Do you know what a "Conversion Story" is? It's when a Christian tells about the moment when he or she became "born again." A good one involves sex and drugs, and a startling change. There's a definite before (no Jesus) and after (know Jesus.) The problem for some of us (especially those who grew up in more-or-less Christian homes) is that we don't have a born-again moment.
I went to Church as a child. I remember asking Jesus into my heart in second grade, in Sunday school. *yawn.* It's not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just that there's no shocking before-and-after-WOW-look-what-Jesus-did-for-me. In fact, I went on to do some pretty stupid things in my teens and twenties. Before my conversion, the worst thing I did was refuse to clean my room.
I realized something when I was praying this morning. Really, it’s something I’ve known all along, but it becomes clear to me when I’m open to it.
I think I’m beginning to understand what it means to be born again. It doesn't have to be accompanied by a blinding light (Acts 9:3-19). For me, it's been a long, slow road. I’ve held back all these years, out of fear. And I’ve known it. I’m afraid – right or wrong – that giving my all to God means having to do things that I don’t feel able to do. I’ve played the part of victim; poor me. I had a hard childhood. I should be exempt from the responsibilities of “normal” people. I know other people who play the pity game. They’d rather be pitied than admired or loved. It feels comfortable. It’s what I know; stay under the radar.
I read in the Bible about martyrs, and I don’t think a Christian in our country can even come close to being a real martyr. But for me, the idea of, say, standing in front of people and speaking is martyrdom enough.
Life is a journey; Christianity is a journey too. It’s not easy, but God didn’t say it would be easy.
I know I’m on my way to heaven no matter what I do. But I’ve always wanted the fruits of the spirit, too.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
This is a promise from God! But I haven't always felt peace or joy. Have I been gypped, or am I doing something wrong? I'm starting to realize that I haven't accepted the fruits of the Spirit.
So this is me, in the middle of my conversion:
I've been a Christian since I was little. I fell away, drank, tried drugs, and lived for myself.
I came back.
Life got complicated and I forgot to spend time with the Lord. I started skipping out on church.
I came back.
I looked at the state of the world, doubted and fell away. I considered other religions.
I came back.
I looked back on my life so far, and decided that I can't go halfway. God doesn't hand us the fruits of the Spirit on a platter. We've got to go after them, and that's what I want to do. I'm renewing my faith and trying again.