Thursday, May 19, 2011
Romans 3:22 “Righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”
I can count on my fingers the number of times God has spoken to me. Now, I realize (as Pastor Bob preached) that we encounter God often - in His word, through others, in the details of every day life, and by the Holy Spirit’s revelation (when we are attentive). But what I refer to here is something different. I am talking about God’s clear, incisive voice spoken directly to the heart. There is nothing lost in translation. It interrupts erroneous thoughts, and hits its mark bulls eye. It meets us exactly where we are, stops us in our tracks, and we are changed forever by it.
This morning, I recalled one of those such times. I was a new Christian, with a 3 year old daughter. Although I was a believer, I knew almost nothing about the Savior I trusted. My church background was rule-based and spotty (at best), so I was starved for biblical nourishment and Christian fellowship. A preschool mom had told me about AWANA at her little “country church”. “Come on down”, she said, “You’ll love it!” I jumped at this, knowing that it was just what my daughter (and I) desperately needed. Maybe I could learn something too? Perhaps I could even answer some of her questions one day!
So faithfully every Sunday evening, we came to AWANA. And we studied the simple verses together. During the meetings, I would wait in the car with my windows rolled down and take in the beautiful praise music that wafted across the parking lot. Oh, how I longed to join this amazing group of godly people! But deep down, I felt inadequate. These people carried well worn Bibles, and practically glowed with goodness! Who did I think I was to count myself among them? After all, my entire knowledge of the Bible consisted of 5-word verses printed up for a 3 year old.
Here I was one evening, sitting in my car. I cried as I listened to the magnificent lyrics of a hymn I’d never heard before, “How Great Thou Art”. Again I felt the tug at my heart to go join the service. If I could become a fly, I’d have buzzed in a side door and landed on the wall! I prayed, “Jesus, I am not fit to be among these righteous people. I have done terrible things. I know nothing about your Book. I am not worthy.” STOP. My thoughts were interrupted! Jesus spoke to me. His words were some I’ll never forget: It is I who makes you worthy. I knew immediately that this was from above. It was perfect truth, and there was no arguing it. I lifted my chin and puffy eyes (remember the hymn?), and walked right in through the front doors.
A lot has changed since then. That little “country church” is now a sprawling building on Linton Hall road! And as a Sunday school teacher, I find myself answering kid’s questions all morning long (imagine that!) Every week I enter its doors, with my head held high, knowing the truth that changed me forever. None of us are worthy to enter into God’s presence. Jesus alone makes us worthy. Not the Bible verses we can quote, or the deeds we’ve done/not done, or the hymns we grew up on or didn’t. Jesus spoke that day and I heard Him. “It is I who makes you worthy.” With truth like that, it’s undeniably God.