“He must increase, but I must decrease,” -John 3:30.
“You are not your own for you were bought with a price,” -1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
“For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” – Philippians 1:21.
I hated those verses for most of my life.
I’m starting to wonder if I ever really was Christian in the first place before a couple of weeks ago. Why? Because when I think about it God was like a drug to me in my previous attempts at a spiritual life. Being the selfish person that I was, I often found myself depressed, hurt, and alone, much of which was due to decisions that I made. Granted there were some events and people in my past that were responsible for some of those feelings, but the vast majority of my wounds were/are self-inflicted.
So I would use God as a drug. A temporary fix to the pain and isolation of my life. I would feel better for a time and then relapse back into my selfish life.
I bring this up because, even when I was using God as a drug to get me high and escape the pain of my life, I resented and even despised verses like the ones above. Why? Because I wanted to be the star of my own life and I despised any thought that someone else might be. Even Jesus.
If you’ve read my previous posts, you saw where such an attitude led me. I wrote yesterday that I have had many Delilah’s in my life- The strip club. The buffet. The pack of smokes. The bed. The chat room. The selfish need for adulation and power.”The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” (1 John 2:16- KJV).
Is it any wonder why I wound up where I did? Or why Samson wound up humiliated and chained between two pillars at a Philistine shindig with his eyes gouged out?
We went back, Jack, and did it again to paraphrase Steely Dan.
Yet, as Pastor Craig Groeschel wrote in day 10 of the Fight Devotional, God was not finished in Samson. Or me.
“If you’re a Christian, you have resurrection power within you. Tap into it. Don’t try just to ‘be a stronger man.’ Satan loves making strong men weak. God loves making weak men strong. Don’t try just to “be a better man.” Be God’s man. Stop trying to tell your story. Start telling his. It’s not about you. It’s about him. Push those pillars down. Die to yourself so you can live for him.”
I no longer cringe at the thought of dying to myself or living for Christ. I was the star of my own show for 38 years and I don’t have a whole lot to show for it except a life filled with mostly disappointment and heartache. I finally let Jesus have the throne of my life because I got sick of fighting for the power and prestige that only belongs to Him.
So did I recently become a Christian? I hesitate to say that. Perhaps when I accepted the Lord in my teenage years it was the beginning of a long and winding sanctification process. It took me over 20 years to wind up at the point where I let go and let Jesus have his way.
My life is no longer my story. It’s His. To be honest, while I am relieved, I am not sure what all that entails or where this journey with my Lord will lead. Samson’s moment of surrender to the Lord was in the last minutes of his life. As of now, I’ve lived about three weeks after my moment of surrender. Lord willing, I will have longer. But I don’t know where this faith journey will lead me.
And perhaps that is what faith in Jesus is: trusting Him enough to put your hand and your fate in His, letting him lead you trusting that “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippines 1:6).