When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I went back into the Bible to find the Scripture verse that ultimately woke me up to the Truth. But truly, since then, I didn't spend any further time on it. I saw it, made a quick mental note of where it was in the Bible and then moved on.
Reading it again now, takes me back to that same place I was. And it's beautiful and emotional and awesome all at once. I will forever remember that moment, even if the details get fuzzy with time. I will always remember my internal conversation with myself; and if I didn't share it already, I want to type it out for a record.
Let's jump into the verse of the day, and see what our Lord God has for us:
'When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! ' Romans 6:20-21 NIV
'For when you were slaves of sin, you were free with regard to righteousness. So what fruit was produced then from the things you are now ashamed of? The outcome of those things is death. ' Romans 6:20-21 CSB
'When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. ' Romans 6:20-21 NLT
'For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. ' Romans 6:20-21 NKJV
'When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness [you had no desire to conform to God’s will]. So what benefit did you get at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? [None!] For the outcome of those things is death! ' Romans 6:20-21 AMP
When the preacher said this verse, I remember how it hit me. The first thing I said in my mind, was "that's true". All of things I was doing in my life had led me so far down a dark path, and all of it led me to do things I was ashamed to even speak to my loved ones. I had so many secrets in my heart that I honestly never shared with one person; not my mom, not my best friend, no one. That's the level of shame I carried throughout my life.
It started when I was younger, when it came to the sexual abuse. I didn't want anyone to know, because I loved the person that did it; and I didn't want them to get in trouble. I held that in until the year I got saved. Then it was the abuse in my relationships; I never wanted to look "pathetic" by being the one people kept taking advantage of. Then it was the abortions; I lied about it to everyone because I was terrified my family would disown me. So I lied about most things, and kept my true feelings hidden.
So when the preacher asked, "what did you gain from all the things I'm now ashamed of?" It hit me, deeply. It felt like everyone else in the room disappeared and that the question was just for me. So in my mind I answered it.
I said, "that's true. I 'gained' depression, suicidal thoughts, hatred for myself, numbness, trust issues, a meaningless and purposeless life"; in my heart I knew I couldn't run anymore because literally the outcome would have been death. In my heart I surrendered because I had absolutely tried everything this world could offer and I'm still waking up every morning, disappointed that I'm still breathing; so now what?
And usually about this time is when I come undone in emotions and tears and just ugly cry my way to sleep; but I didn't. I felt peace. Peace that I was striving and yearning for my entire life; peace that I had never felt and could never replicate by any other means. I had peace for the first time since my earliest memory. And it held me together like I wasn't a heap of broken pieces, but as if I was already whole.
It wasn't until it was time to leave that the peace left me and desperation and sadness swept over me. It was the same feeling I got when it was time to say goodbye to someone I loved, or when someone I loved passed away; because it felt the same to me. I didn't want to leave because I was desperately clinging to this place that I finally felt peace because I didn't understand what happened or where it came from.
A friend of mine asked me prior to that, if I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and I agreed without hesitation, but I didn't really fully grasp what the meant.
I remember dragging my feet and wanting to hit traffic so the ride was a bit longer, but inevitably it was time for me to grab my things and take it back to my apartment. I remember staying out in the hallway for a bit longer than necessary because I was so afraid to go in. I didn't want the depression to come back and grip me and take control of my life anymore.
I went in and immediately, I fell to the floor and started sobbing and shaking uncontrollably. My whole body went into convulsions and I had no idea what was even going on hah. But I remember receiving a vision with full understanding. I never heard a voice, or saw Jesus, or anything like that. I just saw images and knew in my heart what they meant:
I just saw me (still through my eyes, but with a higher perspective), I saw my life being replayed back to me. I saw the moments I thought I was ready to give up on life, yet everything always seemed to turn out okay (I always thought it was just luck or good karma) but God showed it was Him. I saw the best moments, my life's highlights, the ones where I truly loved who I was because in those moments I had no limits to what I would do for people; strangers or not. God showed me that was also Him. He showed me that was who He created me to be; and that is who He sees me as.
I remember I would hate to reflect or look back at my life. I never ever kept anything sentimental; pictures, birthday cards, gifts, family heirlooms, I got rid of all of it; because it always hurt too much to look back. I was progressively getting deeper and deeper into depression, and looking back just reminded me of when life was better, and how bad it was at that time. But I never forgot the memories. I never forgot the hardest times, or the best times, they were always engraved in my heart and I hated it.
So when the Holy Spirit took me through them, and showed them to me from His perspective; that was everything. And I can say now confidently that I died. It overwhelmed me with so much love, that I died to so many aspects of my old self. I died to depression. I died to feeling like I wasn't worth anything. I died to not wanting to live. I died to wanting to hide and in my shame. I died to lying. I died to manipulation. I died to running. I died to the fear or love. I died to being in the hands of the enemy. I died and was reborn in love.
I say all this say that one Scripture verse changed my entire life. Imagine what the whole Bible can do.
- Challenge -
What was the Scripture(s) that changed your life? Write it down and reflect what it meant to you the first time you heard it. Even if it's not as whatever you consider mine to be. Every testimony and perspective in Truth is valuable and beautiful.
Taking the time to reflect on the beginning can sometimes grant us clarity in the moments we're in right now. It can also help us recall and interpret things differently, now that we've grown further in our faith.
- Closing Prayer -
Father God, a thousand poems and prayers of praise wouldn't be enough to measure up to what was done for me. You have adopted me into Your family, not from the time You saved me but from before the time I came into this world. Lord God, You had a plan for me before the world even knew of me. Father God, You have been a Father to me, a Teacher to me, and everything I've needed from the beginning of my life. You saved me from darkness, and saw light and redemption in me when I all I saw was ashes and a grave. Lord God, You pulled me out and gave me eyes to see and ears to hear, so that I could finally come home and know You.
Lord God, You are more to me than just what I can gain; because what's already been done for me is enough to last me the rest of this life. Father God, fill me with Your Holy Spirit, in every area of my life I surrender it to Your will so that I may be freely and completely Yours, to carry out Your will and share in Your divine nature. Lord God, help me see with each waking day, more of who You created me to be, as I learn about You; because You created me to be in Your image.
Lord God, may my life be pleasing to You, as You look at me with love and compassion; may my life be filled with mercy for others, love for others, abounding grace for others, compassion for others, as I grow to see them the way You do. I pray for a heart like Yours that is in complete alignment with Your will. I pray to know You more deeply and intimately with each passing moment. I pray for my thoughts to be like Your thoughts, and my ways to be like Your ways, as I die to self with each passing moment.
Lord God, I give You all of me, and I receive all of You. May every single child of God come to receive revelation of who You are and Your love, Father God. May every preacher, teacher, pastor, and leader receive revelation of Your love and Your righteousness and of the fear of the Lord, that produces Kingdom wisdom. Lord God, may we all receive Your love and peace and grace that we may spread it around and share Your word and goodness with all those who will listen.
In Jesus' name. Amen.