January 19-20, 2013
Yes, “Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior?” is the biggest question you have to answer. Your response determines your eternity. But have you asked yourself the next burning question, “Will you make Him the Lord of your life?” The answer to this question will determine the Christian’s life here on Earth.
You see, I accepted Christ as my personal Savior as a small child, saying the sinner’s prayer with my mother. Being raised in a Baptist church as a kid, I responded to a number of altar calls with further acceptance of Christ as my Savior, because what kid would ever want to burn in Hell forever? In my heart, I just wanted to make sure I was assured of that eternal destination of Heaven.
Well, I continued through my middle school and high school years with great blessing and accomplishment, but on the inside, I was really struggling. Sure, I knew all the memory verses and was a clean cut, well-behaved, bright, well-spoken teenager in front of the adults. But I put acceptance and the opinions of my peers on the top of my priority list. I wanted to be important, included, popular, different, special. All unfortunately using the worlds criteria.
Well, my foul language, lying, alcohol and drug use, and many other sinful behaviors, escalated causing multiple consequences … compromised athletic accomplishments in my senior year of high school, losing out on a baseball scholarship, loss of an Air Force ROTC scholarship after 2 years, almost getting thrown out of college for violating the honor code and cheating, almost flunking out of college, and almost not being accepted into medical school as I made the waiting list. So many consequences, but it could have been much worse as God extended me so much grace.
My troubles all culminated halfway through medical school, on Super Bowl Sunday. I was arrested for 6 counts of aggravated assault and landed in jail. It was in that cold, lonely cell that God asked me if I was ready to make Him the Lord of my life, or if I still wanted to be the Lord of my own life. Me being Lord wasn’t working out to well. It never really did. He told me if I made Him the Lord of my life, he would teach me the spiritual discipline of decision-making that would bring all 3 spheres of my education and experiences together to transform my mind and life and also allow me to help others understand this key decision-making spiritual discipline to transform their lives as well.
You see, when we answer this question soundly and regularly stand by it, all the other questions become so clear. Questions like, “Should I pray for healing or God’s will?” “Is this the right house?” “Should we use in vitro to get pregnant?” “Should I get divorced?” “Should I call that person I am angry with?” “Should I speak up for what is right, do the right thing?” When He is our Lord, our authority, the Holy Spirit is on the throne of our heart, and the Bible becomes our powerful how-to manual for life. His lenses are our lenses for every facet of our life, big or small. It was way better than what I was using, which landed me in jail.
Since that night at 3 AM in a cold prison cell, with a bloodied face, a bruised body, and tattered shirt, God has never broken His promise to me, and my life has never been the same. God’s grace and blessing have been truly amazing, abundant, and overwhelming.
Today, ask yourself that burning question, “Have you given yourself totally to God?” If the answer is no, then ask yourself why not? What do you need to believe differently about God or yourself in order to give yourself to Him as He gave Himself for you? As long as you keep putting yourself in your own hands, life will be hard and your potential very limited. You are lord or Him is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, It is so beautiful and rewarding to see Your work even in difficult circumstances. Help me look to You, Father, during these difficult times, as there is so much to learn when life doesn’t meet my expectations. I want to live a life that is close to You. I ask You, Father, to remove every obstacle that prevents me from totally giving myself to You. I am a terrible authority and lord of my life. I’m not sure why I demand to be in that role. I know my pride gets in the way of being dependent on You. I pray this in the name of the One who gave Himself totally for me, Jesus Christ; And all God’s children say – AMEN!
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; Romans 8:26