Thursday, April 14, 2011

Party Like It's Yo' Birthday!

For most of my childhood, I was in search of a birthday.  Through church after church, vacation Bible school after vacation Bible school, I learned how great it is to have an "amazing conversion experience."  One speaker after another filed through our tiny Christian school -- ex-cons, addicts, former rock stars.  They all had these incredible back-from-the-dead types of stories; how God redeemed them from a life of debauchery on a cold, rainy night in a dirty motel room.  Other special guests would apologize for not having any other testimony but, "I was raised in a Christian home, when I was six God spoke to me and I gave my life over to Him...blah, blah, blah."

"C'mon, Dude!  Where are the guns, the drugs?"

I knew God wanted me wherever I was -- beat-up, burnt out rock star, or six year old Hudson Taylor prodigy.  But I foolishly searched for a "birthday" -- some date upon which God had reached down, pulled me from the gutter, and lavished me with love and success.  God had been lavishing me with those things all along.  Why did I think they were hiding elsewhere?

Looking back, I remember many instances in which I capitulated, surrendered all to Jesus, my Savior.  But I fell right back into my selfishness, greed, lies, lust, despair again.  With no transforming experience in my life, I was sure I was doing something wrong.  My salvation "didn't take."  I was ashamed and felt like a failure; I gave up.  God didn't.  He sent His Holy Spirit to do a work in me, and He wasn't about to stop until it was complete.

If I live to be a hundred, it will never be complete.  God is working in me everyday -- sometimes slowly, sometimes painfully, sometimes so surreptitiously it seems instantaneous.    I will continue to surrender myself to Jesus everyday, constantly.  And He will continue forgiving me, molding me, reshaping me, loving me until I more closely resemble Him everyday.

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