For some reason, I begin these blogs talking about some subject and that gets me thinking and by the end of the blog, I am talking about something not even remotely similar to what I began with. This time I was going to attempt to compare my life before Christ to my life now.
Before Christ, my desires were more intellectual for studying the Bible than actually deriving joy from it. Being a Christian was like a 9 - 5 Job for me. For example, I would go to church, serve there, spend time with my friends and turn my mind immediately to other things upon leaving. I spent my time thinking about normal pursuits such as movies, partying, working and playing on the computer. I was always looking for the next party where I could meet some girl or hoping that some beautiful girl would consent to go on a date with me. Even while in church I thought of those things.
Now, you are going to think, "Wow, what a hypocrite!" But I really did read the Bible. I actually read it in the morning and in the evening sometimes. I succeeded in reading the entire Bible once before I went to Mexico for a year and had read numerous books on how to live a godly life. A few such were, "Every Man's Battle", "The Prayer of Jabez", "Wild at Heart", "Life is Tremendous!", "The Magic of Thinking Big", "How to Win Friends and Influence People" and a myriad of others. I was one of the best Christians you had ever met (although I was not).
I had a good paying job at UGA and attended church every time the door was open. I actually taught Bible Study and was an Elder in my church! I even went to Mexico and became a missionary for a year. There I had to learn Spanish. I went down there knowing very little and left being able to preach the Bible in Spanish. I actually shared with the church there all that God had taught me through my stay in Mexico. But you know something, I WAS NOT SAVED!
If you had told me this, I would have told you that you are crazy. Of course I am saved! If you had named my sins and told me that my persisting in them was evidence of my perdition, I would have told you that they didn't mean that I was lost because they were sins that I didn't do ALL the time and that I had a sincere desire to serve the Lord and that my life had evidences of my faith.
Now, you are probably thinking, "you don't seem all that bad to me." You are right! I wasn't all that bad. In fact, I would probably put most people who are reading this blog to shame in regards to "being a good Christian". By the way, "being a good Christian" is just another way to say, "as to righteousness under the law, blameless!"
So, in regards to this, where was my problem? It was actually much deeper than anyone or myself could ever see. God had to reveal it to me through many painful experiences, betrayals and loneliness. Thank God for pain. Without it we just kind of simmer in the pot until we are fully cooked. This is actually one of the things that I pray more and more for people. I pray for pain and discomfort in their lives so that they can turn to God for answers instead of other things. I want people to hate themselves and others so much that they finally come to the point where they realize everything bad in their lives is their own stupid fault and that they must repent or face eternal torment in hell apart from God where, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.