciple of Christ means to deny yourself every single day, take up your cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). But, it is worth your life! Eternity with the Father and His Son in heaven is so worth the turbulence that we have to face on this earth, this temporary place where God has put us. God does not want you to perish and live for eternity in hell.
Seriously, hell is no joke. It still surprises me how people could possibly think that hell is such a party. Just read the book of Revelation. Or just look up “eternal torment” in the Bible, you will be surprised.
The Father wants to receive you with open arms, because He gave us Jesus and therefore we have grace and mercy in Him! That’s so amazing!
And another thing; go through the season God has you in, it’s all for good, all for a purpose:
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (ESV) – For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (ESV) – He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
Just trust God. He knows what He’s doing. He is our Creator and our Potter who molds us:
Isaiah 64: (ESV) – But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
There’s still a long way to go, and it won’t be easy, but we have to run this race with endurance:
Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV) – Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
And, to kind of finalize this, I want to share this verse for anyone who’s been struggling to put God first and been going through some difficult circumstances:
Matthew 6:33-34 (ESV) – ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. ‘
“If it breaks God’s heart, why would it fulfill yours?”Unknown