WHY I QUIT LIVING MY LIFE
I was brought up in a Christian home. My parents made sure my brother and I were in church every time the doors were open on Sunday mornings, nights and even Wednesday evenings for potluck dinner. Both sides of my mom and dads family were mostly all professed believers. My family would pray around the dinner table and before bed and in times of stress my mother taught us how to pray and seek the Lord for guidance and protection. As well as the importance of knowing the Bible. Just after my ninth birthday I asked the Lord Jesus into my heart and became a believer. Although I knew I was a new creation there was still something that continued to get in the way... ME.
I learned early on that winning the approval/praise of others felt warm and comforting. And after losing my dad to a long battle of cancer, finding something that garnered praise and affirmation, especially from men, was like finding the secret to life. When all I was really longing for was a father to tell me I was good enough.
I would use my God given talents and abilities for my own self gratification. Yes, I’d give my gifts back to the church but for all the wrong reasons. It’s ironic really, that a worship leader, with gifts given from above, can use those abilities inside the church in order to garner praise only to himself while simultaneously pointing people to Jesus. “What the enemy meant for evil the Lord uses for good.” I was living my life instead of the one God wanted for me.
This continued for most of my young adult life. My faith seemed like a yo-yo bouncing up and down and all around. One minute I’d be living in sin and then the next I’d 180 and turn my life around. The problem in these moments of repentance was it was still about ME! My approval wasn’t found in affirmation from above but tiresomely seeking praise from those around me. Inevitably spiritual burnout quickly followed and eventually old patterns would return. This back and forth in my heart would send me into a “shame tale-spin ” wherein I’d reach for anything to comfort me in my place of shame and victim-hood.
This led to all kinds of vices from alcohol abuse, drugs, sexual immorality and theft. In the midst of this dark dive I’d continue to perform and show the world that everything was ok. To keep up the spiritual charade I found lying to be the way to keep up appearances. I created a way to always be seen in a positive light when all the while I was deceiving myself. I felt that if they knew the real me then they’d run for the hills and want nothing to do with me. A lot like I felt when my 9 year old self was found alone standing over his father’s casket. The fear of being alone was a feeling I never wanted to feel again and preserving my appearance only reinforced the lie I kept telling myself and working so hard to preserve. This “well oiled machine” was a form of captivity that seemed inescapable. But Jesus never stopped pursuing me!
In the midst of some of the darkest and deplorable moments of my life, Jesus was there. He was there when the poor choices in my life seemed fulfilling. He was there the next morning when shame and guilt ensued. He was there protecting me when my life was threatened by unforeseen danger. He has heard every lie I’ve told myself and those around me. He heard me when I said, “F!$@ your God!” Through all these things JESUS has never left me nor forsaken me. Quite the opposite. HE HAS RESCUED ME! I was like a prisoner of war and He came in, like Army rangers breaking through doors, and saved me from the “well oiled prison” I had built for myself. I finally put a name to my demons of not being good enough and the need to find my self worth in the approval of man. I don’t always get it right, because I’m not perfect and never will be, but instead I turn to the one who is!
For the first time in my life, I find my strength, self worth and affirmation in Jesus Christ. I no longer live in shame about my weaknesses or failures and therefore have no pain to sooth with vices from the past! I am no longer at the center of my salvation. I was never meant to be. Jesus is and will forever be my center and my savior. I am a new creation and have been made perfect in Him. As I continue on this journey, I walk in step with Him. Along the way sharing my story with others and introducing them to the one that rescued me from myself and the lies the enemy wants us all to believe. I now have quit living my life and now I live the life that He has for me!
I want to encourage you to answer these questions with complete honesty as I did:
- Have you ever told a lie?
- Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vain?
- Have you ever stolen something?
- Have you ever looked at a woman or man with lustful thoughts?
- Have you ever longed for something that someone else has?
I answered yes to a good bit of these questions and my guess is we all could. The truth about being a good person is in reality I’m not and neither is anyone else. Sure, we can do “good things” but what of the not so good things we’ve done and might do? There has to be a price paid for the things that we’ve done wrong. Look at it this way if you were standing before a judge after committing a crime and told him, “but your honor, I’ve done so many great things and I know I’m not as bad as that person or that person!” His reply would be, “I am a good and righteous judge and there has to be price paid for your crimes. All the good doesn’t erase the debts in your life. You are guilty.” This is exactly what we are all facing when we come to the end of our lives. We will stand in front of a righteous God and be judged for what we’ve done. This Judgement is coming and we have a choice to make, spend eternity in Heaven or Hell. THE GOOD NEWS is we have someone who paid for our penalties and transgressions. His name is Jesus Christ. Through Him and believing that He is the Son of God and that He died on a cross and on the 3rd day arose from the grave, then repenting from our sins to not return to our past way of living, will expunge our sins and will in turn put us in right standing with the Father. Through this gift that God has given us and through sending His son to die for us and believing in Him we thereby are given the gift of eternal life in heaven with our loving Father. If this is a decision you would like to make then recognize the sin that is in all our lives and make the decision to repent and pray this prayer to receive the gift of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ:
“Lord Jesus, for too long I’ve kept you out of my life. I know that I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself. No longer will I close the door when I hear you knocking. By faith I gratefully receive your gift of salvation. I am ready to trust you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming to earth. I believe you are the Son of God who died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead on the third day. Thank you for bearing my sins and giving me the gift of eternal life. I believe your words are true. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus, and be my Savior. Amen.”
If you have sincerely prayed this prayer and repent from your old life then let me be the first to say welcome to the family of believers! I wanna encourage you to get connected into a local body of believers and church that is bible centered. They can help you understand the Bible. I pray the Lord guide you and keep you all the days of your life! Amen.