This day is the most remarkable day of my life. It is more important than the day I was born. It is more auspicious than the day I got married. It is more memorable that the day my children were born. Moreover, it would be more wonderful than the day I would die.
“Why is it so” you might question?
This June 26th, 2011, takes my thoughts back to June 26th, 1996. Fifteen years back, on this day, I woke up from my bed with heavy conviction about the serious issues of life. Eventually, the Spirit of God brought me to the feet of Jesus. It was on this day that I gave my life to my beloved Jesus and became His child and disciple. [Click here later to read my brief testimony about how I came to know the Lord]
How I came to Christ is still a wonder to me! I didn’t experience a miracle, didn’t hear an audible voice and didn’t see a vision or dream. I wasn’t even driven for earthly blessings. I was simply wallowing in sin. But how good and gracious the Lord is—He sent His Spirit to convict me of my sins and of the reality of His presence and glory! I didn’t seek Him; He sought me. What an amazing blessing to be found by the Maker of the heavens and the earth!
“So what?” “What radical difference did it make as a result of believing in Christ?” some might ask.
This wondrous song, written by John W. Peterson in 1961, well expresses the excitement of my heart:
O what a wonderful, wonderful day, day I will never forget;
After I'd wandered in darkness away, Jesus my Saviour I met.
O what a tender, compassionate friend, He met the need of my heart;
Shadows dispelling, with joy I am telling, He made all the darkness depart.
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul,
When at the cross the Saviour made me whole;
My sins were washed away and my night was turned to day,
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!
[Click here later to listen to this complete song.....]
I lived a life without purpose. Everything that I was doing under the sun; all of them were meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I didn’t know the reason for my existence and had no meaningful aim to live on earth. I lived for the sake of living and had done things for the sake of doing. I had no idea from where I came, what should I be doing on earth and where I was heading. I sailed in this world like a ship without a rudder.
Everything was centered on me—my pleasures, my ambitions, my money. And you know, when ‘self’ becomes the master, the wages it gives is ‘misery’. Ah, my life was miserable in serving myself!
Then when the day came, the glorious moment of knowing Christ personally, I had stopped beating around the bush. O, I found the grand purpose of my life! For the first time, I became excited and passionate to live for someone worth living for. I realized—I am not the reason for my existence; there is an infinite, greater Being than me (a finite one) who created the whole universe; there is a greater purpose for my life than just me and my world.
Colossians 1:16 gives a definite answer to the purpose of life—“For by Him [Christ Jesus] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him.”
What a great revelation! All things, everything—you and me and everyone—were created by Him and for Him. What a joy to know—Stephen David was created by Christ and for Christ! When Christ has created me for Himself, I have no better purpose and meaningful way to live than for Him. He is the cause for my existence. He is the purpose of my life on earth. He is my hope with whom I would be living eternally.
When Christ became the Lord of my life, joy and peace flowed in me like streams of water in the wasteland. From a dry desert land He made my life a beautiful meadow. Yes, I am amazed at what Christ wrought in me!
The other day, I was telling my wife and children—you people have to be thankful to God forever, for if I was not transformed by Christ, I could have made your lives hell. Thankfully, my home is now a haven only because of Jesus. Without Christ, no doubt, I could have become either a smuggler or some criminal. That was the crooked path I chose. I was bent on doing evil things. Although I was there a few times due to minor offenses, I could have certainly ended someday behind bars because of serious crimes. I could have been a wicked and immoral husband, an abusive father and a stench to those around.
Can someone love a wretched man like me? Unimaginable! I could not point to one person, from among the millions of gods many Indians believe (once I was among them), and say, “He loved me and gave Himself for me.” When my eyes were opened to the gospel, I could point to only one person and say—Christ loves, shed His blood on the Cross, offered His body to pay the price for the forgiveness of sins and rose again on the third day. How soothing are these words from Romans 5:8-9:
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Considering how I loved sin and desired doing sinful things, I could never have changed myself. Only someone, who is perfectly holy, loving and sovereign, could do. And when I was encountered by that loving and holy person, Jesus Christ, I didn’t just received forgiveness for my sins but my life too was radically changed. He made me a different person.
Of course, I am not perfect but God is patiently working on my life to shape me in becoming a person He wants me to be. There were times I turned my back on Him and forsook His ways; however, He didn’t give up on me and won me back.
It really amazes me—the person who was a thorn to those around him, Jesus has touched him and is now using him to be a blessing to many. My heart gets excited when I see Christ touching lives and making a difference in them through me. I give all glory to Him who is doing good things in and through my life.
Were you ever struck with these thoughts—What would happen to me after I die? Where will I go?
Earlier I avoided thinking about such things. I was obsessed with making money and thriving in life in whatever crooked way possible. But when God arrested my attention to consider the inescapable fact called ‘death’, it was a chilling moment.
When Christ Jesus saved me, my whole perspective about life, death and afterlife has changed. I didn’t just find purpose to live on earth but also found hope to die here peacefully. My mind was enlightened to the glorious fact that death in Christ is birthday in heaven. I realized that death is not the end of the road; it is just a speed bump.
Because there is life after death and am accountable to God about how I live on earth, I endeavor by God’s enabling grace to live a godly life, not to attain salvation but out of gratitude for receiving it. Because there is life after death, I am encouraged to endure afflictions on earth with hope that life will be gloriously different in the afterlife (heaven). Because there is life after death, I am not hopelessly frightened to face death. Because of what Christ had done on the Cross, I can shout, "Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?" (1Cor. 15:54-55)
Before Christ, I had no words to respond when questioned—what would be my reaction if I know I am going to die in a moment? I lived in despair. But now, in Christ, how marvelously different! Before his death, the great evangelist D.L. Moody said, “Someday you will read in the papers that D. L. Moody of East Northfield is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now.” That would be my response too—I would be more alive than I am now. I know my destiny. I will kiss the rod of death and fall into the arms of my Lord. Maranatha!
Think and Decide
Friend, if you haven’t put your trust in Jesus and living a purposeless life, eventually to face hopeless death, I invite you to come to Christ who loved you and laid His life on the Cross for you. He is the One you need to save you from your sins and from living a miserable life here and forever. Everybody dies here but not everyone dies with hope. That unflinching hope to face death boldly is found only in Christ, the ultimate conqueror of death.
Or maybe you have once put your trust in Christ but now have fallen in love with the world and became cold in your love for the Lord. Then I urge you to repent of your worldliness and turn to the One who forgives you and gives you a new beginning. Nothing can satisfy you except the Maker of your soul who created you for Himself. Heed these words of your beloved Savior, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door of your heart, I will come in and fellowship with you and you with me."
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