I do not remember not being in church while I was growing up. In fact, when I was very young, I supposedly asked my mom to see if the preacher would be a little quieter because he was making it difficult for me to sleep! My dad served in the Air Force, so we moved several times during the first ten years of my life, but mom and dad were always faithful to find a church, even if that meant helping start one. When I was nine years old, dad was stationed at a base in California and we were attending a small church in the local community. I remember walking the aisle and being baptized shortly thereafter, but nothing really changed. About a year later we moved to the promised land (Texas, if you’re not in the know) and settled in. I continued to be in church regularly with my family, and grew in biblical knowledge as I moved through the middle school and high school years. After high school, I left for the big city (Houston) to attend college. However, church attendance was marginal at best during my college years, and although my behavior was not “bad”, I certainly did not exhibit anything that would indicate I was walking with the Lord.
I eventually graduated from college, joined the work force, and ended up back in my home town a few months later. Church was once again a regular part of my life, and I even began to serve as an RA counselor. Eventually, Life Action Ministries came to our church and two weeks of scheduled revival services turned into three weeks I believe. What a pivotal time for our church! And it was during that time that God showed me the true condition of my soul. He showed me that I cared about what others thought, not about what He thought, and that I was lost as a goose;
I could not have Jesus as Savior without also having Him as Lord.
I remember the heavy, heavy conviction of the Holy Spirit during a Sunday morning service. I told God “no” (stupid, I realized later) to making a decision that morning, but that I would “walk the aisle” that night since the crowd would be smaller. Obviously, I still cared about what others thought and was not quite to the end of myself. However, there was absolutely no conviction by the Holy Spirit that night, and I was scared I had told God “no” one too many times. I knew enough scripture to know that you cannot come to the Father unless He draws you (John 6:44). This lack of conviction continued every night that week, and my despair became agonizing.
The next Sunday morning, the service was barely under way when I once again felt the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. By God’s grace, I wasted no time – I got up, went to the pastor, and asked him if he would go the prayer room right then with me and help me do business with God! He did, and God turned a pretender into His son – hallelujah!!
Nothing has been the same since. God has continued to teach me what lordship really means, a lifelong lesson it seems, and one that can be difficult and painful at times. He has continued to make me more like Jesus, a process that is also a struggle, yet not one that is without joy. And He has given me places to serve, to invest in His kingdom, to “lay up treasure in heaven.” In these things, I have come to more fully appreciate John the Baptist’s confession that “He must increase, but I must decrease.”