I want to share with you something about myself that I’ve rarely shared with anyone.
In my early 20’s I didn’t “know, think or dare believe” that anyone truly loved me for just being me. My childhood was dysfunctional, so in turn during my teens years I turned to alcohol and guys to try to fill that “hole/emptiness” inside. Then I heard the true Gospel. WOW!! Someone did love me–God!
His love was/is the greatest, genuine, true love ever and I HAVE to share it with you…John 3:16 was my introduction to the Gospel. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
I liked that, but if God loved me then why was my life so ugly? Didn’t God care about some of the awful, unspeakable thing done to me? Plus I believed in His Son Jesus, I knew that from my early years in Catholic school. I didn’t understand! Then when I heard Romans 3:23 “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” I thought, “Ya, well so are you mister preacherman–you’re no better than me. Don’t be pointing your finger at me. Sure I swear sometimes, tell little white lies, drink too much, get frisky with my boyfriend, drive too fast, gossip, don’t go to church and wish my best friend’s car was mine (and her boyfriend too–truth be known). I knew that bad people were sinners, like murderers and the people who had hurt me as a child… but not me! And because I (supposedly) was a bad sinner I was gonna pay for it, huh? “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 Now I really started to wonder… God gave us Jesus, I believed in Jesus so I was all set. But, if I had eternal life in heaven… that meant everybody went to heaven. Even bad, evil people like murderers and communists (if they said they believed in Jesus). I remember learning that Jesus died on the cross for everybody, but still it didn’t make sense.
Then something started happening inside me, not in my head where I was trying to figure all this out, but in my heart. The words being read and preached opened up something inside me, and it was like I was listening with my heart, not my ears… “God made Him( Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God…” 1 Peter 3:18 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” Acts 3:19 “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20 At that point, I understood (from my heart). I accepted that I was a sinner! God sent Jesus, who never sinned, to pay for my sins because He loved. If I truly was sorry for all the sins I’d ever done and opened the door of my heart and asked Jesus to come in, take away those sins and forgive me, God would give me eternal life with Him in heaven. Amazing! Beautiful!! Simple!!! So… I dropped to my knees, weeping and called upon the name of the Lord Jesus to forgive me… WOW!“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13 So many people try to earn a place in heaven with God, but God says that’s impossible! “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
The greatest love we can possibly share with others is with all prayer and earnest the Good News of the Gospel of salvation; for the redemption through shed blood of Jesus Christ that reconciles us with the LORD God, the Father in heaven. Part of the design of the Gospel is answered, when sinners saved by repentance to God and faith in Jesus Christ, exercise Christian love to all. If we neglect, put off, ignore, or think someone else is going to share the GOSPEL with the lost, I question the true efficacy of salvation in our own lives. We must live unlike the world– not even showing an appearance of evil in our daily lives Willingly, with a heart filled with joy, to give the love given to us with others!
Postscript: Nine years after receiving Christ as my Savior, I had a very difficult time in my personal life and got very upset with God. Upset to the point that I walked away from His loving relationship and went back out into the world. The same sins that beset me in my youth reared their heads, and I succumbed. I thank God more than any of anyone will ever understand for His patience and not giving up on a sinner like me. In July 2006, I was reluctantly placed (had no choice) in a situation where I once again heard the Gospel message daily. Repenting miserably for almost 26 years of selfish living, He accepted me back into His loving arms. I can say “I KNOW that He will never let go of me” Deuteronomy 31:6 and I will forever worship and love Him with joy… having a definite hope for eternal with my Lord Jesus and Heavenly Father.”
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, ”
1 Peter 1:3
2 thoughts on “What’s Love Got To Do With It? Pt. 4”
I thrill to your testimony, Stephanie and relate to it in many ways. Your “I didn’t know, think or dare believe that anyone truly loved me” went even further with me. I *KNEW* that no one loved me and never would.
I didn’t really believe there was such a person as God, even though I hoped there could be, but even that brought a problerm, because *IF* there was a God, He would HAVE to be perfect, or He wouldn’t be God, and IF He was perfect, He wouldn’t (couldn’t) want anything to do with ME!
What a complete and absolute difference in our thinking when God opens our understanding and gives us faith to believe! I echo your words “Amazing! Beautiful!! Simple!!!”
Now, nearly 53 years later, I praise Him for His work in changing me THEN, and for His continuing work in changing me. I am HIS and HE is mine because of Christ’s finished work at Calvary. I am His blood-bought, adopted child, forever, eternally safe and secure in His keeping.
What an incredibly amazing God!
Wonderful words sister Angela. I, too, praise Him daily for the “LOVE” and mercy given to us, while we didn’t deserve anything but eternal death.
Waiting and watching daily…