The 3 Things I Really Wish I Knew When I became a Christian

1. Remember

When I say became a Christian, I mean that the Holy Spirit convicted me of my sin through his gentleness and love for me. Being the analytical seeker I am sought out what was truth and what was right at a young age. I wasn’t merely convinced because I grew up Catholic. I found it in a Person: The person of Christ Jesus. What brought me to faith was the unfathomable love I realized the God of the entire universe had for me, personally, specifically. I’m talking God’s thoughts for me are innumerable, not just because I became a Christian. Those are His thoughts for every single person because “God is patient and not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9 ESV)

How precious to me are your thoughts oh God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count they are more than the grains of sand (in the ocean). (Psalm 139:17-18) ESV Emphasis Added

I wish that someone would’ve told me in the beginning of my Christian walk, that I should preach the Gospel to myself daily. Yes, the same grace (kindness, forgiveness) that saved me, that lit a fire in me and that filled me with His Holy Spirit is the fire that continually needs to fill me throughout my life. But it’s too easy to be weighed down by the weight of the world, the troubles of it, the anxieties of life, the burdens of stress and the pain we experience. That’s why when pain in fact comes, I know I need to remember now that I’m in Christ He can use that pain for a purpose! Now that I’ve been through it, I can comfort someone else who may go through it with the same comfort I was given by God Almighty.

Jesus hates our trials and pain yet He’s with us in the midst of it. While some people who we can label as hypocrites show just how nutty they can be in accusing people wherever they find fault, Jesus looks for a chance to heal people wherever He can. I mean this is the Gospel. Jesus the Great Physician seeks to save the lost: all of us at one point or another. How does He save us? By literally entering into what it means to be a human. The emotions, the grief, the pain and tears, the laughter, the joy, the sorrow and the surprises. And then when we believe Him and obey Him by literally entering into our hearts! But Jesus also went through the most painful death anybody come imagine on top of that. So He knows pain greater than we could ever imagine. Believe me. Or don’t, but Believe Him!

2. Rejection

Oh the sting of rejection. How it draws to surface insecurities we thought we’d worked through long ago. How it accuses us of them and throws the anguish in our faces that we are “not enough.” Listen Jesus knew rejection. I may feel rejected or persecuted for being a Christ follower but that is but a fraction of what God Himself felt when He went through hell on earth and literally emptied Himself of His own life for my sake. And most of the world in fact rejects Him still.

Do you know what it’s like to give someone something freely and not get but a thank you in return? Oh but He does! In fact after all that He gets mocking, making fun of and worse in return. And He prays for those people still!

The good God I serve does not diminish my pain and sorrow, no matter the severity and scope rather He enters into it with me.

The emotions, betrayal, wounds. He received them. Literal wounds for my sake.

Isaiah 53:4-5: “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was PIERCED for our transgressions (sins); crushed for our iniquities; upon His was the chastisement that brought us PEACE, and by His wounds we are healed.” (ESV Emphasis Added)

Listen, “Rejection is not admission on their part that you’re worthless. It’s actually admission on God’s that you are priceless. They can’t afford you!” (Keion Henderson)

3. Restoration

He provides restoration. One day all things will be made new. Right now He can make you new. He can give you a new heart and new desires. But you have to seek Him first. He will not hide. What I wished somebody would have told me is that I could actually begin to speak to God and hear back from Him. Going to Catholic school emphasized the speaking to Him part, but not the hearing part. Joining a Bible based church and leaving the Catholic church when I was older was where I learned to hear from Him personally through His Word. It’s absolutely amazing the stories I could tell of how He’s spoken exactly what I’ve needed to hear. The way He speaks cannot be confined because He cannot be. I want to tell a true story today of something that God lined up for me today. All glory to Him:

I was getting blood work done routinely. The moment I walked in a feeling of peace and calm came just talking to the receptionist. I greeted the nurse and felt like I should ask her if she was a believer. That didn’t surprise me and I didn’t think it was God because naturally I want to ask everyone that. I scanned the room as she prepared the needle. I caught a small, pink book which looked like a Bible. I asked her if that was hers. It was! She told me she normally hides it so that people don’t get freaked out but she was praying and reading today because of some persecution she’s faced lately. I immediately began talking to her about her family and faith. About how many believe there are many ways to God, not just Christianity.

She told me in talking to someone they told her she was “blind” because she believed there’s just one. I told her JESUS meant it when He said broad is the path that leads to destruction but narrow is the gate that leads to life. What’s the broad path? The many faiths and many religions idea. I don’t think Jesus got it wrong. She was stunned. I didn’t do anything special but God did. He lined up this specific meeting somehow on this day because He knew she needed it. She needed encouragement to just keep going and to know God cared for her so much. I prayed with her before I left, confident that God would fight all of her battles just as HE promised! She was stunned. I was stunned. God wasn’t, He orchestrated it.

This is the type of thing I’d always wanted to see happen when I first became a Christian. I didn’t want to just read about it happening in my Bible but to actually make it happen and see God make it unfold. As I’ve taken steps in my faith and risks to be faithful HE’S BLESSED every single step, small or large and He has brought me on adventures I can only attribute to His grace, kindness and power.

 

 

June 21

Alexander Oram

 

 

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