Is it my choice or His? The American Dream of Self-Sufficiency prompts me to take credit, and that might be somewhat true of life after, of the way I have ‘been’ since salvation struck me. But, self-evaluation confirms Biblical Truth: He gave first. He loved first. He sacrificed first. I was simply incapable of making the first move. Maybe that’s what really changes in those Jesus saves: the ability to choose the completely unselfish action.
I would really have to sit down and think about whether, in my past, I ever did anything of no perceived benefit to myself. I know some say that is the only human motivation – we do a thing because we get at the least a good feeling from it. But I look at the cross hanging on my wall, and really doubt that. Nothing could have been pleasant about that; even a masochist like me would not want to feel that pain.
No, I did not ‘seek’ Him – I desperately sought something to save me from myself, but I knew not what. Nor, at that moment, did I care. I had descended to a place of paralyzing despair, all thought and action unfruitful, even quitting had been unproductive. I slumped, weighted and spiralling downward by crushing waves of … just absolute readiness to cease, but complete inability to do anything. I imagine I could have sat there until I perished, but, instead, Jesus leaned down from that cross, lifted me up, and touched my very heart, wiping it clean, and sparking new life – a new desire for life – in me. So, I know that I am not my own. And, no matter how strong the temptations or doubts, I am never free of that awareness.
It’s this new sense of ‘never being free’ of Him that I write about. When it’s phrased like that, it sounds like a bad thing. A thing to dread. Sometimes, reminiscing about my past ‘fun-centered’ existing, I can tend towards resentment – until I remember where living that life left me: literally hanging. The desires I pursued then were unfulfillable. I know that now. But Christ overflows, full of blessing now and nothing but promise (of all good stuff) to come.
Is it just an appreciation for the sacrifice someone else has made for me? Certainly, becoming a parent gave me an understanding of my parents and their sacrifices for us kids. Or the 12 straight hours the heart surgeon gave. Or the full measure of some. But there’s something more about Jesus. To the death, yes. For all of us, incredibly. To accept the punishment for the entirety of evil, amazing!
Periodically, someone posts a “Would/could you do this for that” meme: stay in a derelict and remote cabin with all the necessities but no electricity or internet for a month for $100,000. A posh house but no blogging or football for a year for $1,000,000. These pale in comparison to what Jesus took on. Dying in agony, convicted and despised, suffering divine wrath, to save everyone else? Would I be willing to even try?
Today, I got up to try my little bit. I understand now how my Heavenly Father’s ever-open arms were always waiting for my return. They are a constant welcome relief. I welcome His welcome. And I am changed.