There have been many times where I have greatly experienced God’s grace. However, there is one time I can remember in detail, and it changed my life forever.
My family regularly attended church when I was a child. I consistently heard this name, 'Jesus.' It was a popular Name! Because I grew up hearing it, my ears became familiar with it, but it missed my heart every time. It wasn’t until high school that I really began to understand Jesus was actually a real person and not just some spiritual title. As I began to read the Bible and go to small groups, I saw that Jesus lived on earth and died for the sins of those who would turn to Him. So, I thought that because I knew that fact, I was in. I said the ‘special prayer.’ I was in right?!? When I say I tried to be a good Christian, I REALLY did!
I read my Bible every day, journaled, and prayed. I did everything a Pinterest post might say to do for a closer walk with God.
This is Not Right?
Something was missing. I didn’t feel sure of my salvation. I secretly questioned if I actually was a Christian. I questioned if it was possible to know for certain. "Like, how could anyone be really sure?" That was the pressing thought. So, I asked people at church and because of my attendance and involvement in church, they reassured me that I was indeed a Christian. They said they saw 'evidence' in my life. Plus, I said the 'prayer!'
It didn’t make the question in my heart go away. I can’t tell you how many times I repeated that ‘prayer “I am a sinner, You came for sinners, I believe You died for sinners and you will forgive, please forgive me.” I believed it…as much as I could, but it never brought lasting peace.
I went to Bible College, minored in biblical studies. Surely I was a Christian, right? I still felt like I wasn’t sure. After attending a local church. I was encountered by people who seemed to know a different Jesus than I did. They seemed to know His love (I mean for real) and not in a theoretical way. I thought, “Wow, I want that!.” So I asked and no one told me to say a special prayer. Shocking! No one told me to do anything other than repent and believe. Most of that was summed up in the phrase “Look to Christ.”
“First all, what does that even mean,” I thought to myself. “Look to Christ! Seek Christ!” I wanted to tell them, I had been doing that since youth group. I never received from them a '1, 2, 3, method,' and that frustrated me. “Okay, seek the Lord, Look to Christ!” They knew Him, and they were telling me this, so I was going to try. And try, I did.
Every spare moment I had was spent reading or praying. The thing that was so frustrating was that none of it ‘worked.’ I didn’t get assurance. I did not get anything other than what I already knew. However, I didn’t know what else to do. So, I just kept trying. I began to despair of myself. I couldn’t find the answer, and I was good at finding answers- I graduated with honors! I couldn’t read enough, pray enough... Nothing was earning me the right to know Him. He wouldn’t bargain with me. I couldn’t exchange my works: reading, praying, church meetings, and Bible studies, to know Him. All I wanted was to finally know Him!
I gave up trying to fix this problem. Obviously, I was just a failure at it. I did not know then, but that was the beginning of repentance for me- giving up all hope in my own efforts for salvation. Very soon on a Wednesday night sermon, God overwhelmed me with His grace and opened my eyes to see the cross of Christ and all of HIS sufficiency. I finally understood. It was the Cross! It was what Christ had done for me. My works, even if they were ‘godly ones’ could not save me.
That Wednesday night, I felt a burden lift and a freedom in Christ. I could call Him mine without a doubt. I trusted in Him with a trust that was given to me by Him. That night, I went back to my dorm room a changed person-spiritually! I was still sinful and like all believers, will be in the process of becoming more like Christ until I finally meet Him.
My heart was at rest for the first time. God’s grace was before my eyes. I was finally 'looking to Christ!' It was an overwhelming truth that He would die for ME. There have been struggles since, let me tell you! I didn't know half of the sin I now see. Becoming more like Christ (sanctification) is not a whimsical dance. It requires tests and trials, but it is a life of peace and comfort in a Person who is alive and sitting on His throne. It is a real relationship. He knows my name!
He offers the same for anyone who wishes to know Him. The answer is look to Christ, Seek Christ. I bet you knew I was going to say that!!
When was there a time where God amazed you with His grace?
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