It was 8 years ago today that I was sitting in the back of church near the sound booth watching my wife practice with our church’s worship team.
As I sat there, wishing church was over so I could go home, I felt like I was being pulled forward toward the front to pray. Of course, I didn’t do anything, I just sat there.
And then, that’s when it happened, I heard God say, “Come and pray.”
I wish I could tell you that I went forward immediately, but I didn’t.
In fact, I argued with God.
I mean, this was worship team practice, I don’t even think it was legal to go and pray during practice. I thought that was only something you did when the pastor called people forward at the end of a sermon.
This went on for several minutes until I finally yielded.
I literally ran to the altar to pray and sobbed like a baby. It was there that I told God that I was sorry for everything and that I was tired of being miserable. I told God that from that point on I would serve Him.
It was there that God saved me, sanctified me, and then called me to a life of ministry.
I have never recovered from that encounter.
God took a man who was filled with anger, pride, selfishness, and who had a low sense of self worth and filled him with His Holy Spirit. In an instant, I was a changed man.
The anger was gone.
The pride was gone.
The selfishness was gone.
The low sense of self worth was gone.
It was all gone.
I know it sounds crazy, but it’s the truth.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:26-27
I believe I received a heart transplant that day.
God removed my hardened heart and gave me a new one so I could love and follow Him the way He desires to be loved and followed.
God cleansed me fully from my sins and set me free.
In short, God liberated me.
And I believe that God desires to do this in all of our hearts.
I don’t believe for one minute that God desires to “save” us for us to continue living the same way we have always lived. I don’t believe God desires to “save” us for us to continue to struggle with sin.
God desires to save us, to fill us, and to liberate us.
8 years ago today, I was liberated.
And for that, I’m forever grateful.