Saturday, February 23, 2008

Forgiven

A passionate preacher was asked where his spiritual secret lay. Relentlessly, the questions came, those asking trying to find a quick answer to their quest for a deeper walk with God.

"Tell me what verse motivated you to seek the Lord in such a way?"

"What experience did you have that gave you such a hunger for Him?"

"How do you pray the way you do?"

"What is the source of your never ceasing pursuit after God?"

With tears coursing down his cheeks, and voice shaking uncontrollably, the young preacher replied with this answer. 

"I have no other answer than this. I was the chief of sinners and Christ saved me. I woke up in an apartment in a pool of vomit after nearly drinking myself to death, and God had mercy on me, and saved my soul. I was the most wretched among men, and God looked down and pulled me from the miry pit of my own making. Jesus is the source of the life I now live, and oh how I love Him!"

As I reflected on this answer, and the preaching of his I have soaked in the last couple weeks, the response of Jesus came to mind when he was speaking of the women who anointed his feet with perfume.

"...her sins which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." Luke 7:47

My mind started whirling as I pondered my own conversion experience. I was no drunk. I've been raised in a God-fearing home, and much of my life prior to salvation conformed to what most churches would consider righteous. How could I say I was the chief of sinners? Was my rebellion against God really that big of deal? Was the extent of my sin really enough to experience the same depth of love for Jesus that this man had?

I listened on to the message, and traced in my mind the pathway this man's wife took in her quest after God. Raised in a God-fearing home, "praying the prayer" as a young teenager, going to Bible College as a young adult, marrying a man who spent his life for the salvation of souls - she seemed to have it all together. Her externals looked good. She was the wife of this godly man, and yet, as time went on, she realized something, rather Someone was missing in her life.

The light came on one evening during a service in which her husband was preaching in an open tent outdoors. She caught a glimpse of a prostitute across the street, and at that moment, God spoke to her and said that except for external appearance and job, she was no different than that women. Her heart was just as black and lost as the women across the street who she deemed so filthy and degraded. That deep realization was the first step to her conversion.

Sometimes I have to wonder if I really comprehend and grasp the immensity of this thing called salvation. I know that just one glimpse of my sin from God's perspective would change my life forever. To catch just a glance of His holiness would forever stop my mouth from even entertaining the slightest thought that one man's sin is greater than my own.

It's my perspective that needs to change. When I start seeing myself as God sees me, the first step has been made towards comprehending the amount I've been forgiven. The timeless truth echoes down through the centuries, "...she who has been forgiven much, loves much." A deeper love and passion for the Lord starts right here. It starts in my heart. 

Dear Master, Thine the glory
Of each recovered soul,
Ah! who can tell the story
Of love that made us whole?
Not ours, not ours, the merit:
Be Thine alone the praise
And ours a thankful spirit
To serve Thee all our days.
-Henry Baker

4 comments:

Shelley Baldridge said...

This is so true Andrea! My most intimate times with the Lord have been a result of me realizing that my heart is just as lost and dark as someone on the street. I forget so easily though, but I'd rather remember because when I really realize who I would be without Christ, only then can really understand who I am in Christ.

Anonymous said...

Glad for your post! The gospel... we can never fully appreciate it's beauty till we have seen the depths of our own depravity. Then we can sing "Amazing Grace" and know, tis so true.
Blessings, Jayne Otterson

Goldfish said...

Absolutely LOVE this post!!!!! It is just so good. Thank you SO much for posting it! I've always loved in Psalms when it talks about the slimy pit of sin that He has delivered us from. I see you are reading the Practice of the Presence of God. That is an amazing book! My grandpa gave it to me and I have it pretty much all highlighted. :) Is Taking Flight good? I have recently fallen in love with Elisabeth Elliot's writings.

Hannah said...

Thank you for posting this, Andrea. I heard this quote only a few weeks ago, but needed to hear it again. If we all had the passion of this man, what God could do!