10 Mar Choosing God for Myself
I’ve recently turned 23 and I think that the time close to one’s birthday is useful for doing all-round reflection on your life. For me, this entails looking back at the little more than twenty years of my life which, thus far, includes my first year of marriage, my four years of tertiary studies, my school years and childhood. A prominent theme that I can unmistakably notice throughout all of these seasons, is my complete dependence on God’s instruction for each season.
Every decision I had to make required a meticulous ear for God’s say on the matter- from choosing to study a Bachelor of Arts in 2017, to deciding on Bloemfontein as the city where my husband and I were to kick-start our first year of marriage. However, I believe that my life is as much a testimony of choosing God for myself, as it is a reflection of my obedience to His will.
I chose God for the first time when I was ten years old as I found myself in a kids’ church upper room that was drenched in the tangible presence of God. It is here where I felt God touch me and I knew that there was something bigger and better than my world of school, family, sport, and anything else that basically makes up a young teens’ life at this stage.
Growing up, I was very fortunate to be part of a Christian family that regarded a faith-based life and the local church as important aspects to building a successful life in partnership with God. It is because of my parents that I attended kids’ church on a regular basis and where I got to meet God-loving teachers who taught Word-based Sunday school lessons and who led Spirit-filled worship every Sunday.
This undoubtedly aided my walk with God, although, I soon learned that salvation and choosing to follow God could not be regarded as my own life choices as I was merely riding on my parents’ decisions. I realised this during worship one Sunday morning.
I clearly heard God saying to me, “You still have to choose Me.” I was confused by this statement and said to God, “But, I do choose You. I am a Christian and I come to church. What more do you want me to do, God?”
“I want YOU to decide that you want to follow me.”
I slowly understood what God was getting at. He wanted me to make my own decision – apart from what my family or friends had decided. He wanted me to choose Him for myself.
This was in 2008, and since then, I’ve come to realise that choosing God for myself would remain an ongoing journey. I had to choose God when I went to high school and life started getting complicated – as most teenage years do. I guess more than anything, choosing God meant that I had to pursue a living, abiding relationship with Him. I had to learn to make time for Him as any relationship needs time to grow. I learned to become accustomed to His voice as it says in His Word, “My sheep recognise my voice. I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
Most of all, I had to learn to regard His opinion about me, as the only one that mattered. In today’s society, we sometimes feel that others are constantly gazing over our shoulder, whispering their opinion into our ears as they advise us how to live our life. However, God says in Romans 12 verse 2 that “We are in this world, but not of this world.” This verse speaks to a number of things, but for me, it acts as a reminder that I am part of God’s family, a spiritual being designed for a divine purpose that He set out for me. I do not form part of the world’s society, because I was adopted into God’s family as soon as I made the conscious decision to follow Him, back when I was ten-years old.
These lessons continue to form part of the process that is choosing God for myself, every day. Even though it started off as a small, but earnest decision at the young age of ten, it remains the most adventurous and rewarding commitment still today, fifteen years later.
I am pretty sure that my testimony will continue to change and transform as I grow deeper in God and undergo more of life’s challenges. Yet, for now, I believe that looking back on how far you’ve come, can be such an encouraging act as it strengthens your faith in both God’s steadfast character and your personal ability to adapt and grow.
What are some of the lessons that you’ve come to learn since giving your life to God? Leave your response in the comments section – I’d love to learn some faith-based life-nuggets from you!
René is a work-from-home freelance writer, wife, postgraduate English student and language tutor. She loves creating work that is fresh, to-the-point, and makes difficult subjects easy to understand. She lives in Bloemfontein, central South Africa, and and loves to read, jog, paint and spend time in nature when she’s not working.