As many of you know, if you’ve been reading my posts, I’ve been around the block a few times. One person said to me “you have been through deep water”.
In this process my heart has softened to the needs around me, because I’ve experienced these needs and found them fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
In this post I’ll share a bit more deeply about my story. (You have a story too, which I’d like to hear on your blog when you’re ready).
When I was a boy (maybe 10?) I totally committed my life to being used by Jesus. I offered 3 times to be used and on the third time, He accepted my proposal. He warned me that it would be “very painful”. I asked if He would be there during the process, He hesitantly said yes. I asked if He would be there after, He said yes.
I will never forget that decision, because it has utterly shaped my life since then. Year after year people would come to me and prophesy that things were going well and He would never leave me nor forsake me. But my life was in free fall.
In my teenage years, I experienced something that was so traumatic that I cannot remember it. But as of this week, I am beginning to remember events surrounding it. As a result of that trauma, I could not think straight, I could not mentally hold the line, I could not tell light from dark or earthly reality from spiritual things. Unknown things would trigger me and I’d constantly feel lost, out of touch and left behind.
To navigate through life, we need “reference points”. Our parents usually provide that. When we are unsure of something, we talk to an aunt or uncle and get a reference point. Unfortunately my family was not like that for me. What’s worse is that I was dealing with dark shapes and all kinds of spiritual things – and I couldn’t figure them out or find help from anyone.
At this point some people reading this know what it was that happened and some people are wondering if I am nuts. I won’t talk about the experience any further in this post). But yes, that’s how I spent my teen and early adult life… wondering if I was nuts.
In the meantime, as I was spiraling down as a human being, I became vulnerable to drugs, to sexual predators and all the other things that happen to people who are confused, helpless and vulnerable.
But God had a plan. The bible says that the potter sometimes has to break the pot in order to reshape it. God led Jeremiah to a potters workshop to show Jeremiah how God sometimes works with His people:
But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. – Jer 18:4
He was shaping me. As a young boy when I decided that I wanted to be used, no doubt at His calling, what I had in mind was that God would show me how to live the bible and how to be bullet proof. In my head I thought “I’ll do it the right way” but God had other plans for me.
Rather than make me an arrogant know it all… a perfect bible-basher who is so bullet proof that he never falls and never sins… instead He decided to make me useful in His Kingdom.
Whoever is the least among you is the greatest – Luke 9:48
This seems so contradictory to how we expect things to be, doesn’t it? We are looking for Saul and God desires a David.
I had completely misunderstood what it means to be useful. I thought a perfect and sinless life would make me useful. Instead He let me experience what other people experience. He not only showed me how some people live, He caused me to live as they live.These days, instead of pointing a finger at the “sinners” in this world, I am one of those “dreadful” sinners. 🙂
And I then I personally found out that God loves sinners. He loves everyone. Instead of being angry at those who are trapped, He’s angry at those who are DOING THE TRAPPING.
But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. – Matt 18:6
I have fallen in just about every way. I didn’t want to. If you know me at all, you’ll know I kicked and screamed and prayed on the way down. Jesus went down and experienced death, in order to save my life.
I’m not proud of the sins I have done – and continue to do – but I am very glad that God didn’t give me what I wanted.
I wanted to be perfect, but He made me soft hearted to people and the state of this world.
Now when I speak to people in the occult, they assume that because I’m a Christian, I must be a cowering phony who hides away from the “true” spiritual nature of this world. But soon they find out that I’ve experienced everything that they have experienced – and through Jesus I have overcome.
When I speak to people who are addicted, they might assume that I’m not able to relate to their entrapment or needs. Instead they discover that I can’t point the finger at them… so instead I point the finger to Jesus.
It was only by losing everything that I became desperate for His help. I lost my life (and my sanity) and I gained His life in me.
That is why it is hard for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God:
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. – Matt 19:23
Why is it hard?
Because they can provide for themselves, they only kinda/sorta/maybe part time need God – for the stuff they can’t do for themselves.
Rich people may not need to cry out to God for daily food. Rich people may choose to use psychology and medications to insulate themselves from their need for healing from God. A rich person might live in a mansion or a penthouse and they may struggle to perceive the plight of the very people that Jesus came to save.
It’s not bad to be rich. Christians can be rich. Sort of. (Read: Be like a river – AKA should Christians be rich?)
Jesus said about His mission to humanity…
But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”
When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.”
Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” – Matt 9:11-13
In this verse He was confronting the OT Pharisees. They didn’t keep the OT command to love people. They didn’t rely on God but were stiff-necked. They felt that their choices and actions and laws made them righteous.
Jesus was saying, if you think you’re righteous, then you won’t respond to My call to be saved. You don’t need a savior. And they didn’t think they needed one.
If we know we need a savior, Jesus can save us. He can and He will. But we have to truly rely on Him. Truly. Rely.
Salvation is a decision. But going into the Kingdom of God requires a wholehearted committment and a complete change in your ways, your choices and your lifestyle.