At first it was disarming. My first experience with unconditional Love, with those who cared enough to help was at the Dream Center. I recall vividly the leadership would say to me that they loved me and I would grow so frustrated; how can you love me, you're just saying that, how can you love me you don’t even know me. If you knew who I really was you would ask me to leave. I was struggling with abandonment and rejection. I was so afraid of rejection I would push you away before any relationship started. Especially a relationship where the person wanting to help is not looking to gain anything out of it, they are just working from the heart. That was forign to me, every relationship I had someone wanted something in return.
What I eventually understood was that God was speaking to me through them; through their desire to help me and serve God, through their desire to love God, by helping me. I learned that the way to demonstrate my love for the lord was through compassion and caring towards those around me, close to me, and to the people I encounter everyday in my walk with the Lord here on Earth. However, I had to first start with myself and to accept their love in return.
I was disarmed and in disbelief that someone cared enough to step into my life when I no longer had the strength to live life left in me. I was beaten, broken, defeated, with nowhere to run to anymore or to seek out another cure other than Jesus. Finding these three women at the DC who gave of themselves without wanting anything in return was wholly new to me. They poured all their knowledge, wisdom, character and Godly habits into me through a living example with a few words. Seeing how they loved God in their sacrifice to help me gave me the willingness to submit to their teachings, in effect, allowing them to step into my mess was the first step, and all those who struggle with some affliction in their lives, need to take in order to change their lives. Inviting the ones who care enough, who are willing to enter your life to help, we need to be willing to look past our fear of rejection, shame and hurt, to take a leap of faith. This is the first step to a truly changed, a true repentance of heart.
When you trust just enough to allow others to help you, your burden becomes lighter. What I learned was my first passage in scripture, they were willing to carry my burden.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
Doing this, they were fulfilling the law of Christ. This is part of the meaning behind what the “Good News” is, that nobody or no one person does anything alone within the body of Christ. We rely on each other as we also rely on God. We can’t fix ourselves no matter how the world tries to convince us that we can. No matter what popular self help book says or some famous clinical therapist eloquently portrays on YouTube. Christ is the answer for all people, He is the only solution, He is the only path, the narrow path is the path to and for our redemption. When the hole that we are digging becomes too deep for us to climb out of any more. It is Christ and only Christ who comes and reaches down into the hole we dug for ourselves, our man made prison and helps us out. No human on earth has the power to do that, as well as no other god has that power. They all require you to climb up to them by good works to find acceptance; wherein Jesus came down to us here on earth, in human form, and paid the price for our sins. Reaching down and saving us from our self-made prison.
When we ask Christ to come into our lives , when we invite Him in. Part of our sustained salvation is contingent on us being connected to the body. Being part of a bible based church, making other christian friends we can rely on, talking and making relationships with christian's who have been walking with Christ longer and who can impart their knowledge to us.
I have a hard time with some doctrine that says, “once saved always saved.” For me, I'm simply saying to watch the manner in which we live our lives and make corrections along the way.
When I Allowed Jesus to rule over my heart and spirit. I entered, through adoption into His family. What it meant to me that someone cared enough and was willing enough to step into my self-destructive life, helping me in any way they could, taught me that instead of each person watching out for their own good, that we should watch out for what is better for others.
“Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the
others.” (Philippians 2:4)
The verse is not saying that it is not ok to consider what is best for you and your family, but rather we also need to keep in mind what is beneficial for others. Others here, meaning the people we minister to, talk to on a daily basis, the strangers we constantly run into and the community we live in and serve. In short, everything and everyone who is not us. Learning and applying this teaching in my life has given me a stronger trust in the Lord that He will, in turn, look out for me. It has also strengthened my trust in my fellow man, that others are also looking out and have my best interests at heart. That was a sore lesson for me to learn, having very little trust of my fellow man all my life because of the way I lived, and was raised. The body is all working for the good.
What it meant to me and what it taught me that someone cared enough and was willing to give to me what Christ had given to them so freely. They showed me the door. They brought me to the water's edge to drink. That was the greatest gift I ever received from anybody and the greatest gift we can give anybody. To lead them to the gate, to the door, to the water's edge to drink. As for me, after many tears and tantrums and battles with denials, rejection and doubts, I drank the water, I opened the door, I walked through the gate in opposition to my fears and Jesus was there on the other-side waiting for me with open arms. I cried out in disbelief that He still wanted me and was waiting for me and was not mad at me that He was my very last choice, my last ditch option for life. Yet for Him I was His first and only choice from the beginning. In the gospel of Luke it says,
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:36)
Jesus is saying here that He is encouraging the freedom to give without fearing that we will lose in some way in our giving. Setting us free from the fear of giving too much. This passage for me is not just speaking of material resources, it speaks of all our resources, our time, our energy, our love. Simply said, you can’t out-give God but you can surely try, because when we give it will be given to us in measure.
I was presented with the gospel and that gave me the opportunity to open the door. The ones who gifted me with the gospel were given the opportunity to see me open that door and step into the arms of Jesus. The reward that was given was seeing the peace and Joy I received as the shame of my past melted away never to return.
When I was blessed and honored to serve in ministry with the same three women who lead me to the door with the gospel of Christ. I also got the honor and privilege to lead others in the same way. To see the joy and peace and to literally watch as their sin was washed away, never to be seen again, when they ran into the arms of Jesus. Then watching them grow daily in their walk with Him. To witness that is a reward and blessing of joy unimaginable, only magnified by eternity.
The sadness of a life without Jesus is manifested in the world that I came from, that I chose for myself. If I was to ask one of my former mentors or friends that I looked up to in that world, “if they loved themselves?” They would answer emphatically, yes. Telling them that choosing this lifestyle and believing that they were somehow born this way is wrong and not really loving yourself at all is a hard pill to swallow. They would answer that they didn't choose it, that it was who they are, their identity from birth. The truth is we have free will, their life is a choice, just as choosing Jesus is a choice. In choosing that life they are In fact showing that they indeed hate themselves. If you want to take matters into your own hands and change who you are contrary to God’s design then it only follows that you are genuinely lost, confused, unhappy inside and dislike your life and yourself. Choosing that life is not the way to happiness, it's not the way to joy, it is just a way further down the hole. I want you to know that God loves you and the only way to truly love yourself is to know and understand His love for you. We love, because He loved us first.” (John 4:19)
We need to obey Him in order to be able to love ourselves and live lives of true happiness and joy. To see ourselves the way God loves and sees us. “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (John 4:16)