Wednesday, December 9, 2015

a special day to celebrate

It used to really bother me.
It used to gnaw at my gut.

How could I say I was a Christian if I couldn't even remember the historical calendar date when I was saved?

You see, I was spiritually "born again" very early in my life.  And although I was young, I indeed recognized my sin, repented to God, and submitted to the truth of Scripture that says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31) and “Whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered.” (Joel 2:32).  But my problem was that I was too young, too childlike, too spacey, too naive to actually think about documenting that momentous date.  I was just a "little one to Him belong".  As a result, later on it really, really bothered me that I did not know the initial date when I accepted Jesus as my Savior.  For I simply had nothing on the calendar to look to as documented proof.  I believed in Christ as my King, but I couldn't answer the question, "So, WHEN were you saved, Victoria?"  Sure, my big brother's salvation was clearly noted in my father's Bible.  But nobody... nowhere... had written down anything about my own conversion.  What up, people?  Lord, now what do I do???

Again, how could I say I was a Christian if I couldn't remember the historical calendar date when I was saved?

Sadly, for years this little detail made me question my eternity.  Over and over I would find myself walking down church pews to rededicate my life to the Lord... just to be sure...  Just to show Him my heart's desire - - even if I couldn't remember my salvation date.  Again and again, I would be tucked into bed each night and fearfully question my mother, "Momba, am I really saved?" Oooo, that ruthless enemy and his bag of tricks.  He frequently introduced doubt while scoffing at my undocumented profession of faith - causing me to question God's promise.  Leading me to consider his lies.

Thankfully, after years of tip-toeing over Satan's minefields (mind-fields) and seeking after Christ's security, God finally offered me this important understanding.  Salvation is not about that one moment in time.  It is about every moment in time with Jesus.  It is not a date noted on a calendar.  It is about a new life affectionately receiving and loving Jesus.  He is the importance.  He is the beginning and the end.  He is the proof.  It didn't matter WHEN I had accepted Him.  It only mattered that I HAD accepted His beautiful gift of NEW life, and that He continues to be my #1 priority and focus as I live it!

Ahhhhh!  Freedom in Christ!  Freedom to celebrate believing in Him!  Freedom to know that I have called on His Name and that I am delivered by His grace!!!

Ladies, the Bible commands us to evaluate and examine our spiritual condition so that we aren’t self-deceived into thinking we’re truly saved when we’re not. (See 2 Corinthians 13:5 and 2 Peter 1:10.)  We are to regularly test ourselves to insure that we are living faithfully to Jesus. We are to diligently make certain that we are following His call.  That said, for those of you like me... those who never documented their historical date of salvation and have questioned your commitment to the Lord because of it... let me share with you something important...

Jonathan Edwards wrote in his famous work "A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections" these important words: “There is no question whatsoever, that is of greater importance to mankind, and what is more concerns every individual person to be well resolved in, than this: What are the distinguishing qualifications of those that are in favor with God, and entitled to his eternal rewards?  The principle evidence of life is motion; so the principle evidence of saving grace is holy motion.” 

What did Edwards mean?  He meant what Jesus said simply in Matthew 12:33, "Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit."  Or my own paraphrase: When someone is physically alive... they move, act, breathe, progress, and live their life.  Equally, when someone is spiritually alive... they move, breathe, progress, and live their life choosing to actively follow Jesus Christ.  And by choosing to follow (or not follow) His Way, our spiritual fruit (our salvation) is made known.  In short, His Law becomes every believer's new oxygen to breathe in and out!  The priority of loving, obeying, and submitting to His reign becomes evident because we are living in holy motion.

Does this mean we won't struggle with sin.  Absolutely not.  We are still sinners.  But in taking on God's Name, we are goats now transformed into sheep by His grace. We are NEW creatures!!!  Sure, even Paul struggled with sin in Romans 7 where he shares with us his battle with the old sinful nature.  Clearly none of us is perfect.  But Jesus is.  And He will do a good work in those who actively seek after Him.  He will lead His sheep into His perfect pastures and restore us into His righteousness!

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. (Psalm 23:2-3)

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.  (Titus 2:11-14)

Zealous...  That is what we should be questioning.  Our zealous evidence of holy motion toward Jesus.  Are we spiritually alive - moving, acting, progressing, and living affectionately, lovingly, and wholeheartedly in obedience of Jesus Christ?  You see, calendars are not the importance when it comes to the Savior... for TODAY is the day to celebrate His promises and reign!  TODAY is the day to rejoice and be glad in His authority!  TODAY is the day to accept Christ the Lord again and again and again as our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!  Yes, THIS IS THE DAY TO REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN HIM!

I am so thankful that God taught me that every calendar day is a special day to celebrate and believe in His promised salvation.  So, TODAY I live in praise and commemoration of Him!  For I have recognized my sin. I have repented to His authority.  And I have submitted to His truth and chosen to affectionately, zealously, and lovingly believe in His only Son with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength!  Yes, every day, I live NEW because of the Savior's glorious gift of LIFE!  Jesus is my assurance!  Jesus is my proof!  Jesus is my new oxygen!

Believer, God assures us that, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

Ahhhhh!  Freedom in Christ!  Freedom to celebrate believing in Him!  Freedom to know that I have called on His Name and that I am delivered by His grace!!!  This is definitely a special day to celebrate in His Name!  WOO HOO!

The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.  The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.  The right hand of the Lord is exalted: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.  I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.  The Lord hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.  Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord:  This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter.  I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.  The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.  This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.  This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.  Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.  Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.  God is the Lord, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.  Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.  O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psalm 118:14-29)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17)

Let us rejoice and believe!!!  Let us actively LIVE our new life zealous to honor the King of kings!!!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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