For a long time I considered myself a Christian, you see once upon a time I'd had a run in with Jesus and had realized He was exactly who He said He was. But somehow I managed to stray, the hardness of my own heart led me away to follow the voice of one who was not my Shepherd. But I really never thought much about it, I thought I was following God, I realize now how lost I was. Sometimes I think that is even more difficult, calling someone off a path that they are sure leads to God can be more difficult than calling someone who knows they aren't following God. But you see, I think in part my problem was when I began to stray is that I really didn't have much of a foundation. I didn't read my Bible on regular basis, or even a semi-regular basis, the "church" I was in didn't preach on sin, and was absorbed in the latest movements to hit the Body. They were more focused on making everyone feel good about themselves than really displaying God's glory through His Word. It isn't their fault I strayed, that lies on my shoulders, but they most certainly weren't doing their job by calling me back from the brink of sin. Years when by and this continued, I got more lost and the place I called my church just kept on going their own way as well.
But God in His great mercy was calling me back to Him, and one night I hit the floor in tears. A trial like I'd never experienced had just knocked the wind right out of me and I realized there was no way I'd make it through on my own. In the early morning hours of the following day I realized how I hadn't been following God. Oh, I may have been using His name and claiming to know Him, but I most certainly wasn't following Him. I easily fell into the latter category of John 14:23-24:
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
After that night I discovered a deep rooted hunger for God's Word. I just couldn't seem to get enough of it. And the more I studied the more I understood God. And it continues to this day. You see, before this trial I'd never studied the Word and because I'd never studied I really didn't have firm grasp on who God was. I knew Jesus was sent to the cross because of my sins, but I didn't know it in my heart, I hadn't let it take root there. And because I didn't know the Word I wasn't able to understand just how precious Christ's sacrifice was, I wasn't able to see the value of the Cross in a life changing way. I wasn't able to comprehend that losing just about everything I held dear to me was worth the loss if I'd gained Christ.
Ah, but when we get that glimpse, when God opens His Word to us, when we begin to understand the value of living a life in submission to God, when we really begin to grasp that we can and will be changed drastically. Why are people all around the world dying for the name of Jesus? Why are people seeing the Bible and their relationship with God as more important than a house, food, water, or their very lives? It's because they've opened their hearts to Him and allowed Him to show them His magnificence!
I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. (Psalms 119:162)
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. (Matthew 13:44-46)
Oh, how I want Him to open my heart like this, to be willing to risk everything to call Him my own.