To live is Christ, To die is gain
written by: Manuel Ayuso Jr
There will always be a reason why in your walk of Faith you will feel as if you are stuck in a situation that you cannot seem to get out of. Often we place our Faith in something or someone that is not there when your stuck. Like that new friend you just recently met or maybe the new job you placed your hopes in for a better future. Regardless of what exactly it may be, somehow you've allowed it to take the place of God in your life & made it the God of your life. In this short summary of my personal testimony, I just want to share what exactly happened in my life that made me understand what it means to "Live is Christ & to Die is gain".
I became a believer & follower of Jesus Christ in Nov.2009, I personally didn't understand what Gods love truly meant in my life until about mid-year 2011. Yes I have accepted Christ as my Savior, I did live it out and learned how to follow and live for Christ but I was never taught how to love God. I did talk about Gods love and I can remember me saying I loved Him but it took me sometime in this walk of Faith to truly understand what that meant. Not only for me but how He truly loves me & why He loves me. There came a point in my life towards the end of that year where I felt as if God were trying to just pull me closer to Him with his love. Everyone around me could see the struggles I was facing, the people closest to me knew exactly what had been going on. Throughout it all, the people around me would always speak about Gods love & regardless of how stuck I felt, God was faithful enough that He was still there. That He did not leave me nor forsake me & with his great mercy and unconditional love he still loved me.
God really took full control of my heart and life at the end of that year, it's something as a believer to look forward to. The day when you truly understand why God loves you, and how He loves you & why He loves you. I started to feel as if I were invisible due to the great love I felt from God, as if nothing or no one can hurt me or steal my joy. I was just baptize, the old me was dead and now I am a new creation. Everything I was learning in scripture because God allowed me to I was able live it out. But then came the summer of 2012, the summer where from there I am able to write now in the summer of 2014. By the grace of God, with His great love that has guided me throughout the years, I started to experience a great shift in the testing of my Faith. As if I were placed in the Lions den by myself and somehow I didn't even feel Gods presence there to keep me from being devoured.
While being in that den, feeling alone, surrounded & looking for a way out, I just could not find an exit. Was I searching hard enough? Was I even searching? I asked myself that question for days, weeks & even months. I thought well maybe I'm just suppose to be here because it is Gods will or maybe that's it, Gods had enough of me. But never did that thought live out to be, as if God had forsaken me. Never will He leave me nor forsake me, because that was a promise he made to me years back when we first met. It's funny to think about it now, how immature I was in thinking that God left me there in that den without any hope. How little Faith I had, even the word little is big because I don't believe I had any atleast the size of a mustard seed.
But, there was the light, I saw a crack against the walls of me being stuck in that den & I started heading towards it. Sure it was tough to get through the trials & roadblocks that were in front of me but did that stop God from clearing the way? No it didn't, if anything somehow in the mist of that place I was in, I felt him draw closer to me as I was drawing near to him. Like it says in James 4:7-8, I was able to live that out and by the grace of God I am here writing this today. Because of His mercy & great love towards me I am able to understand what is written in Philippians 1:21 and by no means do I want to receive any Glory of what happen, but may all the Glory and Honor be to God.
You see in life, we face many trials, we are faced with situations that are going to test our Faith but lets not allow us to lose our Faith. Yet in the mist of it all, fix your eyes on Christ, the author and perfecter of our Faith and allow Him to take full control of what is going on around us. Everyday, we will face a new task, a new test that will better our Faith, so take that as a great sign of Gods love for you. God perfecting your Faith to see if you truly love Him as you claim you do. Don't mistaken it as a punishment but as a father who disciplines His children that He loves because He simply loves you. As it is written in John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." And in verse 14 it follows with, "you are my friends if you do what I command". Thats true love written there in those two verses alone & yet we still struggle with the question of how & why does God love us.
If there's anything that I want you to remember from everything that I wrote it's this, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, body and soul. Just love God and accept His love which is freely and unconditionally given to us. Deny yourself, your ideas, your ways and just die to it all and with that act alone you will rise up as Christ did and you will live. Remember, we will meet many people in our life that say they "love you" but there is only One who truly does, His name is Jesus Christ.
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