TITLE: The Three C's
By Crystal Beavin
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C's are not considered good grades in school. We're suppose to make A's and B's. Remember how you felt when you made a C versus an A or B? You may have felt bad about yourself or that you didn't measure up to the other students in the class.
I would like to share three C's with you that will make you feel better than you have ever felt before.
I grew up in a small rural town in Maryland. My family was not actively involved in a church, but my parents made sure my siblings and I knew about God. They would talk about Him while we were at home and always mentioned that Jesus is God's Son.
When by brother, Dennis, who is five years older than I am, was fourteen he made a decision to follow Jesus Christ. I immediately saw changes in him. Three things in particular was the joy he seemed to now have, he started reading his Bible and going to church because he wanted to and not because he had to. Dennis was always a loving person, but now he seemed to speak with a tenderness I never noticed before. There was something definitely different about him and it was good.
Have you ever noticed that about someone you knew who became a Christian and his life really changed?
That's my first C. Curious.
My brother invited me to church with him many times and I went with him on occasion. But several years after my brother became a Christian I started regularly attending a small country church that was in walking distance from my house. I got involved in the youth group and soon became friends with several of the families there. At this point I was very curious about God and was finding my heart drawn to Jesus. I attended that church for three years until one day I was there on a Sunday morning and the pastor of the church came up to me to ask me if I was a new member. This was upsetting to me because the church was very small with about only 50 - 100 members. I was hurt that this pastor never noticed me after all these years so I decided that was enough church for me. After that disappointment, I didn't really think about God that much anymore until I was a senior in high school.
Have you ever had what you would consider a "bad church experience?"
Some of you who were not good students in school may be able to identify with me here. I did not like school and I couldn't wait to get finished with it. I spent the first part of my senior year goofing off with my friends and doing the bare minimum in my school work. When the second half of the year started three of my teachers approached me about my grades and told me that I needed to pull my grades up quickly if I wanted to graduate with my class or else I would have to take summer school in order to get my diploma. That was all I needed to hear to move me into action. I started studying and trying my best in those three subjects. I was able to pull my grades up a lot, but not enough. My teachers told me that there was a good chance I would not pass the 12th grade. I was very depressed and upset and was full of regret for the lazy attitude I had at the beginning of the school year.
As graduation day drew closer I became more anxious about this. One night, while I sat up in bed, while everyone else in house was sleeping, I remembered something my mother had told me. She said that God listens to our prayers and He is with us all the time. I prayed a humble prayer that night. I asked God to forgive me for my bad attitude toward school and for not trying my best. I told him I knew I had to go to summer school and I promised to work hard at it. I told him I knew I deserved not to graduate. It was during that prayer that I completely accepted the situation.
The next day when I went to school, I was so surprised when all three of my teachers, one by one, kept me after class to tell me that they were going to pass me because they saw how hard I have been trying. At the end of the day, I knew I was going to be graduating with my class!
God had heard my prayer and amazed me by the way he intervened on my behalf. I still know today that I did not deserve to graduate, but I will always be thankful to God for how He made Himself real to me that day. At this point I intellectually knew who God was and that He had been good to me, but I had not yet learned to trust Him with my heart.
After graduation, I worked temporary work for about three years. It was during one of these temporary jobs that I was offered a full time position at an insurance company. I enjoyed working there and it was at this job that I found myself surrounded by committed Christians. Gradually, I became best friends with a young woman there. Lisa was a sweet girl and seemed to be at peace with herself. She seemed to have genuine happiness that I admired. Knowing that she was a Christian I began asking her questions about her faith. She devoted hours of her time explaining the Christian faith to me in a way that was clear to understand. Watching her day by day at work, along with my other co-workers, convinced me that they had something worth listening to.
That's my second C. Convinced.
One night Lisa and I were sitting in her car I began asking her questions regarding what it meant to be a Christian, how can I know that God really loves me. She explained to me that we have all sinned, we've all done things that are wrong in God's eyes. Since God cannot tolerate sin He sent His Son, Jesus, to pay for our sins by dying on the cross. She explained to me that this was the ultimate demonstration of His love for me. She showed me clearly in the Bible, at John 3:16, that God loved me so much that He sent His only Son and if I believe in Him I would not die but live with Him forever.
I admitted to Lisa that I was in need of a Savior. She told me that all I needed to do was accept God's offer of salvation by putting my trust in Jesus. She convinced me that God loved me and He wanted me to embrace His free gift. That night, I thought intently about the things she said. The next morning I trusted Christ to take away my sin and give me a new life. I was finally convinced a relationshipwith Jesus was what I needed.
Lisa was, and still is, a wonderful friend. She was there for me when I had a lot of questions and gently explained to me the things I needed to hear.
Has anyone been that kind of friend to you?
After I became a Christian I had such a strong desire to know more about God. I started reading the Bible everyday and asking Lisa more and more questions. She graciously answered each one of them. I wanted to grow in my faith, but still was living the same way I always had. I was convinced, but not yet committed.
During this time I was involved in a serious relationship with my boyfriend, who is now my husband. We were planning to be married later that year. However, I got pregnant so we decided to get married sooner.
My pregnancy left me feeling depressed and fearful. This has been a typical response for me when I feel I've messed up big time. Now that I was a Christian, I wanted to live right and please God. But, here I was pregnant and I felt as though God was angry with me and I struggled with feelings of overwhelming guilt. These feelings of guilt affected my relationship with God because I couldn't pray. I felt as though God didn't want to hear from me anymore. In my eyes, my sin was just too big. I suffered with these feelings for four months. Finally one night, I began sharing my feelings with Dennis' wife, Nancy. She told me about how the Bible said that God forgives me for all my sins, even the ones that I commit after I become a Christian. She prayed with me that night and for the first time I felt forgiven. I also forgave myself. Since then I've come to learn that Jesus wasn't angry at me because I sinned. He understands everything about me. He knows all my weaknesses and my strengths. I spent four months in misery because I thought I had to live a sinless life in order to earn God's approval. However, I was forgiven all the time, even though I didn't feel like it.
The Bible says in Colossians 2:13-14...
You were at one time spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were Gentiles without the Law. But God has now brought you to life with Christ. God forgave us all our sins; He cancelled the unfavorable record of our debts with its binding rules and did away with it completely by nailing it to the cross.
We couldn't live a sinless life before accepting Christ so why should we think we can do so afterwards?
Our sin nature is never going to go away. It's not going to get better. As we become more humble and dependent on Christ, He helps us to resist our sin nature.
That brings me to my third C. Committed.
Today, I have come from being a casual Christian, one who took my faith lightly, to someone who is now deeply committed to my relationship with God. I've learned that being committed means more than just going to church on Sunday morning. It means being devoted to God everyday of my life and doing the right thing, even when no one else sees it. It means leaving behind the desire to be seen by men and living for an audience of One. It means to be a woman who prays and studies the Bible for myself.
Being committed has meant being a servant to my family, knowing that I am pleasing God even in the mundane things of life. It's knowing that God sees everything and He cares about everything I do. It means persevering even when I'm weary and all I want to do is rest. I have a strong commitment to love and teach my children about Jesus and the principles in the Bible. Do I always do everything right? No. But my desire is to keep living my life for God, even through my many weaknesses and even though I sometimes experience disappointments.
Becoming a committed Christian has also meant leaving the comfort of my home and going to help a friend, a neighbor or someone in the community when they have a need. It has meant reaching out to others and doing what I can do to be a helper to them. It means being a blessing to someone else as God gives me the opportunities.
I have come from doing things just because God commands it to someone who now does things because I love Him and I want to give back to the Lord for all He has done for me.
Being committed has meant being a woman of integrity and being steadfast in my walk with Christ, even when the temptation is to take the easier road. It means to continually draw near to God and allow Him to change me where I need to be changed. It has meant learning how to love others and accept the love the Lord has for me.
These three C's has changed my life forever. When I was CURIOUS about God, He put me in a place where I would learn about Him. This truth CONVINCED me. And as I experienced God's love He taught me what it means to be COMMITTED.
I would like to encourage you to think about these three C's. They are the best C's to have. If you are curious about the things of God as I was, don't just ignore it, talk to God about it. The Bible says that if we seek God, we will find Him. The curiosity you have is God pursuing you. He loves you more than you could ever imagine. Why not let God convince you that He is real and that He cares about you. All you have to do is accept His free gift of salvation and trust in His Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only way to our Heavenly Father.
Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me." ~ Jesus Christ (John 14:6 NLT)
Of all the things in this world calling out for our attention, Jesus is the one to be committed to.
I have discovered that the more I seek Him, the more I love Him. The more that I love Him, the more committed I am to Him and His ways.
Christianity is all about the heart. There is nothing in our hearts that God doesn't already know. Why not trust Christ with your heart today? He wants you to.
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