[Jesus said,] â€œGod loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through himâ€¦They are judged by this fact: The Light has come into the world, but they did not want light. They wanted darkness, because they were doing evil things. All who do evil hate the light and will not come to the light, because it will show all the evil things they do. But those who follow the true way come to the light, and it shows that the things they do were done through God.â€ Â Â John 3:16-21 (NCV)
Do you remember the day (or night) that you said â€œYes, Jesus, I need You as Savior and Lordâ€? Stop a minute and think about it. Maybe you have been blessed to grow up always knowing about Jesus and His love and it seems He has always been there for you. But I bet there was a moment, a time, when the enormity of what He did for you struck a chord inside you that changed your walk with Him forever.
I donâ€™t remember a time when I didnâ€™t know the name Jesus and that He was born in a manger in Bethlehem and died on a cross on Calvary. But it took over 40 years until I admitted, accepted, the fact that Jesus did it â€¦ for me. My personal pride and at the same time my feelings of no self-worth had me rejecting the idea that Jesus did it all for me. No way! I could not accept that God loved me so much that He sent His Son to die for me so that we could spend eternity together.
My walk to freedom happened on a July night in 1995 when a preacher said,
â€œWhat good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes into his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.â€ Â Luke 9:25-26 (NIV, emphasis mine)
The truth ran through me like Drain-o through a clogged pipe. I was ashamed of God. I was ashamed that I needed Him and so had rejected His gift all my life. Wellâ€¦He was going to reject me if I didnâ€™t turn around, lay that pride of mine down, and walk toward Him. It was no coincidence that I was in a room with about 2000 people. The â€˜ashamed factorâ€™ was going to be dealt with right then! All of this went through my mind in the 15-20 minutes between when the preacher read that Scripture and invited all who would to come forward. I don’t believe that you must go forward in that way. It is about what has happened in your heart, not the ceremony. But for me, it was a tangible way for me to reject my pride and I have always had that memory to encourage and remind me of God’s extravagant love.
I got to my feet and stepped out into the aisle and Iâ€™ve never looked back. My life since that night has been more like the â€˜via dolorosaâ€™ than the â€˜mount of transfigurationâ€™! It has taken me awhile to understand that walking with Christ means walking with Christ. His life here was not easy or beautiful. It was with eyes on eternity that Jesus walked this earth in peace and joy. Iâ€™m learning.
I look at my walk to Jesus and my heart is full and overflowing with love and gratitude for the One, the only One, who loves me. He loves me without conditions and desires that I grow closer and closer to Him. My walk to freedom on that July night continues each day: â€œFree at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty! I am free at last!â€
â€¦when a person changes and follows the Lord, that covering [veil] is taken away. The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Our faces, then, are not covered. We all show the Lordâ€™s glory, and we are being changed to be like him, This change in us brings ever greater glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (NCV)