I had no idea. I had never had that explained to me that way. The people at the churches I had attended were all seeking God and never realized that He had found us, called us to Himself. Each church I knew of, had its own agenda, to get people saved, to build buildings, to expand and get new members, to do good work. But again, each of these things were accomplished according to their own corporate purpose, seeking to have God bless their desires and purposes, just as I had always sought Him to bless my own desires and purposes.
I could see now why I had so many problems and so many questions. I had never understood Gods purpose or truly accepted Him as the answer. I had looked at everything with my fallen mind and according to my human and physical desires and needs, never heeding His call upon my life. I had measured my success by the size of my house, the expense of my car, the accumulation of more stuff and the security of my financial achievements and accomplishments. Only occasionally did I have time for God or give Him my tenth out of duty. I had never given Him my all.
And even when I shared with someone about Gods love or His gift of life, it was obvious that I didnt understand it or even appreciate the immensity of it or the full manifestation of His love. I would only start people off upon their own search, as I had been searching, and take them to a church of searchers, filled with those in need, never to a place of fulfillment forever. Many times my sharing of Him with others was done to make me feel good. It was not hard for me to see the folly of my ways, because I now realized how much of my life of service was done for me and therefore was wasted. It didnt make me feel any better to know that everybody I knew was in the same boat and also was missing the mark.
Somewhere, Gods gift of life to me had been turned from an inner fire, to a desire for outward blessing. I measured Gods blessing by stuff and things, by circumstances and not by Himself. But now I saw that God Himself is our blessing. We are blessed in God and Him alone. We are blessed because He loves us and gave His Son for us and not for any other reason.
And His blessing extends to us whether we are sick or well, rich or poor, whole or lame. We are blessed and dwell in Him. His love is sufficient for us in all circumstances and in all of life. He has called us to fulfill His purpose. Whatever befalls us, when we are in Him and in His life, we are blessed in Him, because of Him.
God is God, there is none else. I knew now that when God is all I want and all I need, I truly have everything, and in Him, whatever happens is not only okay, but it is a part of the blessing He has bestowed upon me. There is nothing that can happen to me that He doesnt already know about, that He isnt already the answer for and that He isnt already the provider for. All these things work together for good, for His purpose, according to His plan for my life, that I may be what He wants me to be, not just for me, but for the sake of others, that He may receive the Honor and Glory as He lives His life in me.
It is not enough to hope that when my life is over, He will say, "Well done, enter into my Glory." I am required and enabled that He be able to say that now, in each and every moment of life in Him.
Sitting at His feet, I saw that my life could no longer be a consideration. Because it puts me in charge and not Him, adding Him to my life is a sin. Living my life in Him for my own reasons and gain is foolish. Dying to self through my own sacrifice and denial is impossible. If I could do it, or if I was capable of any part of the process, He would not have had to shed His blood on the cross.
But I could not do it. There is nothing I could do to save myself. Nothing I can do to reach perfection. Only He can transform lives.
I had lived most of my life seeking things and felt that this was right since I lived in the physical world. After all, we have to eat dont we, I must support my family, pay my bills, fulfill my obligations and responsibilities and sad as it is, I treated God as an obligation and as one of those responsibilities.
But the physical world I lived in was marred by the curse of sin. It was and is a false world, following the lie. It is not the reality I thought it was, but a facsimile of reality, driven by the lust and greed and desire of men, who are seeking their own destination, believing that they are doing good.
The real world, the true reality, is where God is, where God resides, where God dwells, and true life is realized in Him and in Him alone.
I always knew that when I finally died, I would live in heaven, but I never grasped the fact that life in God is what Heaven is all about. And, that by yielding and surrendering my life and my will to Him, I could experience all that Heaven has to offer, right now. Not the pearly gates and the streets of gold sort of thing, but the relationship with my Creator, oneness of purpose and oneness of life with God the Father, in and through His Son.
I was always working on my past, trying to eliminate my guilt and become a better person, trying to overcome my failures or find the cause or the reasons for my problems. I was always working on me, trying to get better, to be acceptable to His service, trying to get ready.
I knew that if I could only work it out, that someday I would be able to serve Him, that someday I would be ready for ministry, that I would have the answers that I needed, to be the person I knew that I should be.
But someday never came. As long as I was working on my past, I missed the mark of following Him today. As long as I lived my life looking to tomorrow, I lost the opportunity to experience His life today. For I had never realized that He was to be experienced moment by moment and He was to be lived in and enjoyed right now.
My past was gone, over, forgiven, forgotten. He had cleansed me of my past. My future was in Him and my eternal destiny was already fulfilled in Him. So tomorrow can only be right if I am dwelling in Him right now and experiencing Him and His love today.
He came to give me life and I had said, "Cool, check this out, look at what Im doing, think of what we could do together, if You would simply get with the program, my program."
I never really said that, but that is what I was doing. I was taking God where I wanted Him to go.
I was leading Him around, I was telling Him what I needed, to do His bidding, to do His work, to perform my ministry.
Oh yes, I thought I had a ministry, that I was serving God. That I needed this or that, or if He would only provide the funding or the people or the facilities, I could do great things. Foolishness, but that was me. My ministry was based on the things of this world. I didnt realize that He is the ministry. In Him, I am His ambassador, in His ministry, for His purpose.
Suddenly, I got this picture of myself running ahead of the Lord, leading my master and waving my arms at Him, yelling hurry up and get here, think of what we can do, if you would only get here. Oh, how stupid of me to think I was in charge, that I had anything to do with the will of God.
Only God could save me and only God can keep me and only God is to lead me. I can only follow. It was then that He shared with me the simplest of all truths in all the magnificence of His glory, for He knew that I was ready to receive it.
"I am the light of the world, He who follows Me, will not walk in the darkness, but in the light, eternal."
And, I understood that now. A whole new wave of understanding came over me as His words flashed through my consciousness. In my own booming preaching voice I heard those words and in my own excited, childlike, little kid voice, I responded.
"Broad is the way Narrow is the way."
Ooh, I understood that now. Its not narrow because its difficult, its narrow because its single focused, like a one degree laser beam on a 360 degree circle. I could see it. The Lord was showing me what happens when I follow Him and walk in the Light.
I had always viewed my life as being free to do what I wanted. I wanted to play in the meadow, to romp and run free, to enjoy, to find rest and peace, safe and secure from lifes problems. To be blessed with the things I wanted and to have Gods protection and love amidst my ideal circumstances. But that was my dream, for me, based on the things of this world and not on Gods calling. I had clearly based Gods blessing and provision on my love of the world and in terms of the things of the world, for my own desires and dreams. I hadnt considered that God Himself was my blessing, nor had I considered what He might desire for me.
I had always wanted to be loved my way, to experience more and more of Gods unconditional love. But I viewed that love selfishly, for my own purpose. I wanted to do my own thing and still be loved. I used Gods love as a license. I wanted Him to love me right or wrong, regardless of whether I obeyed Him or not, followed Him or not or was even available to Him,. It was almost a requirement. Since God is love, God had to love me, even if I wasnt available to Him and wanted to play in the meadow and be free. After all, God loved me.
I didnt realize that He wanted me to follow Him. That His calling, His purpose was to lead me into the forest, not watch me play in the meadow. I realized that I was like a little lost sheep, doing my own thing, and not willing to be led by the Shepherd. He was waiting for me to follow, but I kept telling him, Im not ready, watch me, stay with me. I need you to validate my existence in my search for happiness, joy and peace. But, I was running around searching so much that I had never found the true meaning of life or experienced the fullness of His life, of His love. I had wanted my own sense of joy, my own feeling of peace, my way, for my self, and so I had missed the true experience of life in Him.
I knew now that God wanted me to live in Him, to follow Him through the forest. He wanted me to experience peace, to have peace, without want, without need. Even in the valley of the shadow of death, I would not have fear for no evil, no harm could ever come to me, because He was with me and I was in Him. But I was always afraid, afraid of His wrath, afraid of commitment, afraid of failure, afraid of fear. I never realized that only in my failure and in the realization of that fact, could God become my strength.
God would give me light to guide me through my darkness. I pictured myself in a dark forest, afraid of every sound and movement, fearing for my life and distracted by the world around me, never realizing that the flashlight in my hand was my salvation. As I flashed the light around in the darkness, it was not great enough to eliminate the darkness. But, as I shined the light at my feet, the circle of light illuminated my way and became a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. I could walk in the light and dwell in the light one step at a time.
As I focused on the light and kept my eyes on the light, I didnt even notice the darkness. It was then that I realized the significance of that one degree narrow laser beam of light. For as a laser beam is focused on a flat polished surface, it reflects in all directions and fills the entire plane with light. As I follow the Lord and keep my eyes focused on Him, He fills my soul with His light and I walk in the light and have fellowship with the light and only see the light and experience the light. In Him, there is no darkness at all, for He is the light.
I had thought that to follow Him, to be what He wanted me to be, would be like a slave following his master, doing His bidding, but I was wrong. He wanted to duplicate Himself in me, and to make me one with Him, like a clone of Him. He sent His spirit to bring me to Himself, that I might become one with Him, to be as He is.
He wanted me to give Him my life, that I might have His life, that I might truly become what He alone knew I could be: transformed, into a being of peace, a being of joy, a being of light, a being of love. And, I was to abide in Him and to dwell in Him, that wherever He goes and whatever He does, I would always be in Him. I was to live my life in Him, for He is more than a man who visited this earth, more than a person who died for my sins, more than my escape of eternal punishment, more than my hope of everlasting life, He is my dwelling place. As I stay in Him, and dwell in Him, I have peace and I have joy, and I become peace and I become joy for others. And I am happy and have the happiness I had always sought, because I delight in the Lord. Then He spoke to me.
"Do you love Me?"
"Yes Lord, I love You."
"Do you truly love Me?"
"Yes Lord, I truly love You."
" With all your Heart?"
"Yes Lord, with all my heart."
"With all you mind?"
"Yes Lord, with all my mind."
"With all your soul?"
" Yes Lord, with all my soul."
"Then you are ready."