For some reason, God placed that thought on my heart to share this morning. It sure isn’t a thought I had each time I surrendered my heart (yes, I had to do it more than once). I think God wants me to share this probably because He doesn’t want people to do what I did next…which was nothing. At least not for a long time. I was in my early twenties the first time. I was lost. I didn’t know what I was doing. Even if that thought had come back then, I’m guessing it wouldn’t have mattered. I remember I had a sincere heart, but that’s all I remember. I have no idea whether or not the church tried to follow up with me, I wasn’t a member of that church. I didn’t have a church I attended regularly. Plus, I was too lost and too shy to want to try to find any Christians to reach out to. I’m not putting the blame on anybody but myself. Looking back, I just know that I wasn’t ready. I wanted to, but I just wasn’t ready to give Jesus my all. I don’t count that altar call because afterward, I was still going through the motions. I kept doing my own thing…for another twenty plus years.
I responded to another altar call at the age of 39. It was at that time that the Lord really started to reach me (a little bit). But, I still wasn’t ready to completely open my heart to Him. It took another four years of absolute misery when I responded to another altar call. Again, I continued to struggle for a bit. I didn’t know it then, but little by little the Lord continued to reach me. After that last time, it took another year before the Lord finally got through and I surrendered ALL to Him. I finally learned to die to self. I truly learned about His forgiveness AND about repentance (something that I see a lot of people take too lightly like I did initially). SO grateful that my eyes, ears, and heart had finally been opened! At first it bothered me that I was 44 when I finally caught on, but I’m okay with it now because nobody is ever too young or too old or too bad to give their heart to Jesus and that is great news!
I receive a daily devotion from the NLT Life Application Study Bible, and a couple of weeks ago it was in reference to Isaiah 48:22. I’d like to share what it said: “Many people cry out for comfort, security, and relief, but they haven’t taken the first steps to turn away from sin and open the channels to God. They have not repented and trusted in Him. If you want true peace, seek God first. Then He will give you His peace.”
I see a lot of people cry out to God then wonder why things are good for a while only to see things fall apart again, again, and again. I see a lot of people doing what I used to. They say they believe in Jesus and they are thankful for what He did for us, but they act as though His dying on the cross is a free ticket to continue the same sins. Glad I know now how wrong I was by doing that and I’m so grateful that I’ve learned to turn away from those sins that I have been forgiven for. I’ll always be a sinner, but I’m not doing the same sins over and over like before. I trust Him, I seek Him daily, I have His peace!
As I end this post I’d like to share one more thing. There’s something I heard Joyce Meyer say regarding Jesus as Lord that sticks with me all the time, especially when I seem to lose focus thinking I’m in control of something. It goes something like this: “He is either Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all.” It’s all or nothing and I’m so glad He’s my all!! When that quote comes to mind it makes me stop what I’m doing and I immediately give it back to Jesus and say “Sorry, Lord, I know You’ve got this!” I can just picture Jesus shaking His head and smiling (many times) when I mess up like that. What can I say…I keep learning as I go…after all, I am a life-long learner.