I was a “church baby.” From infancy my parents faithfully took me to Sunday School, worship service, Vacation Bible School, Wednesday nights, and whatever else happened to be going on. I memorized Bible verses, earned high attendance pins, and wore wire hanger angel wings covered with gold garland in the Christmas pageant. I went to church camp and sang in the youth choir.
When I was eight years old I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I clearly remember the day when I realized I was a sinner in need of forgiveness. I understood what Jesus accomplished for me on the cross. I can still see myself sitting across the desk from our pastor, talking through these things. He wanted to make sure I “got it.” I did. And so, I became a child of God.
Yet for the next eighteen years I struggled to find my own faith. I remained active and involved in church. I claimed Christ as my Savior. I followed all the rules. But I experienced little to no spiritual growth and rarely shared my faith. I wanted a rich relationship with Christ, but it remained elusive. Something was missing. I could see the kind of faith I longed to have in others’ lives. God seemed so personal to them, but I felt disconnected. Can you relate?
Then at the age of 26, as a young wife and mother, I joined my first ladies’ Bible study. Fed up with my dull, lifeless faith, I was open to whatever God wanted to do in my life. With that attitude I jumped into our study of the book of Romans. I heard God speak to me through His Word like I never had before. For the first time in all my church-going years I finally understood that my salvation and my faith have nothing to do with me and everything to do with Christ. His life paid the price my sin deserved. He bought me with His precious blood. My life belongs to Jesus, not me. God opened my eyes to the glorious truth that as long as I kept trying to hang on to my life and run things myself, I would never experience the intimacy with Him I had been searching for.
Galatians 2:20 beautifully depicts this Lordship aspect of our relationship with Christ.
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20, NLT
There are moments – and days – that I live like I have forgotten this. I take back what rightfully belongs to God and try to do things my own way. But God faithfully and lovingly reminds me Who is Lord. More than two decades have passed since God gave me understanding of the Lordship of Christ. Over that time, God has grown me and shaped me and made me more like Jesus. He continues to teach me more about Himself and gives me occasional glimpses of His glory. I am not where I need to be, but I am also not where I once was. I continue to “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Philippians 3:12).
If you’d like to read a little more about following Christ, check out these blog posts: