Taking Responsibility for My Early Years
I grasped so eagerly every precept and tradition presented to me in my Christian infancy and childhood -- perhaps because I found comfort and security and fellowship in believing what everyone else believed, perhaps because in the first years of my Christian walk, it just wasn't in me to be like the people of Berea:
"Now these were more noble-minded... for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so."
These words in the Song of Songs described me!
"I was asleep, but my heart was awake.
A voice! My beloved was knocking: 'Open to me...'
I have taken off my dress, how can I put it on again?
I have washed my feet, How can I dirty them again?
My beloved extended his hand... and my feelings were aroused for Him...
I arose to open to my beloved... but He had turned away and had gone...
I searched for him, but I did not find him;
I called him, but he did not answer."
Song of Songs 5:2-6
It was only because of His grace and mercy that He continued with me, routing me from my spiritual lethargy and laziness, from false words and deceptions, from self-will and pride, by harsh and painful discipline and reproof; He turned my human world upside down -- all things I counted dear, all things I dreamed of, all desires of my heart were whisked away from me. Even those dreams of how I might serve Him vanished like the puffs of smoke they were and I found myself alone in a spiritual wilderness with no moorings. And He did not spare nor lift the rod until I knew that He was God -- there was no one else in heaven or on earth who could deliver me, help me, heal me, and make me spiritually whole.
One night, in the midst of those years, I cried to Him -- "Will this last forever?" And He answered me that very night -- a February 24 -- through the evening devotions of Charles Spurgeon.
"What a sweet answer to an anxious inquiry! This night let us rejoice in it... there are good things in store for you... Your time of travail shall soon be over; your captivity shall end. Bear patiently the rod for a season, and under the darkness still trust in God, for His love burns toward you... He knows your case as thoroughly as if you were the only creature He ever loved. Approach Him and be at peace."
From that moment to this, the Lord God and His Word are my vital, everyday need, the imperative of not only my Life but also my life; I watch daily at His gates, presenting myself before Him for reproof, instruction, correction, listening for what He has to say to me.
And about reproof? It was also during that time that I acknowledged the following:
"It is a trustworthy statement... that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost."
1 Timothy 1:15
And through His marvelous grace and mercy He granted me forgiveness for neglecting so great a salvation and has continued with me now for as many years -- convicting, reproving, chastening, disciplining, instructing me -- all synonyms for loving me.
Those whom I dearly and tenderly love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten, that is I discipline and instruct them...
And I resolved with all my being to do my part:
"...so be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal, and repent -- changing your mind and attitude." (Amplified Bible)
And wonder of wonders He granted me the following privileges and I knew He loved me.
"When a person falls, he jumps up again, when he discovers his mistake he goes back to the fork when he made the wrong turn."
"If you return, then I will restore you -- before Me you will stand; and if you extract the precious from the worthless, you will become My spokeman."
And then I knew "what to say" after this!
"Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me, and know my thoughts!
And see if there is any wicked or harmful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way."
Psalm 139:23, 24
And now I know something to "do" -- I presented myself to Him for His correction.
"He is making a correction by establishing a plumbline, a measurement." (Handbook 2, Article 24)