This is for my good friend Bob, who, in his own genuine in-your-face way of saying things, suggested that I should write a post that focuses on the good things of having a relationship with God, instead of on the challenges of being a Christian.
Taking Bob’s lead, I’m going to share what’s on my heart about the good stuff; about what God has done, and continues to do in my life every day. This is what my Un-God “brings to my table”…
I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that as a child you either sang or heard “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…” I can’t tell you how many times I joined in with my childhood friends in singing this classic, but I can tell you how many times I believed what I was singing: None. You read it correctly the first time. None. Nada. Zilch. Zippo.
No, I’m not trying to be controversial here. I just never believed that Jesus, or God, really loved me. Why not? Well, to begin with, I never read the Bible. Neither did my parents. (I remember this HUGE Family Bible that used to sit on the top shelf of the hall closet in our home. I’d bring it down every once in a while to look at it, because it looked real expensive and had some really pretty pictures in it.) The church that my parents attended never really stressed reading the Bible. What I’m trying to say here is that the Bible wasn’t much more than a book to me, because it didn’t seem to be much more than that to my parents or our church. Why should I believe a book?
There’s one more reason for my disbelief, and I believe that it was at the heart of the issue. I don’t believe that love can be found in a book; not even in the Bible. Wouldn’t you agree that you can read about love, and you can write about love, and you can hear about love, but the only way that you’re going to know what love really feels like is to experience it?
I didn’t begin to feel God’s love until a few years ago, when I opened my eyes to all that He has done for me, and I accepted Him as my father. That’s when I began to love Him, and that’s when I really begin to realize the depth of His love for me. You see, I don’t think that you fully feel the love of the Lord until you give Him that same love.
How many friends, family members, or loved ones do you have that are willing to forgive you, regardless of what you’ve done, or how many times that you’ve done it?
As much as my wife Jackie loves me, I’ve gotta believe that if were to keep hurting her repeatedly for the same offense, regardless of what it was, that at some point she’d have a hard time finding forgiveness in her heart for me. Even if she were to keep “turning the other cheek” time after time, she’d have a hard time forgetting the pain that I caused her.
Not so with God. You see, His Son already paid the price for every offense that you already have committed, and the ones that you haven’t even committed yet. Forgiveness, complete forgiveness, is yours, just for the asking.
He is the ultimate Father. All is forgiven. All is forgotten. The slate is wiped clean. How many chances do you get to get it right with God? As many chances as you need. He knows a remorseful heart.
When I opened my heart up to God, it opened my heart to the world. You see, I was filled with, not only a passion for Him, but for life.
Passion is an infectious thing! When I became passionate about God, it spread like wildfire. I was more passionate about my relationships with people, my career, and even my hobbies. It was almost as if I was looking at things that had always been in my life with a new set of eyes. Funny how the heart and the eyes are so connected…
Believe it or not, I used to be a man of very few words. I mean, I wouldn’t even take for up myself, or speak my piece, much less talk openly about my faith or my love for God. I didn’t want to be confrontational. Besides, it was just so much easier to throw myself under the bus than to spend all the effort that it took to dodge it or throw someone else under it.
All that changed in 2006, not long after I invited the Lord in and offered to be a Soldier of Christ. You see, that’s when the Holy Spirit stepped in.
Look, a lot of people don’t want to hear, learn, or say anything about the Holy Spirit because, well because they’re afraid. I’m telling you here and now that if you’ll invite the Holy Spirit in everyday, and then release Him to work in and through you, He’ll do exactly that!
If you think that I’m just referring to being bold in your faith, you’re wrong. When you’re filled with the Holy Spirit, His presence touches every facet of your life. Invite Him in, and you’ll see for yourself.
What is unwavering faith? It’s a knowing. I know that God is with me every step of the way. I know that He has a plan for all of us, and that He has a plan, a perfect plan that was designed just for me. I know that He’s gonna pick me up every time that I stumble and fall. I know that He will provide me with everything that I need. I know that He gives me, among other things, strength, wisdom, and understanding. I know that He has, and will continue to open doors for me that no man can. I know that with Him, I can do anything, and without Him, I can do nothing.
Did you know that unparalleled means “having no equal or match”? So do you get the importance of me saying that my relationship with God fills me with unparalleled joy? I don’t know that I can add anything to this one.
I’m aware of the fact that this doesn’t begin with UN, but I couldn’t pass this one up! Walking with Jesus every day is fun! Being filled by the Holy Spirit is fun! Having a Father that loves, and forgives, and forgets, and nurtures is fun! Worshipping an Almighty God through song and prayer with all that is in me is fun! Going to church is fun! Do you get what I’m saying here? Quite simply, I’ve never had more fun!
To be honest with you, I’m not sure if “undid” is actually a word in the English language. As it applies to my relationship with God, it’s the perfect word. You see, a few years ago, God undid me. By His goodness, He allowed me to strip away the layers of hurt and frustration that had been on my heart for years. He disassembled me…He let me disassemble myself. And then He helped me put myself back together. A-mazing. A-miracle.
My God is unbelievable! He brings all of these Un-things into my life every day, without fail. He fills me. He lifts me. He sustains me. He consumes me.
He loves me. I know it.
Not because it’s in the Bible.
Because it’s in my heart.