Thursday, January 07, 2010

Discovering Ephesians 5:8: my early "during" years.

Ephesians 5:8 "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light."

Every Believer has a testimony. Even if, like me, you asked Jesus into your heart at a very young age. We have a before and an after. Except there is something in between the before and the after...there is a during. This is our life on earth with Jesus in our heart. This is the learning time. After is revealed the day we walk through Heaven's door. We were a living in sin - destined to a fate of death. We are still sinners, but now we are sinners saved by God's Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ. One day we will be living in Glory. Alive in Him forever.

When I was in second grade at Gardena Valley Christian School (thanks mom and dad), I was blessed to have a teacher named Mrs. Morgan who made it her mission to plant the very powerful seed of the Gospel into each student's life. She spoke of God and His plans for us often. She always made it a point to allow us very young children to develop a sense of Who God was. Towards the end of the year she spent an entire morning describing to us the image of Jesus knocking on the door to our heart.

I remember I literally had a picture of Jesus (about the size of Tinkerbell) standing on a little golden front door mat, placed perfectly infront of a heart-shaped door. There He was, just a knocking away. According to Mrs. Morgan, He was on the outside. He was locked out of my heart and my life. He wanted in so badly, He wanted to change my heart and make it new. He wanted to make sure He took my heart with Him to Heaven one that I would not be alone anymore.

I believed this with my entire being. Sitting there - such a small little girl in a big world - something moved inside of me. I trusted that without me making the real decision to open the door to my heart and asking Jesus into my heart, my life and my mind - I would never have Him, and He would never have me. He would never get to show me the special room that He promised to prepare for me. So with that image of Jesus in my head, I closed my eyes. Drowning out the others around me, blurring the faint sound of Mrs. Morgan's guided prayer, I did something for the first time. I spoke inside my head, but for the first time, it wasn't to myself. I felt a connection that was never there before. I was speaking to Someone else. And I felt heard.

I spoke to Him. I told Him that I wasn't sure why I needed Him, well I wasn't quite sure for the reason that I needed Him yet. I knew I needed Him. I told Him that I couldn't live another day without Him. I told Him that I felt terrible thinking about all of the sins I had lived with. I begged Him to take them away and to help me forget them. I thanked Him for wanting to live in my heart. I told Him that I thought it was the coolest thing that He had been my age at one time - and that He must know all of the things that I go through. (yea, because I really had been through life at that point...) I told him that I was so excited to get to know Him and that this is way better than an imaginary friend or playing with toys.

Yes, I talked to the whole time. But in hindsight I now know that it's ok. He had a whole lot of work to do anyway. He listened. He let me get to know Him. He knew me so well already anyway. I would eventually learn to be still and listen to Him.

This was my before...leading into my during.

Fast forward a couple of years, a couple of mistakes and a couple of lessons later...

I am now starting middle school. I have been introduced to whole world of sin since my days of asking Jesus into my heart. Temptation has occured. I have even bitten the proverbial apple more than a few times. I have deviated from the great plan to live a life of Christian bliss. And quite frankly I didn't really care. It's not like I had killed anyone, done drugs, or been involved in some sexual scandalous lifestyle. For crying out loud, I was just a 12 year old kid. I had plenty of time to live before the pressures of life and sin really started to interfere.

Then I was moved one day, sitting in church. The pastor preached about some verse where some guy says that we were once in DARKNESS, but now we we are in the LIGHT of the LORD. Therefore we should live like Children of the Light. Hmmm. Interesting. It started to spark...but mostly I just didn't like to be called a child.

Quickly, as I was gettin involved in the youth group, I started getting to know other people who lived a Christian life. I also met people that did not. I met one girl that was a couple of years older than me...and I noticed something about her. Every single time I saw her at church - she was crying her eyes out talking about how she has just come back to Jesus and that she has been reconciled with Him...again. and again. and again. This is the beginning of my hate relationship with luke warmness. I came to a point where all I wanted to do was live like a child of the light.

Over the next couple of years, I went back and forth. I apparently had to live like a lukewarm Christian to fully understand my hatred for it...I made a few mistakes. Specifically dating wise. I guess I just mission dated, mission friended. I thought I was a strong enough Christian so that I could be "all things to all people" and not allow their lifestyle affect me and my lifestyle. Wrong. The strength is not in me.

It was not until crossing over into my Sophomore year of Highschool did I realize that Ephesians 5:8 was more of a daily effort. It is a daily choice. Every morning I have to wake up and figure out for myself, using the strenght of my Deliverer, that I must be no longer of the darkness, but to let in the light of the LORD.

Even though I am still in the journey of my during, I am enjoying all the things that Adonai is showing to me. Ephesians 5:8 still has an impact on my daily walk. I discover a little more about it every day.

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