Like many people, I had a dysfunctional childhood. Sexually abused by a family friend and at the time, living in a volatile and violent home, left me broken and angry. My heart was hard and my thought process was that I wanted to hurt others before they hurt me. I was in fights and smoking pot by the time I was 10 years old.
I always had a hunger to know God and to know I was loved and excepted. To make a long story short, at 11 years old, I was alone at home when I received a phone call that changed my life forever. I was told about a scripture, John 3:3 that states that unless you are born again, you will not see the Kingdom of God. It goes on to explain that we are born of water the first time, in our mother's womb and we are born of the Spirit as we experience a new birth when we repent of our sins and ask Jesus into our hearts as our Lord and Savior. I still remember where I was and what I was wearing that night, as I dropped to my knees and cried out to Jesus, asking Him to forgive me of my sins, heal my wounds and come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior. I truly came off that floor a new person.
You know, a lot of Christians stop there. They may have prayed a prayer, they may even go to church on occasion, read the Bible when it's convenient and say a prayer when they have a need, but they are left disappointed and unfulfilled, because life hasn't changed and they still feel as though they are battling through it alone. The relationship was never developed and like many others, they try to find their answers in all of the wrong places.
For me, the foundation was laid that night and I began to realize that an intimate relationship with Jesus was attainable. Not a relationship that's full of religious ceremonies and memorized prayers, but one where I could share my heart and even hear His voice and feel His love in a way I never imagined possible.
He wasn't the God I expected... one who's desire was to punish and expose my failures, but one who loved and accepted me just the way I was, while He was changing me into who He wanted me to be. A God who expects holiness and purity, but know's it could never be attained by meer human strength. So He was there to guide me on the path, and every time I'd fall and mess up, He was there to pick me up, dust me off and wipe my tears.
He doesn't have to force me into submission, because once you've experienced such incredible love and fulfillment... suddenly, nothing in life is more important than pleasing Him.
I just wanted to share that. I realize there's people reading this devotion that either have no spiritual knowledge, just starting out on this amazing life with Jesus or maybe your way ahead of me on this journey... the important thing is that each day... we take steps in His direction and not away, because He is the only one in this life that will give us the peace and fulfillment we all need.
John 3:3 (KJV) Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
James 4:8-10 (TPT) Move your heart closer and closer to God, and he will come even closer to you. But make sure you cleanse your life, you sinners, and keep your heart pure and stop doubting. Feel the pain of your sin, be sorrowful and weep! Let your joking around be turned into mourning and your joy into deep humiliation. Be willing to be made low before the Lord and he will exalt you!
Romans 10:8-9 (NKJV) But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.