When I first decided to choose Jesus I was in middle school. I chose Him because I was under the impression that I was supposed to as a member of a church-going family. I chose Him because I thought He would make the heartbreak of losing family disappear. I chose Him because I believed that if I did, He would send blessings from Heaven to my life, that I would get my way, and my life would become easier. Then life continued to get messy and I lived in disappointment. So I figured that choosing Jesus didn’t work, and I forgot about Him.
He loved me through this all.
In high school when I decided to choose Jesus it was because I was desperate. Just a few years of living my life for myself had sent me into anxiety, depression, and a whole host of other problems. I chose Jesus because I wanted to be a better person. I chose Jesus because I wanted to be happy. I chose Him because I wanted people to think I had it all together. You see, I was choosing Jesus for all the wrong reasons. I was choosing Him for selfish reasons, so that He would help me in my problems.
Even so, He loved me through this all.
It wasn’t until I was a freshman in college that the Holy Spirit fully consumed my heart and I began to understand what choosing Jesus really meant. I learned that it’s not about choosing Him. I thought that Jesus had been failing me, but I had been getting it all wrong. It’s not about choosing Jesus; it’s about accepting the fact that He has chosen you. It’s about realizing that you are sinful and fall short of what God intended you to be. Then, realizing that He traded places with you because of His immense love for you. Jesus took on your sin and accepted the punishment you deserve for that sin on the cross so that in the eyes of God, YOU can be seen as perfect, flawless, and beautiful. Read closely: because of what Jesus did, God looks down on you and sees a stunningly perfect person, who He loves deeply. Because of this, we get to spend eternity in Heaven with Him. When I realized this truth and accepted it as my truth, my life changed forever.
This time was different. It wasn’t different because my problems disappeared and I no longer struggled with anxiety, or because all of the sudden I was on God’s good side so he sent great things my way. It was different because, for the first time, I had a hope of freedom from the scary things in life. It was different because it was no longer about what I wanted; it was all about Jesus and what he did. 1 John 4:10 says, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” God loved me way before I ‘chose’ to love Him, not because I loved Him first. Jesus is my savior because He loves me; He isn’t my savior because I loved Him first.
Every morning I wake up and remember that Jesus chose me. That He loved me while He was on the cross, He loves me in my sin, and He will continue to love me for all eternity. Knowing this truth is how I know this time was different.