Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Jesus Ain't A Quitter

Like no other time in my Faith, I was intensely focused on the Kingdom. I was digging into the Word with passion. Instead of watching Sportscenter first thing in the morning, I was reading my Bible. Instead of watching cartoon network after work, I was marking up the margins of my bible with new insights. I dusted off the concordance and was "discovering" answers to questions I had noted in the columns years before. I was memorizing Scripture and singing Praise and Worship as I was banging around the house, even at work. I would even break out a song of my own while on the job or in the grocery store. Sometimes His love would be so great I would sing in Tongues. (I imagine this might have been odd to those who didn't know me, maybe even to those who did?) I was sharing Jesus with people, I was even praying for co workers right the spot. I was soaring! I was strong!

Man, it is easy to praise Him when things are going great.

During this time of strength, I made a few choices that would impact my life. I did not enter into these decisions lightly. I prayed about each one, I sought the advice of friends who knew me well enough to speak honestly with me. I confirmed my decisions with Scripture. I was confidant that I was in "God's will."
And right now, I can strongly say that some of those decisions that I had made were my will!
It sucks having to admit that. I hurts even more as I am still digging out from some of the decisions I made. Periodically, I have had to stop myself from thinking about "what if", "I coulda" or "I shoulda".

Coulda? Shoulda? DIDN'T!

If I am honest with myself and with Jesus, during a period of great strength I made poor choices. But it was a season of pain and suffering that has strengthened my Faith and character the most. It is this time in my Faith that I want to testify to His Victory.

I went to church on one Sunday morning with my son Logan. That actually was a huge first step for me, because I was so upset with God that I didn't want to waste my time at another Sunday "dis-service". Then I got lost looking for the church I wanted to visit. Like a majority of churches, 10:00 a.m. is the required start time, so with time running out, I gave up searching for that church. Instead, I pulled into a church that I had attended previously, many years ago when they held Saturday night services but no longer did. (yeah, that was pretty cool and convenient being able to fellowship on a Saturday night).

By this time I was irritable and I imagine it showed on my face because, the greeters and ushers let me walk by without the usual questions of "Is this your first time here?" "What's your name?" "Do you have our visitors packet?"

When worship began, I was tossing around all sorts of criticisms in my mind. As usual the sound was at concert level and the worship team wasn't leading the body in worship, but more so they were performing for the congregation. Then, after one song, the band stopped playing and announcements were given and the beggar's pots, errrr, collection baskets were passed around. It's interesting to me how often Worship of Jesus will get interrupted for announcements, collections, introductions and such, but I have yet to see a sermon interrupted for the same tasks.

By this time I was wanting to split! But I felt like Holy Spirit was keeping me there. So as I am singing through a clenched jaw, I become overwhelmed with all the mistakes I had made that led me to this time of darkness. I wanted to bolt out of there so bad, but I stayed. I would like to say that is was me that made the decision to stick it out, but I know that it was His strength that enabled me to "endure". And then the song Blessed Be Your Name appeared on the overhead screen. It could only be His Spirit deep inside that led me to I say to myself, "He is worthy of my praise! I am gonna praise God!"

It aint easy blessing Jesus when life sucks!

But it is so much easier to bless Him in difficult times,
than trying to slug through the slop and slime of life without Him!

I had lived almost a decade in my Faith being selfish, inconsiderate and angry with God in tough times. I spewed horrible things to a loving Dad that still bring shame to me when I recall those moments. More than once, I told Jesus "I Quit" when things weren't going my way. During one of my 'tantrums' I went so far as to call my friend and Spiritual Dad and tell him I wanted nothing more to do with being a Christian.

Now, I didn't doubt the confession of my mouth unto Salvation. I am not saying that my walk was a waste of my time. What I am saying is that this lesson took way too long for me to learn. On that Sunday, I finally declared Jesus is Lord, no matter how I felt about my situation, my life or my relationship with Him. I made up my heart to Praise God because He is God, not because I was happy. I also learned the difference between being happy and having Joy. Happiness is based upon my surroundings; whereas Joy comes from within. A Joy that can overcome my emotions and my negativity can only come from an Eternal, loving God, that gave His Son to pay the price for all my selfishness. I know it was Jesus who never gave up on me even when I wanted nothing to do with Him. Even when I quit on Jesus, He didnt quit on me!
Thank God Jesus aint a quitter!

If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
2 Timothy 2:13


Tony C said...


God has blessed me today through your story. I wish I had conveyed more clearly in my testimonal post the difference in being happy in my life and being joyful. Beautifully said brother!

Now if we can just bring Johndow to Jesus...

David said...

Amazing - thanks for sharing. Some days I think Christians want life to be all wrapped up like a nice little box of candy. We get the Hallmark card sermons and yest, we struggle with faith, with self, with sin...

Thank God for His faithfulness, His love and His discipline.

And WHEN are churches going to teach us to be disciples instead of egomaniacs on a platform and spectators before the platform?

Awesome! Thanks for your friendship.

David said...

@Tony - Maybe by friday!

photogr said...

We are all only human with imprefections and sin. Only through Gods grace can we be as Jesus but we have to work at it every day and not let the temptations of the evil demons wreck it for us.

"And WHEN are churches going to teach us to be disciples instead of egomaniacs on a platform and spectators before the platform?"

That question is easy. When we swallow our pride and become humble servants to the Lord.

I just picked up a book by Jack Deere called " Surprised by the Power of the Spirit". A former Theology Professor at a Theology seminar in Texas. Quite an interesting book with plenty of answers.

Don't worry about David. I think his already there.

David said...

@Photogr - Jack Deere is excellent - a Baptist that got the other shoe so-to-speak.

He is the one that said, "We don't preach at problems, we hear God for what to preach, and preach that."