Monday, May 9, 2011

Gawk This Way

Day 311 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series

Seems like Steven Tyler is having a bit of a comeback these days. I suppose it's fueled by his new-found fame on American Idol, which has introduced him and Aerosmith to a whole new generation of kids. I was first introduced to Aerosmith back in the day when I was about 14 years old. I even went to see them in concert once later when I was in my 20s or so. If you read back through my blog you will see that I had a real strong liking to rock music before my conversion(Day 9 of this series). Aerosmith was probably one of the milder bands that I liked, while my tastes were more in the heavy metal/ hard rock realm.

My musical tastes is one of the first things that God sanctified me from after He saved me. It wasn't a gradual process either, it was one of those immediate changes. I do recognize that it was by His grace that He did take that from me and I did not (and still do not) struggle with giving that type of music up. At that same time God took away a 24 year addiction to cigarettes that I had tried very unsuccessfully to quit on my own several times. I had started smoking about the same time I started listening to rock music and doing a bunch of other things as well.

Through all of those years I was banking on my profession of faith as an 8 year old child. I am not saying that isn't possible for some children, but just telling my story. At 8 years old I did not know a whole lot about sin. I actually didn't know anything about sin, even though I had been raised in a rather large church in the area. I remember hearing all of the cool bible stories and even remember the Sunday School teachers always asking us to raise our hand if we wanted to be saved. I never raised my hand because I didn't want to be embarrassed that I never had done it before. I definitely wanted to fit in and raising my hand would have done the opposite. But, on a youth trip I did raise my hand during an evening service. I remember the preacher preached on hell and all I knew is I didn't want to go there and the only way I wasn't going was by raising my hand. So I did and I talked to a man who said the prayer for me and I nodded my head and was proclaimed "saved" after we got back to the altar. So, for the next 30 years I always pointed back to that prayer and that man's affirmation as my salvation. I never pointed to Christ and I definitely never lived like scripture says a Christian lives. I was a part of the world and I loved it. I loved sin and I did as I was always told, ask for forgiveness and you are brought back into a right standing with God.

I lived a very me-centric life and only thought about God at bedtime, when I said my prayer to ask for forgiveness for the same sins day after day. I did a lot of wretched things through my life and always justified it by telling myself to just ask to be forgiven, so I did. I was living a very deceived life, but it was the only type of Christianity that I knew, which is no excuse. That is until God really got hold of me when I was 38. He used a few men that really opened up scripture and showed me just how marred and scarred by sin I was. Ray Comfort, John MacArthur and Paul Washer were some of those men that God used and still continues to use to this day in my sanctification walk. I now rest my faith in Jesus Christ as my salvation, not only from the hell I always feared, but from a sinful life that brings grief to my Father. I am by no means perfect, but I know the One who is and He knows me.

Life has never been the same since He converted me. He continues to mold me and show me things on a daily basis. He has given me a new heart that actually desires things of God and hates things of this world. Not fully sanctified, but on that narrow path and looking toward to goal of my faith in Christ. I praise Him for what He did to me and for me and I continue to praise Him every day. He is my strength and He is my fortress and I will always be His.

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