This Is My Story, part 9, the Finale.

This day, thirteen years ago, marked the beginning of my publicly declared and lifelong commitment to follow that lovely Man whose likeness cannot compare to any other. Did I know inside out what that commitment would entail, or understand the full import of following Jesus? Absolutely not. But there’s such thing called growth, and the thrill of being surprised.

Sure, there should be research and thoughts before making any commitment, but if one insists in knowing 100 percent of everything that would happen afterwards, what’s the fun in that, right?

The impact of the Gospel, of knowing God, His kingdom, and His righteousness, has been pervasive in my life. It is true that there have been many moments of God’s special gifts and miracles, but what amazes me even more is His influence that is steady, His work that continues for years, silent, unglamorous, but radically transforming me into a newer and newer person.

It’s like He is planting a seed in me and waits for it to grow. Slowly, but surely, life transforms that seed into a tree, but one does not necessarily see the evidence of that life until years after. And once evidence starts to pile up, hindsight provides the opportunity to say, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not.” Gen 28:16.

The Gospel has changed me, in character and in personality. It has weaved new relationships and rejuvenates old relationships (here, here, and here) that multiply my joy in this earthen life. It has given meaning to my education that is higher than any common ambitions, and it has expanded my world beyond anything I ever dreamed before. The entire world is open enough to learn from, malleable enough to impact, destitute enough to joyfully serve, and rich enough to enjoy. God wants to take the Gospel to all corners of the earth, and because I am His child, He takes me on this global ride as well. I am on a path of infinite growth (again, a plug for the book Education), and God will not stop being my Teacher until eternity.

But wonderful though they may be, they still pale in comparison to the one gift that is so incredibly, fundamentally central, without which any of the others would not be possible. This gift is Jesus Christ Himself, His sacrifice, and the forgiveness of sin.

Since the focus of this blog series has been on God’s blessings, perhaps it makes me look more saintly than I really am. The truth is, I’m still wretched, still poor, still selfish, and still needing grace, more than ever. The core reality of my day-to-day existence is written in this poem, which is why I am most thankful about God’s amazing grace.

When God came into my life, I changed from being a sinner to being forgiven. And this forgiveness still happens everyday, every moment. Nothing compares to the thought that a sinner can stand in front of a holy God, blameless. How can that be? That difference is Jesus Christ, the mediator.

I’ve enjoyed many added benefits to following Jesus, but they are accessories that follow the first, most important step. For to gain Christ, and to gain only Him, is to gain all.

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