In the words of Strongbad, “Too long, Clancey! Too long!”
So, it’s been a while since I’ve been here. By here I mean writing a bloggeroo. I’m halfway through the semester and it sure has had it’s fair share of ups and downs. God is a little more real every day. And so every day becomes a little more real, more vivid, more alive. It all really took off this summer.
I’ve had a few months to really process the things I learned while I was in China this summer. At the time, I had no clue that I had experienced the most definitive pivotal moment of my life while laying in my bed under the window that overlooked the city. Looking back, it was in that moment that truly everything in my life had changed, or really that Life had been restored to me.
I don’t really know how long I’ve been a Christian. To some, this is a scary concept. “Well how do you know you are really saved?” John Piper says it best, I think. You don’t need a birth certificate to prove you’re alive. I’m BREATHING aren’t I?! Yes. Then I’m alive. God teaches me, He listens to me, He restores my soul. I have a relationship with the God of Glory and His Son Jesus Christ. Think about it. Righteousness, blamelessness and holiness are absolutely necessary in order to enter in the presence of a righteous and holy God. The word for “saints” that Paul uses in all his letter literally means “the holy ones”. It is the same word to used describe the Holy Spirit. Jesus removes our wretched, disgusting, sinful hearts and gives us NEW hearts, one that is righteous and holy and blameless. If the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin, draws you to Himself, reveals certain aspects of His character to you, then you have nothing to worry about.
Anyway, so I don’t know how long I’ve been a Christian, but I know that I didn’t really learn to love Jesus until I let him in my heart and showed him how messed up it was. In my first two years of college, God turned my world upside down. But this summer, I got exhausted. About halfway through the summer, I gave out. I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t pray or read the Bible or share the Gospel or sing to Him or anything. I was a lifeless wreck. One morning, I woke up and decided to pull the old open-the-Bible-to-wherever-and-see-what-happens. This is not the best way to study the Bible, but what I found changed me:
If the LORD is not the builder of the house, then those who labor labor in vain. Psalm 127:1.
It all the sudden hit me. I’ve been working my ass off for the past 8 or so years trying to build my own heart. The best way I can describe it is like a Jenga tower. I ever-so-neatly placed each block of prayer and fasting and Scripture reading and evangelism in a perfect tower. Surely God would soon see how badly I want to know Him and love Him and He will be happy and give me good gifts. Over the course of the past two years, God was slowly peeling back layers of my burdened heart, removing one block at a time until finally my whole tower came crashing down in a heap of rubble.
I read that verse in Psalm 127 and began to weep. The question that changed my life forever: “Jesus, will you please be the builder of my heart?”
It was as though He had been waiting my whole life for me to ask, eagerly putting His working gloves on and ready to go to work. Everything was different. Reading the Bible was no longer a cerebral exercise, but a Living Word that moved me, challenged me, shaped me, broke me, restored me. Prayer was no longer bland and lifeless, but deep and moving. Sharing the Gospel (though God still has a lot to do in my heart in this department) was no longer a sterile formula but a beautiful conversation. In that moment, my heart became what it unknowingly has been since Jesus saved me: alive.
Jesus doesn’t just want to save you from a life without Him, He wants to set you free to be alive to Him and in Him.
I came that you may have life and life abundantly. John 10:10
There is a “huge difference between salvation from sin and satisfaction of soul. Salvation secures our lives for eternity. Soul satisfaction (in Jesus) ensures abundant life on earth… I’m not talking about a life full of activities. I’m talking about a soul full of Jesus.” – Beth Moore, Breaking Free