“the gospel demands and enables us to turn from our sin, to take up our cross, to die to ourselves, and to follow Jesus. These are the terms and phrases we see in the Bible. And salvation now consists of a deep wrestling in our souls with the sinfulness of our hearts, the depth of our depravity, and the desperation of our need for his grace. Jesus is no longer one to be accepted or invited in but one who is infinitely worthy of our immediate and total surrender.”
~ Radical, David Platt, p. 39
This is why I smile
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November 11, 2016, was only a couple of weeks earlier my end date. In all my struggles against depression, I had never had a date where I told myself I wanted to be dead by.
My depression was stemmed out of two main issues: a desire for control and an obsessive need for a sense of self-worth. I wanted to be in control. I needed to prove myself worthy. I was more desirous for a sense of security in my life than to give my life fully into God’s hands – a place where I cannot control it.
I had spent my life knowing of God, but I had refused to know God intimately. Even though I knew about God, His love, His sacrifice for me, and His sovereignty, I still chose to refuse it. Why? Because even though I knew what was true, I pushed it all aside so that I could keep myself on the throne of my heart. I considered myself a Christian because I knew the truth of the Gospel and was often convicted when I did wrong, but Christ was really not the Lord of my life – I was.
As so many areas of my life seemed to fall apart and I was forced to see that I could have no control or true security over anything, I began to get extremely frustrated and depressed. Life was not how I wanted it to be. Why bother with life if it was constantly filled with pain and hurt?
November 9, 2016, was the turning point in my life. That evening at a Bible conference put on by a visiting mission team, God helped me to fully see and understand my total depravity. I had known the Gospel, knew of who God was, and I knew in my heart it was all true; however – as John 7:53 – 8:11 and James 1:22-25 showed me – you can know something without truly believing, without applying that knowledge personally.
This had been my life. Though I knew so much, I had not truly applied it. I knew I could not save myself, but I stilled tried to. I knew my worth was based on what God thought of me, but I still chose to base it on my merits. I knew I had no true control over anything, but I sought to live my life in a fantasy world where I could be king.
That night, I stopped believing the lies. I stopped rebelling against God’s rule and chose to surrender the throne in my heart to the only one who truly is in control. Christ is the only one that deserves to be King. I cried out to God in broken repentance, asking Him to forgive me and change me to be more like Him.
As I gave up my pathetic and hopeless self-salvation projects and died to myself, I found the truth of the Gospel:
“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” ~ Matthew 10:39
I now have a purpose for my life. I don’t need to struggle with a desire for control because Someone so powerful and sovereign is in charge. I don’t have to try to prove my worth because my redemption was never earned. In Christ, I have freedom from depression and hopelessness. My hope is in Him, and Him alone – He is my Solid Rock in whom I can rest on.
In Christ, I have found life, and what it truly means to live.