At age 12 I realized that I was a sinner and in need of a savior. I felt the sin nature in my life and fortunately had great parents that took me to a church where I heard of this man named Jesus. I learned how He was the Son of God who came down to earth, lived a perfect life without sin,. He was beaten and crucified on a cross in order that humans could be reunited with God through His innocent shed blood. In other words, He died in my place, so that my sins could be forgiven and I could have eternal life.
I was also told that if I wanted God to forgive me of all my sins that I had to do was Believe that Jesus was the Son of God and that he did indeed die and rose on the 3rd day, therefore, paying the death penalty for all humanity, including myself. I excitedly and willfully accepted Him into my life. From this moment forward I just knew that I would get to go to heaven one day and live forever with God.
What I didn’t know at the time was that living the Christian life was no bed of roses, or that I would now have begun many years of battling and struggling with the sin nature. See what I know now that I didn’t know then was that the sin nature would still tempt me as long as I am here on this earth even though I was saved from the penalty of sin. But I did have the power to overcome it now. I also didn’t realize that I would have to give up my own selfish desires daily and continue to put my faith in Jesus Christ in order to feel the freedom that I felt the moment I gave my life to Jesus when I was 12.
For many years after being saved I was living a miserable Christian life just as so many Christians live every day. I thought that now that I was saved that I had the power with in my self to defeat sin and be a success in my own eyes. I would live every day trying to do better, improve self, act as if I had it all together when at the same time on the inside I knew that I was falling apart. My Christian life was a roller coaster ride of ups and downs and many loops.
I read my Bible most days and tried to do what was right in my eyes but I still could not quite attain this freedom that I heard about and read about. I wanted to follow Christ but I didn’t know how. The flesh was pulling me one way and yet I knew that this would not lead me to new life, I still gave in to the things that were eating me up and killing me because they felt good at the time.
There were many days that I wanted to give up completely on the whole Christian thing but thank God, He wouldn’t let me. He had a plan all along. Just when I was so close to giving up, God would send a person to encourage me in my walk, or He would give me a new revelation of His Word. This happened time and time again.
One day as I was reading in Romans about dying to self and alive in Christ as I have read many times before, something hit me really hard. So hard that a weight lifted off of me like a ton of bricks. Tears of joy flowed from my eyes as I had discovered something that I had been looking for so long. It was the answer to my long sought after question. How could it had been there so plainly and I missed right by it so many times.
As I read through this Epistle I began to understand how in order to be free from the slave of sin, in which I was still allowing to control me, I would need to put my sin nature to death. Just as Christ was crucified, I was crucified with Him. In other words, my old self had to die in order to gain my new life in Christ. The big revelation for me was that I would I need to do this not just once but I would need to do this daily, maybe even multiple times a day if need be.
In other words, all of my selfish desires had to be destroyed and buried forever and to never return again. This was the only way to feel the freedom of peace, love, joy and true happiness that I wanted and that we all desperately want. Both the sinner and the saint.
It was encouraging to me as I continued to dig deeper learning that the Apostle Paul had the same struggle. As a matter of fact, we all have the same struggle. The good news is that there is a solution and that is putting our faith in what Christ accomplished on the cross 2000 years ago. The Apostle Paul understood that self was in fact his biggest problem just as it is with you and I and everyone else.
If self is our biggest problem and causes us most all of our problems then we need to start each day dying to self in order that God can work through us. As long as self is in the way God will not and cannot work through us like He has planned to do. In other words, the life that God has planned for us is so far much better than the one we have planned for ourselves. When we let self take control then we will eventually be led to defeat, failure, regrets, limits, and unfulfilled lives. But when we die to self and God takes over we discover a new life.
Our lives are meant to be used for the Glory of God. Anything that is done for another purpose will be less than the plan for our lives and will make us feel unsatisfied. We try to pacify our satisfaction with things other than Christ. These things may work temporarily but will eventually fade causing us to seek out more things of the flesh. When we come to understand that the nearness of God is the only way to have satisfaction then we will be glad to die to self daily in order that He can work through us.
I will close in saying that when the living breathing God is working in us and through us there is nothing like it. It is a feeling of power, love and a sound mind. All fear is removed. It is a feeling of peace and joy knowing that all guilt, shame, and debts are taken care of.
It is an unmistakable grace!
I hope this will encourage you today in your walk with God. If you are not currently walking with God and you would like to all you need to do is begin trusting in Him today. It is that simple. Do this every day. The same faith that saves us is the same faith that keeps us!
Romans 10:13, For, “everyone who calls on the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved!”
God bless for now,