Thursday 5 April 2007

Growing pains!

The initial six weeks after I was saved were some of the best weeks of my life and also some of the most soul-searching and heart-wrenching weeks. I spent many nights reading and learning and praying. Just talking to God the Father. Sometimes I would feel so happy and elated, so young and fresh, full of pure delight at what He was showing me. I would read and read and think and wonder, and I would never feel overwhelmed by it all. I felt that no matter how much I took in, it was never too much. Many nights the tears just streamed down my face and I would laugh out loud with happiness and joy!

On the other hand, there were many times that I felt sick I would feel so rotten and bad. The more I grew to love God the more I could see just how good and wonderful He is, the sacrifice the Father made in sending down His Son, knowing what would happen to Him. The horrible death Jesus endured, being whipped, battered and murdered. The reality is that this is no fairy story; this was all done so Jesus could take my place and my punishment, instead of me, so I can stand in front of God, clean and without sin, God cannot tolerate anything less.

I began to see the gaping hole of a difference between what I was and what I should be. Up until now I thought I wasn’t too bad a person. Fairly honest, kind enough, and pretty decent. God has held up a mirror in front of me and let me see what I am really like! I am so far off the mark it’s frightening. There is no excuse for any sin. I can’t say certain things happened to me so therefore it wasn’t my fault that I did such-and-such a thing. I can’t say ‘I sinned, but it wasn’t my fault’. It doesn’t matter what drove me to it, at the end of the day I sinned…and, like it or lump it, the buck stops here. I had always measured my standard against other people’s, not God’s. It’s an awful shock to realise just how far from His original image of us we really are.

So I started to see what I should really be like and with the help and direction of the Holy Spirit I began, almost unknown to myself, to get rid of my old habits and ways. There is no way that I would have been able to see the need for change, let alone actually change my own nature, without the help of the Holy Spirit. The surprising thing is, it was so easy!

Almost every day scripture that related directly to my lifestyle was bombarding me. My confidence began to return to me in relation to decision-making. Instead of asking two or three different people for an opinion that I didn’t trust myself to make and end up being even more confused (if that could have been possible!) I asked God for His guidance and got it! I started to feel uncomfortable with the way I dressed and on several occasions went through my wardrobes and removed any articles of clothing I felt were inappropriate for me to wear. At no time did anybody say or imply that my mode of dress was wrong, but rather, I learned from the example the women in the church quietly gave and by the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Although I wouldn’t have been one to swear a lot, I found it startlingly offensive when I let one slip or when someone else did. In fact the more I grow as a Christian, the more disagreeable it becomes.

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