After a very tumultuous time in our marriage, I had this very strong realization that something was missing. As I dwelt on that thought, I knew the answer. We needed to go to church. After exhausting my list of “go to” churches, I suggested we could try that church we attended one time when our oldest son was just a baby.
We attended the church the next day…same young, loud preacher still preaching against drinking, rock music, worldly movies and yes, all activities close to my heart. But this time I expected it. We continued to return for the next several weeks.
On Sunday evening, March 9, 1980 as a 25 year old young man who was full of pride, I raised the white flag of surrender, walked down the aisle and humbly said “Jesus, I receive you into my heart as my Lord and Savior.”
God took this prideful, sinful heart, cleansed it and created a new creation as only He can do. Only by the grace of God, by His miraculous power, I never drank another drop of alcohol, I stopped attending the worldly movies and amazingly, God instantly removed my habit of swearing, which was only around the guys but was very much engrained in my “guy vernacular”.
As I look back I see God immediately began working a marvelous change in my life! He is the One who gave me the desire! He is the One who gave me the strength! All praise goes to Him!
He immediately replaced a swearing tongue with a praising one. He immediately replaced the message of worldly rock music “Imagine there’s no heaven” (John Lennon) with “Jesus is the Rock of My Salvation”. He immediately replaced going to the bar with going soul-winning door-to-door with my soul-winning mentor and accountability partner Mike Shuff, who had surrendered his heart to Christ less than a year earlier.
Listen, only God could have captured the attention and the heart of the sinful, prideful, no good sinner that I was and immediately begin to transform my heart from the inside out into a vessel that gave God a platform to reveal His glory. And only He can do that with you.
But, do not be fooled. This transformational work can only take place when we humbly surrender our heart to Christ (I am willing for Jesus to be the Lord and I be His servant…no more unchecked spirit saying “I’m going to do what I want to do.”), but believing in His resurrection and receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
To Him and Him only be the glory in my heart and in the church! Amen!