As I look back on my born-again life, I recall so much encouragement, excitement, confusion, and defeat. There is a time in everyone’s new found love for Christ where they feel as though they cannot be defeated in the pursuit to defeat all evil in the world and still have time to say grace before dinner.
As seasoned Christ lovers, people often forget that Jesus loves those who are new to loving him just as much as he loves us. He cannot love a little. He can only love a lot. Unconditionally. New. Old. Any. He loves.
I’ve experienced a lot in my four short years of following Jesus. I worked as a Youth Director in a brand new church… the first church that I attended after I got saved. I didn’t think I was ready. I didn’t think I was ready because someone told me that I wasn’t. God told me to seek ministry and the pastor of that church saw a fire in me and knew that I could help in some small way to direct young people to Jesus. I had a passion for it. I devoted so much time to it… Then it was time for me to move on and that was good. God sent me there for a short short season and I learned so much. I’m so thankful for that time, but it saddens me to remember that nobody believed in me because they loved Jesus more or Jesus loved them more… I can’t remember. I just remember that I wasn’t good enough, or saved enough, or “seasoned” enough.
This wasn’t the last time that this happened to me. Though they meant no harm, this advice from friends and family to “spend some time with God” or “wait until you’re sure” caused me to feel inadequate and question my faith. I lived in a world where it was perfectly fine to “call people out” and I did it often. It wasn’t out of love. It was out of pride. I honestly thought this was biblical. I thought this was what God wanted because the bible said that, but because of the way I had been treated, I didn’t have the ability to “call someone out” in love. I hurt a lot of people like this. And a lot of people hurt me. And other people hurt other people. That’s not love.
When I look back four years ago and then I look at my life, I am so thankful that God opened my eyes to love. At some point, thankfully, I realized that there’s nothing that I can do to make God love me more. Or less. I can read my bible 23094230948 times. Loves the same. Invite 78 people to church. Loves the same. Follow Christ for a 100 years. Loves the same. Follow Christ for 100 minutes. Loves. The. Same.
I once asked someone “How do I know if I’m where God wants me?”
Their response was simple, “Look at your life.”
My life cannot be explained by anything other than my Father’s never changing love. Seriously. Four short years. Look at what God has done in my life. I am so thankful and so blessed that I have countless stories of how he has healed my heart, healed my body, and healed my mind. I have testimony after testimony of what he has done. And those testimonies begin four years ago when I surrendered my whole life to him… not after I sought him faithfully for 90 years.
So to those of you who have loved Jesus for a million years, encourage others to serve in ministry. Remember that God doesn’t love you more. Notice that spiritual maturity has nothing to do with age and doesn’t always affect the ability to serve. Encourage one another. Build each other up.
For those who are new christians. Hello, welcome to the club. I am still new. I hope I always stay new. I hope I never run out of things to learn and I hope you don’t either. Don’t let anyone on earth tell you something different from what you hear God telling you. If God has something to say to you, more times than not, he will say it to you if you ask. Beware of those who are giving you advice and check to see where it lines up with God’s advice. Follow what God wants you to do, because I know God called me to ministry… It was only for a season, but that season was so important in my life.
I’m thankful for the defeat, because it caused me to finally stop seeking approval from others and start accepting approval from Him.