Admitting you’re a failure who desperately needs Jesus and becoming born again isn’t instantaneous, just like getting born the first time around. Sure, there is a “moment” when a baby is born—that’s what we put on a birth certificate, after all, and I can tell you the date when I consider that I was truly “saved” (September 5, 1978), but something was going on before that in both cases.
Prior to a baby coming into the world, he or she is hidden in the dark recesses of a mother, starting from a sperm and egg that find each other to become a clump of cells, then later an embryo that looks more like a fish than a person, and, eventually, a brand new baby.
I had a long spiritual gestation period myself, and a lot of spiritual seed came my way before (as the King James Bible puts it) “finding purchase” in the hard ground of my heart. It took quite a while for me to emerge from my familiar and somewhat comfortable womb of darkness and come into the true light of Christ, but behind all my changes was a Heavenly Father who called me to Himself, even when I was hell-bent on doing things my own way.
While I sincerely refer to myself as one being hell-bent, it wasn’t like I was a practicing Satanist. No, I basically tried to do what I thought was right. Unfortunately, I didn’t know right from wrong too much of the time, and even when I did, I often found myself crossing over the lines I’d set up for myself, my own rather arbitrary boundaries of what I considered to be righteous behavior.
By the time I was out of high school, I had been drunk or stoned more times than I can even estimate now, and I’d had a lot of sex. Perhaps even worse, I was often judgmental, moody, and selfish. Occasionally I was downright mean, and I chose to lie from time to time just to save my own precious skin, but I’ll spare the details for now.
Despite my many lapses, I figured I was on good terms with God, but I was in no position to judge that. My standards were not His; God’s morality was always loftier than mine, and even the rules of conduct I set up for myself were constantly being violated.
I refused to worry about these lapses very much, but there was always a peculiar tension beneath the surface routines of going to school, working lame jobs, hanging out with friends, playing sports, or messing around in amateur rock bands. The deadly dullness of it all had me looking for something larger because God was simply not going to allow me to be content in my absurd and fallen state.
He was always drawing me to Himself, even when I was doing my best to ignore Him. Of course you never could have told me I was disregarding God–I always fancied myself to be a rather “spiritual” person. Perhaps one of our biggest needs for a Savior is due to the fact that we like to think more highly of ourselves than we should.
Adapted from Keeping It Between the Ditches