I never did finish the study on Ruth, nor did I post the response to working out, and to be honest, I probably won't. The last few posts have been in some way answers to those very posts. That and Pedro is going through Ruth and is doing an awesome job of it might I add! Check out the Redeemer series when you get a chance, it totally rocks!
In this post, I don't really have any planned bible verses, nor do I have a sweet analogy to relate things to. None of that, just raw me. Last night I had the opportunity to spend some time with brothers and sisters in Christ. While it was like most other hang outs, later at night, when only a handful remained, we were speaking on the past and on who we used to be. Where it was we came from. All of us have come from different walks of life. While we have lived in the same physical state, the state of mind was by far different. Some of us in Africa, others in Germany, and some even as far as Antarctica, however, regardless of our state, we are here now, together. We are here to push forward and do God's will.
As I listened to the testimonies before me, it was interesting to see just how God works. With people from different places, people of different walks, different ages, different professions, different minds, all fixed on one central point. Earlier in the night we listened to a sermon from Bob Coy on the history of the bible. He made a point that was very interesting and to me reflects on God's consistency in His work. Moses a political leader, Amos a thig picker, Joshua a commander, Peter a fisherman, Matthew a tax collector, Luke a doctor, Paul a Rabbi, James the half brother of Jesus. All different walks, all one central point. All agreed on the same thing.
He is consistent, He really is never changing. I look back just a few months and I realize where I was. I look back a year and realize where I was at this moment last year. I look back five years. Ten. It's amazing. His hand was there, the whole time, working in me, for me, in my favor, and for years, I just spit in His face. I knew what I should be doing, I knew where it was I should be and yet, I continued running. I was almost like Jonah. Yet God would not let me go. In every situation, at every stop, He got on the bus I was on and spoke to me. Whether it was through a friend, a verse, or a situation, He just kept talking to me. He would get off the bus at some stops and watch from the window as I contemplated getting off to go with Him. But there were so many things in that bus. So many people, to many things to be do and take care of.
It is one thing to come to Christ having no prior knowledge of Him and surrendering your life over. It is another thing to just openly make a mockery of Him with my life. To label myself His own and yet continue on my own bus, my own train, heading in my own path. Saving myself from judgment but then not doing anything to save others. It was all about me. When I came to Christ it was about saving me from hell, it wasn't about loving God because He paid the price through Christ who went to hell for me. There is a difference. Love is not self-seeking. Their are plenty of us who don't realize this, but a fear of hell isn't what God wants. Prov 1:7 says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of understanding, not the fear of hell.
The fear of hell leads to a life of law with no love. The fear of the Lord leads to a life of law out of love. Sheer and utter love for what it is He saved you from. And now you want nothing more than to live out His word in your life. To be a doer. I look back at my past and see a fumbled life of empty promises to God and those around me, where I made every feeble attempt to fill my void while aimlessly trying to earn my way into heaven. I tried to gain the love of God, something I had for years, yet never felt of saw because of how stupid I had become. All this intellect and no spirit by which to use it for good. What is that about? What kind of life is that? I mean were we just made to fulfill our petty little aspirations in life and look to meet the goals which we have set? Or is it about the ultimate purpose. Eternity outweighs Time. So much so that to compare the box of time which we are confined to to the box of Eternity is like trying to fit the entire ocean in a can of coke.
So as I look back and see where it is He brought me from and I look back and see just how close He was to me the whole time, how His hand was on my shoulder the whole time. How every step I took was a step toward Him. Ultimately, the decision was mine and mine alone. He was so gracious and loving to continue offering me His hand. He was so merciful to continue offering this wretched fool of a man His help. As I look back and see from where it it is I came from, it helps me get a better picture of where it is I am headed. The past is a painful thing, but in it lies hope. When we look back to see where it is we came from, don't see it as a negative. Understand that the place from which you came is the place from which He plucked you. You gave Him permission and immediately, He faithfully pulled you out in response to your cry.
Forget those things which are behind you (Phil 3:13-15). Use the comfort which He gave you to comfort others (2 Cor 1:3-4). I was the chief idiot. The chief skeptic. The chief liar. The chief faker. He is the chief of my life now...I hope others see that (1 Tim 1:15-17).
I sometimes get asked why I look so much into apologetics. Why bother learning and reading so much. Why? Because I want to be able to know all I can about the very thing which saved my soul. The very thing that removed from me years of doubt, years of anxiety, years of discontent, years of anger, shame, uncertainty. I want to learn and defend to the death that which saved my life, and can save yours...