For the First Time Ever

Last week, my little sister said to me, "Did you know Anika got saved?!"  I was a little taken back by the question! Anika - saved? I thought she was already!

Anika has been a long time friend and member of our church and has joined us for many Scripture Memory Challenges and other activities, but like so many others who appear to be living their lives for the Lord, she had not truly repented of her sin and come to know Christ as her Savior personally.

As I read through her testimony, I was so happy for her and just couldn't wait to share with all of you what she had to say. I cannot stress enough the importance of taking the time to examine yourself and discerning if the fruit in your life is consistent with what the Scriptures says will be present in the life of a genuine, born-again believer

And by fruit, I don't mean going to church. I don't mean reading your Bible, memorizing Scripture, or even having been baptized. Anika had done all of these things, but none of them saved her. Many will stand before God on Judgement Day saying, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" Note how it is the law of God that convicts Anika, and look at the changes that she sees in her life now that she is a Christian:

I grew up in a Christian family and always attended church, Sunday School, VBS, and Bible camp faithfully. I professed Christ in my pre-teens and even taught Sunday School and counseled Bible Camp. But God was something I took out only when it was fitting to my plan. Church was something I did to please my family and because it's all I knew, it's what I did.

Fast forward through my teen years, which were filled with a lot of rebellion and fake repentance that only appeared when I was caught. For awhile now I had really been doubting, not whether God is faithful to save a person, but whether or not I ever genuinely humbled myself before Him and asked him to be Lord of my life, and to save me from my sin.

{I found in the Bible . . . what your life will look like if you are saved--not how it looks to others,
 or how you can pretend it looks to you, but how God looks at the heart}

I found in the Bible where it talks about what your life will look like if you are saved--not how it looks to others, or how you can pretend it looks to you, but how God looks at the heart. Instead of dealing with this important topic, I proudly decided to try to "fix myself" without help. (Which, by the way, is entirely pointless.) I did not yet realize what Romans 10:4 was talking about when it says, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes."

One night at church Eric was preaching on how God keeps a promise and how we must live up to the law to please God. But since that's impossible, that is why Christ died for us. Through His perfect life, He completely fulfilled the law; and through His resurrection, which we get to celebrate today, He assures our justification (Romans 4:25).

Galations 3:21-24 says, "Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe...therefore the law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith." I realized then, that I had been trying to fulfill the law all on my own.

{I got home and sat in my car knowing
if I went inside I would once again shove this aside 
and not do anything}

I drove home that night under a large amount of conviction. I got home and sat in my car knowing if I went inside I would once again shove this aside and not do anything.

I finally decided to call Mel who came over and went through many passages of Scripture with me. I realized my need for genuine salvation and saw what a wicked sinner I am and how holy God is. We knelt by my bed and for the first time ever I humbled myself before God and asked Him to forgive me of my sins. January 8th, 2012 was my day of salvation.

{I want to obey the commands of Christ 
not because it will please my family 
or friends or church, 
but because it pleases God}

I can't begin to describe the changes God has made in me which He has promised and also commanded in scripture. For the first time ever I have a real love for God's Word (1 Peter 2:1-3). Others have told me of growth they've seen in me too (Ephesians 4:12-16). I want to obey the commands of Christ not because it will please my family or friends or church, but because it pleases God (1 John 2:3-6). I understand more of the Bible than I ever have been able to in the past, and I really hate my sin (Romans 7:14-25).

I am so thankful for the ways God is working in my life now. I don't know what plans He has for me, but I know they are perfect. I want to live my life to constantly bring Him glory for all the amazing things He has done. As it says in 1 Samuel 12:24, "Only fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you."