For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? – Mark 8:36
Someone can be so close to knowing Christ, but fail to make Him as the LORD of his life right away.
I for one was an example of that.
I grew up in a Christian Community. My family and I lived for seven years in the same village with our Pastor’s family, and our church was just few steps from our house. I never missed a Sunday Fellowship when I was younger. I even remember sitting beside my Mom during the sermon while I envy my friends as they play outside. I was portrayed as a good kid, but deep inside I still have a heart of stone.
I learned about Christ and His sacrifice when I was 8, and it was through my Mom. I didn’t understand back then why is it so important to ask, “Do you accept Christ as your Savior?” Deep inside I was wondering if what difference will it make if I say “No”. But because I was expected to say “Yes”, so, I did.
Who was Jesus then for me? The one who died on the Cross (well that’s a fact), but I still imagine Him as the same person who regularly appears on TV in every 3 o’clock prayer. I was still wondering why death is so important if He can do it in any other way.
Suffice to say, I had too many questions back then. Too many, but I never even bother to ask anyone because I thought going to church is enough. I thought if I am going to sing an offertory song or lead the prayer, a merit for me will be sent to heaven and those merits will become my key to enter it. Of course, my Mom never missed to share to some Bible verses. I remember reading them out loud and memorize them. I still obviously look dead – dried bones that need to be resurrected.
Then came high school. I left our home to study in a school that was too far from my family. With that move also came my reckless freedom which gave me a chance not to attend church if I don’t feel it. And yes, I somehow succeeded. I was able to live my life for years as a professing Christian yet an agnostic deep inside. But despite my doubts, God was able to work on me in the aspect of living in purity and never to engage in premarital sex through the True Love Waits organization. I made a vow when I was 14, but my faith was still something that can easily be tossed.
When I went to College, my parents were too worried that maybe I will not go to church again or worse, I’ll meet some people who will influence me to love the world. Their worries make sense. I was still a skeptic. I listen to the Word but my life still doesn’t show it.
I learned to love the world when I was in College. I learned to dream worldly things and desired to achieve it. There were so many points during those days that God was seems to be pulling me back to Him, but I was too stubborn that even if I go to church and fellowship with His people, I still have doubts that I was too scared to share.
So I graduated in College as a lukewarm Christian who learned to build my house in the shallow sands. I thought I had a big faith, but I was so wrong.
After college, there was a moment that I bought a book which eventually changed the way I see Christianity. It has become God’s instrument for me to dig deeper. It’s entitled “Dug Down Deep” by Joshua Harris – the same author who was used by God to help me keep the promise I made when I was 14 through his book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.”
The book actually encouraged me to read the Bible and meditate on it day and night. Because how can you call yourself a Christian if you live your life as a stranger to His Word? It doesn’t make sense. So I prayed to God and asked His help. I don’t want to live my life not knowing the things that I need to know. I want answers to my long list of questions. I want to worship the One true God without any doubts in my heart.
I started to read the Bible earnestly – digesting even those parts that were too hard to swallow. Eventually, all of my doubts about His existence went away.
Through His Word, I learned to humble down. I saw that I was nothing compared to His power and glory. I learned that the worldly wisdom I had will not help me know Him. I must surrender and make Him as my LORD. I learned why death was needed for our salvation. I learned about His grace and His mercy – things that were too evident in my life because I can see Him not giving up on me. I learned to trust on His Sovereignty, and learned to embrace the fact that His plans and ways will always be higher than mine, so I must trust Him with all of my heart.
Those were the things that I may have never learned if I did not dig deeper. Because without God’s Word, I may have spent a much longer time being a Skeptic.
Sometimes the knowledge we get from the world will make us doubt. Skeptics always expect the world to be perfect if God is really a perfect One. We forget to remind ourselves about the root of imperfections. It’s not our God, but us. It’s the sin that we committed since the beginning of time that made our world so imperfect – too imperfect that we cannot even accept that we did this to ourselves.
God made us to be like Him, but we chose to drift away from Him and embrace the fleeting pleasures brought by sin. It is not our God who has troubles in making everything look good. It is us who made His plans look chaotic.
But praise be to GOD who sees a way out, He gave us Jesus Christ to give us hope. That despite our rebellion and depravity, He was willing to rescue us, forgive us, and give us a place in His kingdom that will last for eternity.
Indeed, the road to life is narrow – too narrow that you can be too close to knowing God but not yet truly accepted Him as your LORD and Savior. You can be there inside the church every Sunday but still hasn’t love His Word and know the real essence of following Him.
Don’t settle on building your faith in the shallow sands of your carnal desires. Do not just settle in believing that you are saved, but deep inside you live your life full of doubts because you choose not to dwell on His Word and choose to love more the fleeting glory that your reputation inside the church gives.
It’s not about what they will say about you that matters in the end. It’s how God sees you that will matter most.
Learn to dig in and know Christ even though your knowledge of Him is just a drop of who He truly is. Love His Word more than anything. Surround yourself with wisdom that is not fleeting. Obey Him and find joy in doing so.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” -Matthew 7:24-27
Now, what shall come between us, Lord
And who can cut the ties
That You have made by shedding blood
With agonies and cries?
Shall humans, devils, powers here
Come take my source, my life?
Have peace, my soul, cast off your fears
The final word is Christ!