Monday, March 7, 2011

Hello World

Jesus Christ saved me from a life of violence, drunkenness, drug abuse, sexual immorality, lies, rape, thievery, arson and murder....... What a blessing I never truly had the chance to do any of those things, at least as they are commonly imagined in the mind of sinful man. My story is not a dramatic, rescued-from-destitution glorious tale of redemption from a street corner in a large city, abandoned by all, helpless and without anywhere to turn to for help. Except maybe the helpless and without anywhere to turn to for help part. See, none of us can do anything without the sustaining power and grace of Almighty God (Acts 17:28a: for in Him we live and move and have our being). While all indications are that Salvation happens at a single instant, becoming Christian--a little Christ-imitator--is a continuing process of being remade into the image of God. I have grown much in my understanding in the intervening year since I exited a period of intense doubt in my life, and while I won't pretend that I have nothing to contend with now, I have come to know the will of the Father through reading His Word deeply enough that I have a newfound confidence in taking a stand for Truth. I decided to create this blog as part of my journey to be the salt of the earth and to let my light shine before men, that they may see my good deeds and praise my Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). There are many parts of the Body of Christ, and there is plenty of room for preachers, teachers, evangelists, etc. These are distinct, and I'll go into detail (1 Corinthians 12) about gifts of the Spirit in a later post. I believe that I have a natural inclination to be a leader, based on my experience in the Boy Scouts, and also the yearning in my heart that I now feel. I'll be trying out my wings on this blog site, to see whether I soar best as a teacher, evangelist, preacher, or other man of God.

I suppose I have yet to tell of my story. Well, it is not extremely exciting, but it is important, as is all other stories of Christians who never had a particularly dramatic or emotional turnaround experience. God is glorified in your life as a Christian even if you never did anything "truly bad" to need repentance from. First, get that idea out of your head. No sin is worse than any other, which means no sin is better than any other. Just because you weren't necessarily an unrepentant sinner or living in sin doesn't take away your desperate need for a Savior. But by your belief in Him since you were young (even if you became "official" later on, like I did), God has been glorified in your life, and you have had a part to play in His masterpiece.  I admit that I'm directing my words to those of a similar experience. I believe that's necessary because we are the little-reached children of God, who need to be reminded that we are not forgotten, though God has not slaughtered the fatted calf for us, since we never were the prodigal son or daughter. Briefly recall Paul's statement in Romans 6:
1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Now that I have satisfied my desire to encourage the less-obviously-rebellious (let's call it that) children of God, I'll quickly sum up my history of faith. I may share further details later.

I was born in Sweden, a very secular country. We never went to church until we moved to the US when I was 7, but I had an awareness of God and Jesus when I was young, presumably from my mother telling us stories from the Bible. There are a few books that remain in our house that I recall having seen a few pictures of.
When I took a Philosophy 100 course at a university in Maryland two summers ago, I thought myself into a philosophical conundrum that cut off the majority of my communication with God for about 9 months. If I tried to pray, it was half-hearted at best. I emerged  from my period of doubt last spring, and began learning as much as I could in order to satisfy my curiosity about the Truth of the Word of God. One year later (almost exactly one year today), I am firmer in my faith, despite having suffered much doubt. My passion for God has been reignited. I decided to consecrate myself to God as a Disciple on my 21st birthday--this was also 5 days after I had earnestly prayed to God for Salvation by Grace through Faith in Him (neither case was to give any special power to the event, but for myself, that my mind would be at ease knowing that my Salvation is secure, and simply because I desired to remember the date), this year. I am now excited to begin my life-long Journey of walking after Him, thinking His thoughts after Him, and so on.

Regarding doubt, I believe Solomon's seemingly contrary advices helped make sense of things for me:

(Proverbs 4:7) Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.
(Ecclesiastes 1:18)
For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

Those of you who have increased in wisdom will understand how it can be both a good thing, and yet how it can bring with it pain.

So, there's my "Hello World" post, and a basic introduction to my backstory. Come, join with me as we Fight the Good Fight. :)


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