In my first blog post, I shared that as a new Christian I was struggling to wrap my head around the goodness of God, and at that point, I still didn’t understand the concept of the full freedom Christ had won for me. F. J. Huegel explained my struggle perfectly when he said, “… the facts indicate that they (new Christians) usually wander for some years in the wilderness of a divided affection, before entering into the land of milk and honey.” I can 100% attest to this being my personal testimony! I was so caught up in the, “what’s okay and what’s not okay” dilemma, that I never simply turned my eyes onto Jesus and towards the beautiful gift He had bestowed in me.
I think my real journey to finding a more abundant Christ-filled life started shortly after my car accident in September of 2017. I’ve heard that near death experiences can be eye opening, and make you re-evaluate your life… Well, now I can say, “ain’t that the truth!”
It was the Sunday morning of September 3rd, 2017. I woke up in a hospital bed, unsure of my whereabouts, and trying to figure out how I had gotten to wherever it was that I was… My head was throbbing, I was connected to a ventilator, and it didn’t take me long to realize I was in a hospital. A nurse came in and explained that I had been in an accident the night before, and asked if she could call anybody for me. I couldn’t talk with the breathing tube down my throat, but she asked about my mom, and I nodded yes. That moment is way up there on the list of “most terrified I’ve ever been.”
At least according to human understanding (given the mangled remains of my Nissan, and the fact that the paramedics spent the whole ambulance ride trying to get me to breathe again) I probably should have died that night. Praise God that He had different plans for me!
I realized pretty quickly that I definitely needed to get my priorities in order. God bringing me to a new church, was the first page in this new chapter of my story. I met a group of believers who were genuinely excited about worshipping God! Not only that, but they were actually kind, loving, and welcoming! I shouldn’t have been shocked about any of these things, but I was totally baffled! These people actually looked and acted like Jesus!
I was suddenly so eager to personally get to know God, because I wanted to share in their joy and excitement! And I also wanted to find out why He had chosen to save my life (for probably the billionth time.) Something, and I’m guessing it was the Holy Spirit, compelled me to dive head first into Revelation.
Y’all, I was immediately convicted! I made it to Revelation 3, and I could hear God speaking directly to me. Revelation 3:1-2 & 15 “…….. ” (Amplified)
As I read through the rest of the book of Revelation, it’s as if for the first time I fully understood that we are at war. I honestly wasn’t sure my life could really support which side of the battle I was saying I was on. I was living day to day in a completely complacent manner! According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of complacent is – “marked by self satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.” 🙀🙀🙀 That definition will preach in and of itself!
I was relying on being self-satisfied, doing the best I could to look like or imitate Christ, but I wasn’t that worried about about how “sold out” I was for Jesus. And since it was just “me trying,” more often than not, I looked like me and not like Jesus. I was living as if completely unaware of the dangers of my “adversary the devil” who “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 Amplified)
How could I stand there and say, “I’m with Christ” and that “I’m fighting on His side,” while traipsing across enemy lines??? How could I say I even wanted to fight for Him, when I hardly knew Him? And I wasn’t exactly showing much interest in reading the book He gave me to learn more about Him… How could I sing praises to Him on Sunday, and then Monday – Saturday listen to music and watch movies that were inundated with the things that caused the crown of thorns to be shoved in His skull, the nails to be driven into His hands and feet, the spear to be driven through His side?!? While I claimed to be a soldier of Christ, I was actually a Benedict Arnold!
I was Judas.
I was betraying “the Captain of my salvation” by fraternizing with the enemy!!! (Hebrews 2:10 NKJV)
The Holy Spirit grabbed a hold of my heart, and gave me a decent shaking as I continued to read. After that “Revelation,” I immediately ran back to the book of John to read afresh about what Jesus had sacrificed for me at Calvary. I was reminded once again, that I’m the disciples who couldn’t bother to stay awake for Jesus while He prayed and asked His Father for another way. I am Peter who swore he wouldn’t deny Jesus, but did at the first chance he got…
and the second…
and the third.
I’m Judas, a supposed friend, who betrayed Jesus with a kiss. I’m His disciples who fled and left Him when He was arrested. I am Caiaphus and the angry crowd that tore His robes, spit in His face, and struck Him. I’m the crowd that called for Him to be crucified. I’m Pilate who washed his hands, and said he wasn’t responsible. I’m the soldiers that mocked Him. I’m the soldiers that nailed him to the cross. It was my sins that put Him there. It was my sins that crushed Him.
BUT... (Oh! How I love that word!) But, while He was taking MY nails, and MY thorns, and MY humiliation, and MY cross, dying the death that I deserved; somehow, I was on His mind!!! “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34 (ESV) He knew me. He knew my wicked heart. BUT, He still loved me!!!!
If nothing else, Jesus loved me enough to lay down His life for mine. How could I not be a faithful soldier for my King who sacrificed everything??? Not only that, but I’ve read the end of His story. I know Who wins this war!!! The Holy Spirit totally opened my eyes! I didn’t even realize how complacent I had become!!! But, isn’t that literally the definition of complacency? “…. unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.”
I have been so convicted lately to “live my life to the fullest,” but not even a little bit in the way the world thinks you should do that. I’ve said YOLO (you only live once) before in regards to traveling the world, jumping out of an airplane, or trying a new food. But, as a Christian shouldn’t that “silly” phrase actually be sobering? Yes, one day, I’ll live again with Him for eternity! But, what am I doing with this one earthly life that He has given me???
So, I surrendered all to Him, and I cannot even tell you how joyous and freeing life is now. I’ve been spending much less time watching TV (because honestly the desire just isn’t there,) and spending much more time in prayer and reading through His love letter to me. I’m finding so much satisfaction in getting to know the One who gave His life for me! I want to personally know the Victor of this war, and He has pulled me in with open arms!
I have also been praying for ways to let His life shine through mine! I’ve been praying for opportunities to share the gospel, opportunities to serve, opportunities to show kindess… I’ve been praying that Jesus would so fully take over my life, that when people look at me, they don’t see me… They see Him!
I’m so ashamed of the time I’ve wasted dawdling about, not a care in the world, and even flirting with the enemy at times! But, now I can’t help but tell everyone I know about the unbelievable God I serve!
It’s also been on my heart, that He has specifically asked certain things of me – His soldier. And after everything He has done and has promised to do for me, how could I not comply?? Here are some of things He asks:
““- Revelation 3:1 Amplified
“… Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. “- Mark 16:15 KJV
“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?“- Romans 10:13-14 ESV
[for there are many who need to hear the good news about salvation], [those available to proclaim the message of salvation] [prayerfully] ” – Luke 10:2 Amplified
**And the instructions that I find most fitting of my Commander, given my newfound awareness of the war I’m standing in:
“In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might. Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious]. So stand firm and hold your ground, having tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart), and having strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news]. Above all, lift up the [protective] shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all God’s people. And pray for me, that words may be given to me when I open my mouth, to proclaim boldly the mystery of the good news [of salvation], for which I am an ambassador in chains. And pray that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly and courageously, as I should” – Ephesians 6:10-20 Amplified
I encourage you to take a quick moment to pause, examine your life, and discover where you are standing in this war. What side do you say you’re on?
Friend, if you’re not on Christ’s side, I’ll be frank. You’re on the losing side of this war. You may have happiness for a moment, but it’s fleeting and doesn’t last. But my King, offers joy unspeakable, everlasting life, a hiding place in times of trouble, forgiveness for every mistake, love beyond measure and SO much more!! If you don’t know Him, I’d be happy to tell you how you can!
If you say you’re on Christ’s side of the war, does your life prove it? Or does the enemy have the distinct impression that you’re on his side? Have you become complacent (self – satisfied and unaware of danger) in your relationship with Jesus?
I’ve come to realize that Christianity isn’t a “one and done” thing. It’s a daily (minute by minute even) choice to crucify your flesh with Christ, in order to live an abundant Christ-filled life. I highly recommend reading through F. J. Huegel’s “Bone of His Bone.” It has been genuinely eye opening and extremely convicting!
God, here I am before You
I’m weak and broken down.
Scarred and flawed by all my sin…
King of sinners I’m crowned!
There is nothing good within me.
I’m the worst of humanity!
But God, You’re everything for me!
You are Holy!
You are Almighty!
You gave me life by giving death,
Created man with just one breath!
You are powerful!
You are strong!
The sun, the moon, the stars are Yours
And all creation sings Your song!
It sings HOLY! BEAUTIFUL!
NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES!
It sings GLORIOUS! WONDERFUL!
JEHOVAH and YAHWEH!
You are God!
And You have saved me!
I can’t begin to speak
Of all the things You gave me!
A wretch that was in sin,
You cleansed without, within.
God, please use me now
As before Your throne I bow!
King of kings You are to me!
I want to shine for all humanity
The beauty of Your kingdom,
And the power of Your love!
How You won my freedom,
When You left Your throne above.
You became a lowly human,
Yet You lived a perfect life
So that I could be a new man
And I wouldn’t have to die!!!
Oh God with every breath I breathe
May Jesus flow from all of me!
Let my smile share Your grace
And may my life reveal Your face!
Oh God, I beg You please
Reveal Yourself through me!
Because You’re Holy!
You are Almighty!
You gave me life by giving death.
Created man with a single breath!
God, Your power and Your strength
How I long to sing Your praise!
The sky, the sun, the stars, the moon
All creation sings of You!
It sings HOLY! BEAUTIFUL!
NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES!
It sings GLORIOUS! WONDERFUL!
JEHOVAH and YAHWEH!
You are God!
And I as I end this heartfelt prayer
I sense Your presence everywhere!
I hear You whisper in my ear
Those sweet words I long to hear!
You say, “I AM!!!”