My head is spinning and my heart is broken. After today’s message, I have felt like I’ve been pulled in 2 extremes. On one hand, I am so thankful to be redeemed, thankful that the LORD called me out of darkness and into the kingdom of His beloved Son. On the other, I have not stopped thinking about all of those around me who have yet to put their faith in Christ.
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)
I did not grow up in church, but believed in “God” and “truth” all of my life. It never made sense to me that “all religions are right”. But I never put much thought into it more than that. I remember going to Jewish temple with my best friend in Jr.High and feeling like it was all so “cool”. Hearing them speak in Hebrew and read the Torah just felt so “religious”. In high school I went with Santino’s family to church and listened to the preacher talk about asking Jesus into your heart, and I did! I wanted that sense of closeness to the LORD, I truly did. I remember feeling a little closeness and even read the bible a bit. The feeling was there, I think I “put my faith in Christ”, but it soon died out.
“Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. (Matthew 13:5-6)
When I entered college, for no other reason but it was “fun”, I started drinking and partying. I was on a fast track to destruction and alcoholism. It wasn’t until the sudden death of my father that it all came to a screeching halt. I was faced with serious questions about life, death, and God before I had planned to have those questions.
The next 3 years were so difficult for me. As I started to seek out truth about God, life, and death, I started to realize that the way I was living didn’t add up to what I was learning and believing. This is when I started to understand that “believing in God” and living for Him was completely different.
“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” (James 2:19)
I came to a place in my life where I had to match my actions with what I believe. Little did I know, this process I was experiencing was being sanctified, taking off my old way of living, and walking in the light.
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. (John 3:3)
As I started to draw closer to the LORD and further away from “partying”, I started to experience a lot of pain in realizing how much was changing. Relationships I had were starting to drift, friends that I loved dearly told me it was fine for me to be “born again” but that drinking was just too much fun, they couldn’t give it up. I was pursuing Christ and His Kingdom, only to lose so much of the worldly treasures I had at the time.
"For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead." (1 Peter 4:3-4)
My heart began to break as many around me watched the change within in me, and yet still pursued ways of the world. My heart was broken again today thinking of so many friends and family members that I love who have rejected Christ. It is the rest of this passage that sends me to my knees in prayer for them. They will be judged, they will give an account for their life.
Today, I have not stopped thinking about Jonah and his message to the people of Nineveh, to repent and be saved or in 40 days they will face judgment. I was weeping in church thinking about how many of my friends and loved ones have yet to repent and put their faith in Christ. It has overwhelmed me thinking about the fact that they live daily with Christ and the help of the Holy Spirit; they miss out on life and life abundant, and will face a literal hell if they continue to reject Christ. I can’t rest with this kind of pain in my heart. I hope and pray they will begin to ask questions like I did in my place of brokenness; they will begin to evaluate their life and pursue Christ and His kingdom over self and ways of this world.
For all of us . . . because the time is near . . . let us repent, turn from our ways, and pursue Him. Let us stop suppressing the Truth and living a life apart from Him. He is our only Hope, our only Refuge, our Creator, Redeemer, and Savior.
“And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life." (1 John 5:11-12)