Many of you know this already, but on December 12, 2000, everything changed for me. I was a freshman at the College of Charleston and I was living a very empty life. I thought life was all about me and what I could get from others. I had no sense of higher purpose and didn’t have any kind of beliefs to speak of. I had a deep, internal sense that there had to be more to life than what meets the eye, but that was about it.
That night, I had a dream that would forever alter the trajectory of my existence. In the dream, I was a dark soul descending into a dark chasm. In front me was an expanse of light more brilliant and brighter than I could possibly put into words. Ascending into that light were huge, glorious faces looking down at me as I descended away from them into the blackness. One of the glorious faces was my friend and roommate Ashwin, who was a Christian. I woke up from the dream knowing that if I died in that moment, I was not going to heaven. I went into Ashwin’s room at about midnight and communicated to him that I knew I wasn’t straight with God. He proceeded to lead me in a prayer where I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I asked him to come into my heart to be my Lord and Savior. I was immediately filled with a presence that I had not known before and I knew that life would never be the same again. Ashwin let me read his Bible that night and I read it for about 3 hours. The words seemed to be on fire and felt intensely personal. I woke up that next morning and could still feel the glow I had felt the night before. A new journey had just begun.
As of yesterday, it’s been 16 years since that night and journey is definitely the right word for it. I’m not going to even attempt to encapsulate all that I have experienced and learned in a single blog post, but I do want to share a couple of the insights I’ve gained that may be helpful to you.
- We are 3 part beings
We have a spirit, a soul (the mind, will and emotions) and a body. Why is this relevant? Because it’s possible for something to change in your spirit and for your soul and body to not catch up right away. The night of December 12th, I believe my spirit was renewed and that cannot change. That was permanent. In Romans chapter 8, verse 10, the apostle Paul said, “But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.” When someone unites their life to Christ, a permanent change takes place and that is what is meant when someone is “born again.” That being said, we still have the mind, the will and the emotions to contend with. Those remained largely unaltered in me and the process of sanctification began. That is the process I will be in until I’m room temperature. The process by which believers partner with God in the constant renewal of the soul into the image of Christ.
This process is far more arduous and difficult than I could ever have imagined. There are deep, unalterable truths that I believe to the core of my being and yet, I often find my mind and will fighting against the very beliefs I would die to defend. There is no question about it, a spiritual war takes place all around us and in us. To the dismay of many, ignorance and/or disregard of this war does not profit anyone in the least…it only makes us more vulnerable.
2. Jesus is the constant anchor of my soul
In reference to Jesus, the author of Hebrews says in verse 19, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain…” When I can lean on my own understanding, I do. I like to break things down into neat little boxes and generally have life figured out. But how many of you know that you only need to be alive for a day to realize that life cannot be figured out? The ups and downs I’ve had over the years are beyond my ability to comprehend and put into words. The trials have been, at times, next to unbearable. What those trials have taught me however, is that there is a presence in me that is greater than this world. The night of December 12th, 2000, I asked Jesus Christ to come into my heart. I realize there are many different views as to who Jesus is, but I firmly believe that he is the Son of God and the only path to salvation. I believe he lived a sinless life, was crucified and raised from the dead on the 3rd day. I believe he overcame death, hell and all the powers of darkness. His presence in the human soul brings resurrection. It’s because of his presence in my heart that I’ve been able to stand my ground. I’m all about determination and willpower, but human beings were not meant to do life apart from their Creator. That is why Jesus came. He came to reconcile man to God because of the presence of sin and his great love for us. It is only as we unite our lives with Jesus that we experience the union with God that he came to usher into the human race.
The journey has been hard and rewarding…simple, but profoundly complicated….difficult and yet, triumphant. I have no idea what the future holds and I know it may sound cliche, but I know who holds the future. I still have plenty of rough edges and my quest for truth is certainly not over. I encounter situations, circumstances and dilemmas daily that continue to lead me back to the overwhelming conclusion that I don’t have things figured out. The one constant for me that has not and will not change however, is that Jesus is my Savior. He is my rock, my source, my supply, my peace, my anchor, my light and my everything. I look to him to lead me in ways that I can’t lead myself. He gets my anger, my fears, my worries and insecurities and he’s using them to weave together a tapestry that will bring honor to his name and light to others. My hope for you? That you would discover in Jesus what I’ve discovered. That he is the God-sent messenger to reconcile humanity to God.