Earlier this week, I was hanging with a friend. After discussing a million other things, we started talking about people who try to convert their friends to their religion by saying things like, “I really like you and I really don’t want you to go to hell.” She mentioned some of her friends who claim to be “born-again” and then she said, “They claim to be born-again, but they’re really not because their parents were already Protestant before they were even born. It’s all they know.” I literally LOLed and said “no that’s not how being born-again works,” but I understood what she was trying to say. That these so called “born-again Christians” were only repeating what they had been told their whole lives. She was assuming that they didn’t choose it for themselves.
This is a topic that I have struggled with for many years. I was born to parents who had already accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. I’ve attended the same church my entire life. My pastor was even at the hospital when I was born. There has never been one moment in my life that I doubted that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins. Or that God created everything in this world, myself included. But when did I accept him for myself? When did I really fall in love with Jesus?
I wish I had a great story for the day I asked Jesus to come into my heart. Instead, I remember once, in my second year of college, after a messy breakup, someone told me that in order to heal, I needed to come back to my first love: Jesus . And do you know what my idiotic self said back? “I’m not really sure Jesus was my first love.” I wasn’t even sure if I knew how to love God. And ever since that day, there has been a hole in my relationship with God. As soon as I said that, my mind was flooded with all kinds of negative thoughts that pulled me further and further away from God. Every time I sinned, or fell off track, I heard the voice of the enemy telling me that God had officially run out of patience. I felt like God must have given up on me because I just couldn’t get it right. But the truth was…I had given up on myself and the redeeming power of God’s grace.
I dwelled on Isaiah 59:1-2:
“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
Nor his ear to dull to hear.
But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
Your sins have hidden his face from you,
So that he will not hear.”
Instead of Romans 5:8:
“but God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
While Jesus was hanging on the cross, he already knew every sin I would commit. He was even prepared for the many times that I would walk away from him, or pretend that I couldn’t hear him calling my name. But he loved me anyway. He loved me before I even existed.
He is my first love. And I have chosen to love him and follow him for myself.
Have you made your choice yet?
(all photos courtesy of http://weheartit.com) — song title: “My First Love” Avant feat. Keke Wyatt