Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Lies I Have Lived

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.  

I was a hypocrite, I was dead in my sins, and I was what God calls a child of wrath (Ephesians 2:1-10).

And I knew it, but I figured if I could keep an even balance, I might please God enough to prove myself a Christian. 

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".

At a certain point, a few blessed people tried to intervene, bringing me the Gospel or saving faith, and I began to understand the terms more clearly...that Jesus does forgive and is rich in mercy, but He was calling and commanding me to repent from (turn from, change my mind about) my sins and follow Him.

"Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil." 
- Proverbs 3:7

I wouldn't do that.  I loved my sins.

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.  

Ten years came and went, and I came out the other side beaten by the world.  My hypocrisy reached its full pinnacle when I began teaching middle school at private Christian school (and partying on the weekends), when suddenly, for better or worse....

Paul and I crashed right into each other.  

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 2011, it all came to a halt.  Within weeks of each other and both by different means, Paul and I heard and received the Gospel of Life.  

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.  

My sins had to be atoned for.  I had spent half of my life trying to atone them myself, and the other half rejecting that atonement outright because I could not abide the terms - mainly the repentance part.  

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.  

The truth about Christ is that He was God and man in one, and He came to this wretched planet and lived a sinless life and died a selfless death at the hands of sinners just like me to appease the wrath of God that is justly poured out on unrepentant rebels who break God's law (Romans 6:23).

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.  

I lived licentiously - using the Cross and God's forgiveness as a ticket to do as I pleased (Grace! God Forgives!) - refusing to examine myself in light of God's word.  

But this verse right here - an arrow to the heart:

"...Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, 
not knowing that his kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?  But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgement will be revealed." - Romans 2:4-5

God was so patient with me, and one afternoon while my babies napped upstairs, I fell quietly to my knees and surrendered my will for His, turned my back on this world and my sins - and the wrath that was meant for me was transferred to the Cross, and His righteousness was imparted to me.

It's not a fair trade.  It's a divine scandal, to say the least.  

My prayer for each of you is to examine yourself. So many of us are deceived, living under a false and imaginary faith that is built on sinking sand and is not of God.  If we worship a god of our own liking who differs from scripture, we are just worshiping an idol we made for ourselves.

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.

Ask yourself:

Are you passionate about God's Word, willing to defend it, proclaim it, share it, or even die for it? Do you desire and see growth in personal holiness and discernment, bear fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8), and long to see others saved as well?  Is Christ your treasure, and all else "rubbish" (Phil. 3:8)? Is your life built around knowing Him and making Him known?

These are tough questions, but God wants us to do this:  
"Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.  Test yourselves."  
(2 Corinthians 13:5)  

You cannot serve God and man.  And you can't live halfway for either.  (Revelation 3:15-17)

As you reflect on what Resurrection Day means to you, I highly recommend this video, which has led so many to the truth:

Here are some other resources we recommend:

Test Yourself:  Click HERE
How can we be sure of our salvation?  Click Here
True and False Conversion:  Click Here
What is the Gospel?  Click Here 
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. 

- Missy