Good mornin. 😃
I’m gonna give you my brief then & now testimony for the purpose of honoring God, and sharing hope with people.
Concisely…back in the mid 1980s when I was a young adult, I answered God’s call as I understood how to answer it. I walked the aisle, prayed the sinner’s prayer with the preacher in front of the church, and went into high works mode for God. I burned my rock music tapes, Jerico-marched around a stadium during a rock concert with other Christians, got into charismaticism, witnessed & laid hands on everyone who would let me, faked having tongues…pretty much everything I could do to go hard core for God, I attempted. I was identifying my relationship with God by how hard I was trying for the faith. (And man was I full of pride). I was operating in the flesh to be God’s man. But after a couple of years of that, I abandoned all of it, and I grew increasingly evil.
Then a couple of decades later, in 2012, God drew me back to Himself.
(I’m going to use the word “organic” because I don’t know of a good word to use). But God’s drawing me unto Him was an internal, organic movement in my heart. I wasn’t listening to preaching, reading the word, or in trouble with the law. But God intensely drew me. It was a mixture of great love from God towards me, and my painful awareness of the wickeness of my evils that I either justified or concealed throughout my adult life.
And it wasn’t long before I was going to all kinds of people asking for their forgiveness for countless sins I’d done against them.
But do you know what’s primarily different about my walk in the 1980s compared to now? It’s this. I now rest in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s what enabled God’s joy and love to really grow in my life. The happiness and niceness God put in my heart was magnified, because I am now at rest. No longer am I trying to be acceptable to God; I now know that I am already accepted perfectly by God, because Christ’s perfection is my perfection. Just as scripture so beautifully & efficiently states: “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Hebrews 10.14
I still sin in the flesh all the time, (as does everyone else) just as Paul described in Romans 7.15-25. But there’s a profound change in my heart that is thankful to God, and I do not want to hurt, or lie to people anymore. God gave me a new heart that loves to install His niceness on people. And sure, sometimes I’m a jerk, and it bothers me, but God’s Spirit always lovingly steers me back on course.
So what can be gleaned from all of this…
(I believe) it’s this…You can’t judge a person’s salvation status by their successes or failures in managing fleshly sins in their life. But rather, a changed heart is the thing to look for. Do you see them resting in Christ, (His death, burial, & resurrection)? And do you see the love of God in that person? That’s what I look for. The apostle John & the writer of the book of Hebrews wrote much about this in scripture.
And good mornin to you. 😃👍