Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Spiritual Birthday

Today is my birthday. My spiritual birthday. At the age of eight I "walked the aisle" in tears. I had heard a sermon on hell and definitely did not want to go there. I knew it was a place to be avoided at all cost. But for the next eight years I lived in fear that if I died I would not spend eternity in heaven with Christ. I would pray, "Jesus, if You're not in my heart, come and save me now." The fear never went away.

Then on March 11, 1991, at the age of sixteen, while driving from Memphis to Oklahoma City I confessed to my mother that I was overcome with fear over my standing with Christ. I told her that I couldn't remember my experience from when I was eight. If I could only have a time and place firm in my mind, then I would know for certain. That's when my mother told me that what 1 John 4:17-19 says.

"In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us."

I remember thinking two things. First, I realized that I hadn't been made perfect in love because what lived in my heart was fear and not confidence. So either I needed perfect love or the enemy was causing me to doubt. Second, I realized with clarity that my decision as an eight year old was made based on fear. That would never do because "he one who fears is not made perfect in love." And "we love because he first loved us." We don't love Christ simply to avoid hell. We love Him and have fellowship with Him. I told my mom that I would be quiet for a while because I wanted to ask Jesus in my heart. So in the back seat of our truck I asked Jesus to fill me with His perfect love.

After I said my prayer, I immediately looked at my watch. 11:35 PM on Wednesday, March 11, 1991. Since then I've doubted, but God took away the fear.

That's my testimony.