Changed By Jesus #27
By Andrew Myers (28), West Seattle Campus and MHC Central Staff
For some, the switch flicks noticeably from darkness to light (or so it seems). For me, life has been slow in coming, my night always reluctant to give way to the dawn.
I am with Jesus in my earliest memories, and by his grace I will be with him in the end. Right now, in the middle, he is changing me. So rather than manufacturing a distinctive “before and after” story (I’ve tried, to ill effect so far), here are seven ways that Jesus has changed me since I started coming to Mars Hill Church. In no particular order:
- I was a notorious overachiever who saw Jesus as another doting authority, obligated to love me because “God is love.” Grace is more valuable to me now that I’ve learned more about its high cost, paid on the Cross. My sense of entitlement is greatly diminished.
- I was a polite Christian nice guy by day, and a porn junkie by night—and lots of times by day, too. I turned from this sin, recognizing that all sin—even if it “doesn’t hurt anybody”—is damnable rebellion and a shameful abuse of his grace and love.
- I learned there is no such thing as sin that “doesn’t hurt anybody.” I can no longer excuse my actions with this hypocritical way of thinking.
- For a long time I treated Jesus as a distant, weak, accommodating pushover. But then I learned that that was actually who I was. I made god in my image. In truth, Jesus is compassion and courage, mercy and justice, love and strength, honor and glory. And I am made in his image.
- From France to Mexico to Israel, I spent many years in pursuit of experience, in search of notches for my proverbial belt: languages I could learn, countries I could visit, and cultures I could acknowledge with deference. I was seizing days all over the place and losing my life in the process. Convicted of my pride, I returned home and discovered a much richer life by committing to a church family.
- Girls used to scare me. Well, romantic relationships, that is. Then I met Libby, and I knew it was time to man up. I could not have done this without the grace and strength of Jesus (see #4). We’ve now been married three years (as of this week)—raising a daughter and expecting a son—sustained by the same grace and strength.
- My aim is now holiness, not happiness. This has proven to be an incredibly liberating change, ironically leading to more joy than I would have ever known otherwise (see #5). I did not value holiness before learning so much about the true God of the Bible at Mars Hill Church (see #1 and #4).
All of this…and yet Jesus is still not enough for me.
I crave your approval, your admiration, your respect. Which sucks because that means I cannot love unless there is some benefit or edification for me in the process. For all the change evident in my life, I wish I were more changed. I’ve tried to turn from fear of man, from covetous obsessions, and from harmful desires. But my heart often reverts to old patterns and I lose my change in the dark.
During one of the first Mars Hill sermon series I ever heard, Pastor Mark yelled, “”http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/revelation/the-revelation-of-jesus-sickle">God! Will! Have! His! GLORY!" Among other things, this exclamation scared the masturbation right out of me (see #2). These words that I first heard as a threat, however, now declare my hope.
Hope because it’s not up to me. God will have his glory, and that includes me. These days—thanks to 1 Timothy 6:6, my wife, and Pastor James Noriega—I’m wanting change less and God more. He’s after my heart, and I’m finally starting to believe that.
It’s getting brighter as I stumble in the faint glow of dawn.
Has Jesus used the ministry of Mars Hill Church to change you? Email testimony [at] marshillchurch.org.