There was a song that was popular around the time of my conversion. The title of it was, “Casual Christian,” sung by Eddie DeGarmo and Dana Keyes. I used to turn the stereo up loud as I belted out the melody to the Lord.
The chorus went like this…
“I don’t want to be,
I don’t want to be
A Casual Christian;
I don’t want to live,
I don’t want to live,
A lukewarm life…”
The words echoed the cry of my heart to the Lord. It was a way I could express my desire to be totally committed to Jesus in every area of my life. He heard my cry and began a work of love in me.
II Corinthians 5:15 says;
“And he died for all, so that those who live, might live no longer for themselves,
but for him who died and was raised for them.” (NRSV)
Learning to live effectively for Jesus is never easy. It means that I have to allow Him to burn off the dross of sin in my life. If I really want to be a vessel of honor – fit for the Master’s use - then I have to be willing to go through the refining fires. There would be many challenges ahead of me and it wasn’t long before the opportunities to grow began to surface.
I remember one day as I was driving down the highway, my thoughts wandered as I was rehearsing a previous conversation that I had with a friend of mine, concerning my husband.
“I don’t understand you at all,” Nancy said. “If that were my husband, he’d be out in the street. There is no way I could stay married to a guy like that!” And I don’t understand how you can either!”
“Lord,” I cried as tears welled up in my eyes, “How can I answer these people when whatever I say to them makes me sound like I’m out of my mind? Everyone I know seems to think I’m a complete idiot!”
Just as quickly as I asked the question, the Lord’s answer came into my heart in reply. I heard His familiar quiet voice say to me, “Some may call you crazy, but I call you faithful.”
I had to pull off unto the shoulder of the road as the tears began to freely flow. I carefully switched the gearshift to the park position and lowered my face into my cupped hands, sobbing uncontrollably. I allowed the Father’s words to soothe my heart for just a bit, and then I continued on my way home.
For several years my husband, Sal, had been fighting some intense inner battles. His behavior became increasingly abusive towards me until it became almost unbearable. I had thought about leaving him several times, but every time I’d get alone with God and ask Him if I should pack my bags, I always felt like His answer to me was, “No, wait on Me. Trust Me.” So, to the best of my ability, as He gave me strength, I did.
Time after time, I’d cry out to the Lord; time after time, His Word would stand out to me in my quiet times - words of comfort, understanding and love… words that encouraged me to not give up.
This one particular day, as I was pouring out my complaints to Jesus, He spoke something to my spirit that changed my life and marriage forever.
He said, “It is my desire that every abused child would know and experience My love. Sal has never known the love of a Father, and I want him to know that he is loved by Me.”
His words chiseled a chip off my shoulders that day as I submitted another layer of selfishness to the Potter’s Hand. As I wept in surrender and committed my walk a little deeper in Him… I gave my answer, “Here I am, Lord, send me.”
It has been a journey of several years, but today, Sal and I enjoy a blessed friendship and marriage because of the work Jesus has accomplished in me. He helped me to see his son, Sal, the way He sees him… with eyes of unconditional, unselfish love.
John the Baptist said it right when he proclaimed to the masses in John 3:30; “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (NASV)
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