Friday, February 26, 2016

3 Paragraphs: My Testimony

I have been a follower of Jesus for nearly three decades. While some question if a child can fully embrace a faith apart from her or his parents, to the best of my ability, I was fully aware of the reality of the Living God at a young age. I remember God healing and transforming aspects in my life as early as third grade. Even though I desperately struggled with doubt as a young adult, a story I'll share in a future post, I recognize that God has been with me guiding me, protecting me, teaching me, inspiring me, comforting me, and transforming me all along the way.

Now in my mid-thirties, I have read dozens of books that have shaped my faith. But there are three paragraphs that had a significant impact on my faith formation when I was in the early stages. When I was a junior in high school my dad gave me a copy of A.W. Tozer's, The Pursuit of God. I remember taking it to school and reading it during our mandatory reading segments (gotta love TAAS test prep). This book had a profound impact on my early faith formation. I recently picked it back up and was instantly reminded of how much of a gem it is. Even though Tozer wrote this on a train ride back in 1948, God continues to use it to teach, challenge, and transform me.

There are three paragraphs in particular that I underlined and read over and over. These three paragraphs helped give me a simple understanding of God's desire for us to enjoy God through creation and how sin can derail a person's life.

Here are my three paragraphs (Try not to get distracted by the fact that he didn't use gender neutral pronouns):
Before the Lord God made man upon the earth He first prepared for him by creating a world of useful and pleasant things for his sustenance and delight. In the Genesis account of creation these are simply called "things." They were made for man's uses, but they were meant always to be external to the man and subservient to him. In the deep heart of the man was a shrine where none but God was worthy to come. Within him was God; without, a thousand gifts which God had showered upon him.
But sin has introduced complications and has made those very gifts of God a potential source of ruin to the soul.
Our woes began when God was forced out of His central shrine and "things" were allowed to enter. Within the human heart "things" have taken over. Men have now by nature no peace within their hearts, for God is crowned there is no longer, but there in the moral dusk stubborn and aggressive usurpers fight among themselves for first place on the throne.
These are my three paragraphs. What are yours?

Note: I hope for this to turn into a series of posts that tell pieces of my faith story.