For a moment, think about giving up your life to God–your total life, 100 percent, leaving nothing out.
A feeling of fear might arise or thoughts like, “It’s not possible in today’s world” or “I’ll have to give up too many things I enjoy.”
Does the voice behind these thoughts sound familiar? It should, it has been tempting you your whole life.
The first post of this three-part testimony describes how I gave my life to Christ. That was when these words of Jesus made total sense to me: “If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it” (Luke 17:33).
When we get the call to give our life to Christ, everything imaginable will tempt us to turn the other way. Yet what other way is there? When we are faced with the moment of death and we wonder if our soul is saved, what other way exists?
When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are a new creation. And yet parts of our old life will linger. We will come face to face with our old ways and may feel tempted to wonder, Is this worth it?
From personal experience, I can say this road contains both exhilarating and challenging experiences. It feels impossible to explain without sharing some real examples.
A couple weeks after going to my first Bible study I talked with my then-boyfriend-now-husband about faith. I knew what the word meant in my mind; I had memorized the definition many times from religion class as a kid. But that night something amazing happened.
We discussed how Moses heard God calling him to return to Egypt, even though he had run away fearing for his life so many years before. How could he ever go back? He had a new life now; a quiet life where no one knew his past. I would’ve been scared too! Why would anyone listen to him? How would anyone know him?
It was by faith that he moved forward.
And in faith, God sent Aaron, his biological brother to meet him and speak for him.
Suddenly this deep insight dropped into my understanding, and faith became “alive” to my senses. I “felt” the meaning of faith in my heart; it was like a light bulb went off… Aha, I get what this means.
And at that moment, I could breathe through my nose clearly. It was like air came pouring into my lungs.
Not that I had a breathing problem before, but I often felt like I had a stuffy nose. At that moment I could breathe in and out so clearly. It felt refreshing I didn’t want to stop.
Then I looked at David like, What is happening?
One part of me wondered how weird this must’ve looked, but another part of me trusted I was in understanding company. Having had his own experiences as a new believer years earlier, he didn’t seem surprised.
Let me tell you, God is real. And it was by His touch alone that my life was changed. And that was the moment He allowed me to understand faith.
Now if you had just experienced that, you’d probably want to share it with family and friends, right? So that’s what takes us to the other side of the transition phase: What happens when our new life in Christ meets our old life?
When I started telling people about these experiences, there was a certain silence and maybe even polite curiosity that followed. The unspoken question lingering in the air went something like this: Is Jenn going nuts?
I could feel it and in some cases see it.
When we find a new life in Christ, our old life doesn’t always celebrate the win. In some cases people like us the way we were, and change comes hard. It’s no wonder we lose friends and even family members when we choose God. It also brings to mind a verse that isn’t always easy to understand:
Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:51-53)
It didn’t use to make sense to me, but as I’ve come to understand it, when we choose Jesus, it can divide us from people in our life who do not choose Him; who do not want to hear about Him or be around His spirit in us. Others could end up turning away, losing interest in us, leaving. But it’s not really about us; it’s about spiritual conviction.
As we experience the transition of letting go of the old and embracing God, we can feel haunted by the past.
Evil works to derail us with thoughts like, Who are you to do God’s work? Don’t you remember when you… fill in the blank. Or, What if this other way of life was meant for you?
When temptations arise, we have to remember that God is in control and His will for our life is better than our own. We trust Him to lead the way, letting go of our own selfish direction that lead us down the wrong path time and time again.
Others will remind us of our past, but we must remind them of our future.
We’ll have memories and regrets, but it’s important not to linger in them. I like to spend that time praying blessings and forgiveness when old memories arise, thankful to have a new life.
When we pray in earnest for God to help us stay the course, He will. So we must also plant ourselves in good soil. What does that mean? Read part three!