I talk a lot about finding “self-love” through Jesus Christ, I mention and talk a lot about gaining courage from the Holy Spirit, but it dawned on me that I haven’t actually taken the time to explain how these work in my life and what I had to do to get to this place. So, here is my testimony to God at work in my life. I pray if you are not already seeking a relationship with Jesus, that this would be the encouragement you need to seek out one of the best life saving, peace giving, loving relationships you will ever enter.
I grew up in a Christian home and there has never been a time in my life when I did not have Jesus in my life. I grew up singing “Jesus loves me”, “Peter, James, and John”, and other nostalgic christian children’s songs. When I was six years old I asked my mom one day if she would help me pray and ask Jesus into my heart. She agreed and at that point I became saved from ever having to know what it would be like to not dwell in the presence of God. Life through curve balls at me and I choose to deal with them by running wild. Dappling in drinking, smoking, and running with kids twice my age. My parents called me on the carpet, sat me down, and told me exactly what would happen to me if I didn’t stop running crazy. Two weeks after this conversation I was sent to Texas with my church youth group to conference. This conference had speakers that would speak life changing messages and at 15 I rededicated my life to Christ.
When I asked Jesus into my heart I admitted that I was a sinner and that there is no other way into heaven. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man shall come to the father except through me”. The bible also tells us that, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, but it also tells us “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that if we believe in him, we shall not perish, but have everlasting life”. The bible also teaches that nothing can separate us from God once we have asked Jesus into our hearts.
An example of what to pray could look like this, but it is also just fine with you coming up with your own words. Jesus, I know I have sinned and done wrong things, I know that I need you in my life. Thank you for dying on the cross to forgive me of my sins. I want to live my life for you. Thank you for forgiving me and that you accept me as I am. In Jesus name, Amen.
What does asking Jesus into your life do? It allows the gift of the Holy Spirit to enter into your heart and your mind. You know have a source to encourage you, give you bravery when you need it, you have a guide inside you cheering you on. Life with Jesus is a relationship. The more you spend with him, the more you will get to know him. The more you become willing to surrender to him, the more victory he can and will give you in your life. Life with Jesus is not about tradition, although there are traditions that become meaningful and are practiced out of an act of worship and love for Jesus, who has done so much for us when we didn’t deserve it. A relationship with Jesus is not a list of rules of do’s and don’ts. It’s a gentle savior giving us life saving protection because he loves us. Just as a parent gives boundaries and rules out of love and protection, so too, does our Heavenly Father.
The beauty of the redemption story is that God accepts broken vessels in any shape and form. There is no amount of junk, dirt, or grim he will not accept. Quite the opposite, it is the broken, the dirty, the grimy people like me and you that he came to make beautiful! He will take the ugliness you feel about yourself and show you just how amazingly beautiful you are!
I want to encourage you that the Abba Father, the Heavenly Father, is not like earthly fathers. It took me a while to learn this one and I’m still on a journey to learn intimately who my Heavenly Father is and what it means for my life. I encourage you not to run if your heavenly father has given you a bad taste in your mouth for any father figure, but I assure you, as I have found out, this Father, is unlike any father you can imagine.
But, it’s not my word you need to take. If you feel your heart being tugged, if you feel Jesus knocking on your heart, then I invite you to open the door. Jesus will never force himself on you, you must be the one willing to open the door. I promise you, opening the door will be the best decision you have ever made!
I will be praying for you as you seek the dwelling place of the one who gives refuge from the storm, restores hearts and lives, and who gives beauty for ashes.