Next week I turn 15. Christ rescued me as a freshman in college, turning me from a selfish boy going my own way into a man who began to hunger and thirst for righteousness. I am not yet what I shall be, but I am not what I once was, and for that I am eternally thankful.
There’s a great verse that Paul writes to Timothy about how through the patience and perseverance of Timothy’s mother and grandmother he grew up and became “wise unto salvation” (2 Timothy 3:14-15). It was a direct result of their trusting in God and in His words that He multiplied their efforts in bringing new life to that young man. We don’t read of an “improved” Timothy; we read of an alive man, who used to be dead.
Same became true in my life. I did not out-and-out reject the faith of my parents, but was slow to embrace it. I was dead to God, though I like religion a bit, because it made me feel good about God. When Jesus embraced me, I could not help but respond. For this reason I believe in irresistible grace. God is as irresistible as He wants to be.
The Gospel message was first presented to me as an invitation to invite Jesus into my life. Yet I soon realized my life was an abject mess (though not in comparison to others, which was a great source of my pride), and rather than entering my life Jesus invited me into His life. I got to become a minor character in the story He was writing, no longer trying to be the hero.
This week I get to teach a course on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, and the various ways we respond to Him in grace-driven effort. We’re calling it I GROW HERE, and I’m now realizing I’ve been training for 15 years towards teaching this course.