Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Facing the Truth

It's been my enemy from birth.
It's kept me from achieving some of my dreams.
It's destroyed many of my relationships.
It's given me a bad reputation.
It almost cost me my life.
It's Pride.

Pride is the ugliest, most destructive force I've ever had to deal with. Pride sneaks in. It robs me of my joy. It keeps me focused on myself intead of others. Pride is what brought Satan down - you know initially, he was a beauitful, magnificent angel named Lucifer. But he wanted to be more like God. Then he wanted to actually be God. That's when he fell. He and all the angels who decided to take their eyes off of God and put them on themselves instead.

Pride is what almost made me decide not to accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. I had lived for twenty years pretending to be a Christian, leading bible studies and keeping people in the dark about who I really was. I think I even fooled myself. You see, I had said a prayer as a young girl to ask Jesus into my heart because someone told me that if I didn't, I would go to hell. That is not a place anyone wants to go! So, of course I did what I was told.

There was a problem, though.  I didn't understand why I had to ask Jesus to be my personal Savior. It was because of my sin. I could not have a relationship with God until my sin was taken care of. God is holy and He will not tolerate sin - even if He wanted to have a relationship with me, He couldn't - until my sin was dealt with. So that's what Jesus did. He lived a perfect life - never sinned (amazing) - and when He died, He knowingly and willingly took all the sins of everyone on Himself and all we have to do is admit we are sinners in need of a Savior (confess), ask forgiveness of and repent of our sin (turn away from) to accept His sacrifice on our behalf in order to be restored to God. That seems simple...but in order to admit I was a sinner, I had to swallow my pride. And that's not so simple!

I remember sitting in a discipleship class in my church, seven years ago.  My pastor explained how there is a changed life with true salvation - you cannot help but change when the Holy Spirit of God comes to live inside of you!  These changes happen not because you are trying, but because you are a new creation - made alive through God's power, not yours. Jesus is not just your Savior, but He is also the Lord of your life at that point. I realized I didn't have a changed life. I didn't read or care about God's Word. I didn't grieve over my sin, I just tried to cover it up. When the pastor asked us if we knew for sure that Jesus Christ was the Lord and Savior of our life, I was confronted, again, with pride. But this time it was spiritual pride.

Everyone thought I was a Christian already. What would everyone think if I all of a sudden admitted that I was never a Christian to begin with? I mean, I led bible studies. I went to church every Sunday (sometimes with a hangover, but nobody knew that!). I had convinced even myself that I was a Christian. I had put my faith in a prayer, though - not in Christ or His sacrifice for my sin!  So, I sat there struggling with whether or not I was willing to come clean. But God would not let my pride keep me from the truth any longer and finally I admitted to everyone that I was accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior that night.

And you know what? It wasn't scary at all! Instead, it was freeing! No more lies, no more games, no more double life. It amazed me how many others shared their stories with me and they had been through the exact same thing. But when I think about how pride almost cost me this amazing gift of walking with Jesus Christ, I cringe. If pride is keeping you from being honest with others and maybe even yourself, please don't let it rob you of your joy for one more minute!  There is hope and forgiveness with Jesus Christ - and as long as you are breathing, God is giving you time to come to Him, in humility, through the sacrifice of His Son.

Psalm 119:29 - Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing Your instructions.

Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles—all who have been called by the Lord our God.”

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