A few times a year, we try to capture a beautiful picture of our family, and this year it all looks a little too perfect.
His goodness to us shines in the faces of our children, but it needs to be told that there was another picture from the past - and it wasn't pretty. God may choose to never recall that picture to HIS mind (Hebrews 8:12), but I want to recall it to yours, lest any of you have any misconceptions of who WE are.
The truth is that for the first 33 years of my life, I lived a lie. Around middle school, I began to pull back from everything that was good - my Christian friends and teachers - and I ran headfirst into the world.
I lived as a professing Christian, but behind the scenes, everything about Christianity bored me to tears. I had no desire for Jesus, I never read or desired God's Word, but I believed I was "saved" because I went to church. I had one foot in the world, secretly dabbling in things that were overtly sinful, and kept one foot firmly planted in the world of churchianity - just in case.
In college, my carefully balanced facade came crumbling down, and I went careening into a world of darkness and sinfulness. Some of my oldest, closest friends know more about the extent of this than others, but let's just say that there was no fooling anyone anymore. Of course, I was wise in my own eyes and continued to compare myself to others (who were comparing themselves to others, 2 Corinthians 10:12) and I figured I was still "good enough".
The things that God showed me in my life that were sinful and dishonoring to Him - my partying, my barely-there clothing, my selfishness, my pride, my lies, my materialism and my covetous heart, my unspeakably awful acts of depravity - even my gossip and trash TV - these were things that I loved and cherished. To follow after God would mean I would need to be willing to turn my back on these things, and I had no desire to do that. I held out hope that perhaps "carnal Christianity" was a real thing and I exchanged the truth for a lie.
We both found what we were looking for: a "Christian" spouse who liked to party AND attend church! We got married, had our first child, and began laying our plans: a nice Christian school for the kids, enough money for vacation here and there, matching gym memberships - and hearts full of emptiness. It all meant nothing and it was leading us straight to hell (Proverbs 14:12).
In the light of God's Holiness, I saw my filthy sins as God sees them, and the Holy Spirit showed me that no matter how much I tried to be a better person, my sins separated me from the Holy and perfect presence of God.
But the Holy Spirit intervened, and the Cross became sweet to me, and my sins became sour in my mouth. My former treasure was quite suddenly a trash heap in my eyes, and Christ was the prize.
He gives us His law, His Commandments, as a schoolmaster that drives us to the Cross of Christ in our inability to keep them (Galatians 3:24, Romans 3:24, James 2:10). Jesus was the propitiation and the final Passover Lamb that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), and He rose on Resurrection Day and defeated the death that every last one of us deserves as rebels to His Law.
SO many years. So much Grace trampled under my feet.
In an age where professing Christians are willing to accept the god of The Shack as a reasonable representation of our precious Savior, and 46% of professing Christians believe that all world religions lead to God, (click HERE) we can't shy away from examining our own hearts.
These are tough questions, but God wants us to do this:
(2 Corinthians 13:5)
You cannot serve God and man. And you can't live halfway for either. (Revelation 3:15-17)
Charo Washer's Testimony: Click Here
Don't Waste Your Life: Click Here
I pray for each of you, and I'm here if any of you ever want to talk. May God bless you and grant you the unspeakable fullness of joy He has given me in knowing His Son, my blessed Savior, and the freedom found in walking in the Light of Truth.