Wednesday, August 18, 2010

To Follow or Not To Follow

LONG POST ALERT (Kind of)

It was sometime in 2004 and I had rededicated my life to God after a lady preached the Good news to me in a way that spoke to my heart. Everything seemed to be moving smoothly. I was studying my bible, going to church, attending fellowship at the office, just generally trying to be holy. I had told my boyfriend to stay away from me for a while, so I could build my personal relationship with God. I did not want to fall into sin.

1 month gone, and it was all perfect, until an old friend came visiting. It was a Friday. He drove from far to pay me this surprise visit. When I asked why, he said he felt lonely and realized I was someone he could really talk to and spend time with. You know how such words do women. I felt wanted. We went out for a lovely dinner. We talked and laughed till midnight. Then he decided to drop me at home (I was staying alone, in the BQ of my landlord then). He said he would like to spend the night over since it was quite late to drive back to his house. I said it was okay, as long as he sleeps in the parlor and not interrupt my sleep in the bedroom.

The next morning, after bidding him goodbye (for good), I told God it was over between me and Him. The guilt, shame, disgust, and low esteem I felt was nothing compared to the transient 5 minutes pleasure that ensued during the night. I concluded that I was not cut out for Christianity. I told God I was not going to bother myself about it, because I had fallen many times, and this was the worst of all. If what happened that night was with my boyfriend, maybe it would have been better. But with a guy that just appeared – that was worse that adultery, I told myself.

So I found myself at that decision point – “To follow or not to follow” God. I could see the path I was trying to run away from, but I knew my attempts had resulted in failure. I did not want to deceive myself so I chose “not to follow”. I watched my life deteriorate. I fell more into sin, I killed my conscience, my life was filled with pain and dissatisfaction masked by a charade. I was not happy and I knew the path I had chosen did not have good in store for me. I left church and fellowship (nobody cared) and entered a world of my own. I felt trapped, but said I will stick to what I had chosen though wondering if there could there more to life.

In retrospect, I think God was “dying for me” for in my sinful state, He gave me a dream about an acquaintance – a guy I knew, respected, but did not want to get close to lest he contaminates me with his good nature. I felt compelled to share that dream with him, only to realize that it was actually a message from God. So he opened up to me, we got talking, and with time, I felt relaxed in his peaceful and godly presence. Like Mary at the feet of Jesus, I enjoyed listening to his stories and teachings of God. As he talked about God, I began falling in love with God. 2 things he did that turned my life around – he told me he believed God has a plan and a purpose for my life, and he bought me a study book “Because of Jesus” by Connie Witter. Only a man sensitive to the spirit could have done such because I love anything exam-like (which was how the study book was designed). That study book made me realize I was already a virtuous woman, the proverbs 31 woman, not by my works or efforts, but because of what Jesus had done, and God was seeing me as righteous not the way I saw myself.

Small by small, I started liking God, but I was not rushing into a relationship with Him. You know how it is when a person is coming around you and you are gradually having affections for him/her? As my likeness for Him increased, I started disliking the things I used to do (though I had not stopped doing them). One day, I found myself at that point, “To follow or not to follow”. After thinking long and hard, and hearing His loving words, "Come to me, my daughter who is weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest" [Matthew 11:28], I decided “to follow”, to try God, and see if indeed there could be more to life. That was in February 2007.

I am telling you, the sum of joy, pleasures, and happiness I have had before 2007 are nothing compared to what I experience as I decided to follow God and stay with Him. Life with God is beautiful. Only Him could fill a huge void in me, and make me whole. Despite the steep learning curve with Him, I cannot deny His unfailing love, His graciousness, His mercy and loving-kindness. Indeed there is more to life - with God.

I do not know if you ever have to stand at that junction to make a choice between “To follow or not to follow” God. If you decide “to follow”, you will never regret it (even if the enemy tries to make you regret). It does not matter where you are coming from or where you have been. When the Master Molder, the Artist that knows intricacies, the God who knew you before you were conceived, the One who made you a masterpiece, when you allow Him work on you, you will be amazed at what He can do with you and what can become of you.

For me, this I believe – Even if it is only 1 person whose life I touch, whom I shine the light and love of God to, or whom I help to stay with God, it is better that 2 of us are saved than we perish. For I do not know if that 1 person will become a Joseph Prince, a Creflo Dollar, a Juanita Bynum or a great man of God tomorrow, who will touch the lives of many others. I will be so delighted to sleep over at his/her mansions in Heaven.

Looking back at 2004 when I rededicated my life to Christ, I realize that I was working so hard to be righteous. It is not by power, might or works, but by the Spirit and grace of God. It is something Jesus Christ has already done for us. Remaining in Him is also not by power, might or works, but by His Spirit and realizing that it is a walk of faith. You may fall many times, but by His grace, You will stand up and walk with heads high.

Lest I forget, the acquaintance eventually became my adorable king, Mr. Rita as I call him on my blog. Doesn’t God have a great sense of humor?

Have a blessed week ahead…
 

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think I needed to read this. I'm at that place right now...

Chatles said...

Very inspiring. He who has begun this good work in you is faithful, He also will perfect it in Jesus name, amen.

koinonia said...

Cheesy smile at God's sense of humour ;)

Miss FlyHigh said...

That was beautiful :) It's great to read people testifying about Gods good works

Rita said...

@Anonymous:- may you experience the awesome grace and love of God this period.

@Charles:-thanks and Amen.

@Koinonia:- indeed He has a wonderful sense of humor. I have a lot of questions to ask Him when we see face to face.

@Miss FlyHigh:- thanks so much.

ZeL said...

This is like my best post ever :)I'm at that junction in my life where I've got to choose.

Thanks for sharing...Making that decision is essential

Myne Whitman said...

It is certainly not by our power or works. I thank God for your life. May we continue to follow by His Grace.

Olufunke said...

Rita, thank God for your life.
I've been at those crossroads.

Very nice one and I like that your illustrations of sleeping over at our mansions in heaven.

Cheers!

Rainyjoy said...

awwww, i enjoyed reading this and lol @ d name 'Mr Rita', wow, God never seizes to amaze me especially when i read wonderful testimonies like yours.

just like the psalmist said in psalm 139:8 -'If I go up to heaven, You are there. If I make my bed in hell, You are there.

God will always find a way to reach out to us even when we are on the crossroads. how i became a blogger is a testimony on its own and meeting people like you, jaycee, etc is God's way of reaching out to me.

God bless you for sharing.
hugs :)

jhazmyn said...

He sure has a great sense of humor i tell u :).

Reminds me of the passage "even while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" when i began to understand the depth of His love, it made a whole lot of a difference to me...

there's something about sharing our experiences, we never know who else might be at that same spot and needs to hear someone else say "I was there too, but i got out".

(((Hugs)))....I'm in a hugging mood today..lol

LG said...

lol@mr rita, dearie thanx for the post, learnt sumn new, God bless ur family

Maid of Heart said...

I love transformational stories. Beautiful. And lol at Mr Rita.

Basiks said...

I hear you Rita..
You sound so much wiser huh!

Much appreciation for linking me on your roll...

and passing by mine too!

I errored in the Quote 24 i put up as it was too close to the other Quote-25.. But your comment is still safe (hehehe)

Naijalines said...

God does has a great sense humour. My regards to Mr Rita:)

Debbie said...

Wow!, its always a joy to come to that place where one makes the decision to follow, it is tough given the temptation we are faced with but once made, we never look back.
I followed, amidst a difficult time and I am still loving the walk all the way

David C Brown said...

Thank you. Encouraging, and we all need to be encouraged to keep following, knowing the power that there is to help us, in the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Patrina's Pencil said...

Rita,
Powerful testimony! Your honesty opens the door for God's LIGHT to shine into someone else's life. That's the power of testimony.

Praising Jesus that the question presented itself again - and that you chose to follow!

I'm following Jesus too. If we never meet on this earth - I'm excited to know that we will meet in heaven....ONE DAY SOON.

God bless you, dear heart. God bless 'Mr Rita' too

Patrina <")>><

cray820 said...

Just never forget about God no matter how far you fall. He is allways waiting for you to come back

moi said...

I only recently received the revelation of grace after over 20 years of trying to gain righteousness by my works. I now know that God loves me unconditionally and Christ has done the work. All I need to do is live for Him. Lovely post!

Rita said...

@ZeL:- Thank God. I pray that God keeps you as you make the right decision.

@ Myne Whitman:- Amen oh.

@ Olufunke:- Thank God. If I cannot visit you here, I will sleep over at your mansion :-) but a little bird tells me you are very close to me…

@ Rainyjoy: - I love the verse you shared. I look forward to hearing/reading your testimony. Hugs too

@jhazmyn:- when I reflect, I really love God realizing that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” I have receive your hugs but I would rather have them in real life not e-hugs :-)

@My LG:- Amen, you are welcome.

@Maid of Heart:- Thanks. Mr. Rita paid complete bride price oh, am serious, lol. Don’t mind as I am giving him my name.

@Basiks:- Glad to hear my comment is safe :-) don’t worry, been following you even though I do not always leave a comment.

@Naijalines(aka the wise one):- Mr. Rita will hear…

@Debbie:- Debbie! Longest time. Thank God you are loving the walk, that is very encouraging.

Rita said...

@David C Brown:- Thank you too, especially for reminding us of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help in our walk…

@Patrina's Pencil:- You know I always look forward to your comments because they are so uplifting. Yeah, what if I never had the opportunity to choose? I look forward to meeting you whether here or in heaven. I have extended your greetings to ‘Mr. Rita’.

@ cray820:- Thanks for this reminder. I will keep it at the forefront of my heart.

@moi: -Amazing! Amazing! I am thankful, speechless and loving God because of your comment. Thanks for dropping these lines.

Geebee said...

Yet another inspiring post. Seriously, it takes grace to follow till the end and we all need this grace every time.

2cute4u said...

Hmmm, So many times I stood and declared God's love and then annoyingly so, I fall at the littlest of things and it makes feel that I am not cut out for it.. Then I see some ladies like me, people that their lives inspire me and I challenge myself and give it a try..
Sometimes I doubt that he even knows me or hears me and I pray day and night that I hear from him or at least,let Him speak to me; but nothing..
But I try not to lose faith, I wonder if he wants me to call on him, I really wonder.

Kafo said...

God has a way of taking our mess and making it into a beautiful mission story

thanks for this
I'm beginning to realize that He has to transform ME, i can't legislate it or keep my way into it

1 + The One said...

Such a touching life story.. I feel that people who have experienced such love, grace and compassion from God make the best Christians :-)

God is the most romantic of all! hehe..

rethots said...

...and when we decide to 'follow', temptations and trials will come, however, His always gives the grace for us to hold on.

Alexander Maclaren beautifully describes Temptation as the desire to do a pleasant thing; not being hindered by the fact that tis wrong. And
Trial as the desire to do the right & noble thing; not being hindered that tis painful.