By Benjamin H. Liles
I think it can be clearly seen I've fallen hard for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Ever since my health scare and the fact my gallbladder HAD to come out, I've never been so razor sharp focused in all my life.
Obviously, I thought Jesus Christ was the center of my life, but now that I have a totally different view altogether. What do I mean by that?
Before my surgery to have my gallbladder removed I would take days and weeks to put up a post about my faith and walk with Christ. Now, when I wake up in the morning, He's the first One I turn to. It's like this: you marry your spouse, and they are your best friend. Over time you do small things that aren't indicative you have a strong relationship.
For me, it's a lot like that. I practically had to lose "something" to regain a place of security, a place where peace reigns. So, beginning there, I want to reflect on God's loving touch in my life. For starters I want to thank Him for this amazing, loving wife I have. She is so attentive, so comforting, and encouraging to me, I could have lost a good woman as I wasn't seeing her as the "treasure" she is to and for me. Sometimes we take for granted those things and people we think we truly love. Not any more for me.
As a young man I didn't really honor my parents. I'm not saying I can do all God's commandments. Only One can and did, and He suffered and gave His life for all. I may have listened to my parents over the years, but when you lie to them constantly, things can and do get nasty. Mom, dad, if you read this--I'm sorry for not always relying on you guys for what you tried teaching me. I love you guys!
When you have a glimpse of God, and yet do nothing to foster that relationship with Him things can go sour rather quickly. I recall this kid who with his father put together a telescope, looking up at the night with him, and just thought, "There has to be a God!" For a kid to think that at around five or six years old is astonishing, and yet I turned my back on Him. I did this a lot in my life, trust me.
Yet, through it all, through both good times and bad, He has kept His touch on me. It truly took that night last Tuesday to get my attention where it needs me. God didn't give me His favor because I'm intelligent. He didn't shower me with a gift because I deserved it either. No, I had to become like that tax collector who at the Temple floors, beat his chest crying out, "O God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" (Luke 18:13, New Living Translation).
I never want to brow beat anyone to seeing things the way I do; far from it, actually. I just want you to make an informed decision, rather than going the long road as I did. But then again, we all earn at our own pace. For some the path will be long. Jesus Christ said this about the two paths, "How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it" (Matthew 7:14, Holman Christian Standard). I hope you caught it, He uses the words, "narrow, difficult."
In the Greek, the word which we get "narrow," actually means "strait." It's almost as if Jesus Christ is saying, "Going this way is small." The other word, which is "difficult," actually means "pressed in upon, having trouble." So, the idea Jesus is giving us in terms of "taking the narrow road," He's saying, "This road is never easy; it has its troubles, and it's small, but it leads to life!"
Conversely, He also says this later in the same book, "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matthew 10:39; 16:25, Berean Study). He says it twice to show us how important a godly life truly is. I almost missed this point, and consequently didn't make it into His loving arms. And that leads me to say this--when you want to belong to God, and you're tired of doing things without Him, we can have His power and strength in our lives.
Therefore, when I say I was about to go without His loving touch, I mean that I would not have been found in heaven. I was going to go to Hell. If you want a working definition of Hell without the aid of a dictionary, it is this: eternal separation from God, where the worm never dies, and a stench rises from the depths. It's no joke, guys. I want you that aware of the decisions and choices you make.
His loving touch is that "the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives" (Hebrews 12:6, King James 2000). To finalize this, He loves everyone He creates. Some will reject Him because they are either ignorant, or they refuse to see Him as I do now. They don't see God being fair, or even just for that matter. But a just God rewards each man according to his faith. My faith is in the One, Jesus Christ, who died in my place for me. He gave up His life, dying on Calvary's Cross, was buried, and on the third day rose again! He is definitely the One I call Lord and Savior, because He defeated death, and He is able to receive us into heaven. God bless you all, and I pray this finds you will in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.