I Was an Empty Shell,
Walking Around with No Purpose!
I grew up in church and also attended Christian schools. Therefore I knew the Bible and what it had to say. I partially remember an experience when I was six years old when I prayed a prayer for salvation. For many years, I based my salvation on that experience and the partial memory of a six year old mind.
But my Christianity was only an act. I adapted my life to what I felt was appropriate as a Christian. In elementary school I obeyed all the rules of the teachers. I even obeyed the unwritten rules that exist on how to act and behave in order to have friends. In the public high school, I separated myself just enough to show others I was different. To others I became the good moral girl who went to church and called herself a Christian. But there was no change in my life.
When I enrolled in a Christian college, I found myself in a totally new environment. People there would share what the Lord was doing in their lives, or what blessing He had given them lately. I was also asked to share what the Lord had been teaching me and doing in my life, but I could not. I had nothing to share.
“Up until this point, I had hardly ever read my Bible outside of church, and I had never sought the Lord on any decisions that I had to make.”
I began to read my Bible every day, in an effort to grow closer to God and so I would fit in. But this was simply a habit that I found myself easily putting on and off when I came home for Christmas or summer breaks. I was living in two worlds, one at college and one at home. I blamed my change in behavior on many different things, but I still felt I was a Christian and was saved.
After graduating, I began attending the Lehigh Valley Baptist Church in Emmaus, PA. I began hearing things I had never heard before, such as analyzing your salvation to make sure you were saved. There had been many times I had doubted my salvation in high school and college, but I always felt that Satan was just attacking me.
“However, now as I heard the messages and examined my heart, I doubted the reality of my conversion.”
Soon I began doing a Bible study, and through the study and the services, I became more concerned that maybe I truly was not saved. But I kept pushing it out of my mind, not willing to admit to myself that I was living a lie. The day before I was to do the final Bible study, I came to the point where I verbally admitted to my mom that maybe I was not saved. Having to say that to someone was a very hard thing for me to do. It was a verbal admission that something was not right.
I completed the Bible study late on Monday afternoon, and that same night, I began to seriously analyze my life as a Christian. Over the next two days, I spent hours alone with God, studying His Word and asking Him to allow me to see myself as He saw me. The Lord showed me that my life held none of the outward evidences or inner motives that a Christian should possess. He also showed me that after my earlier profession of salvation, my life had not changed, but that I had continued in the path that I had chosen.
“The Lord showed me myself through His eyes.”
I was a sinner who was lost and on my way to hell. I was an enemy of God. My head was full of the knowledge of God, but my heart was full of myself and was empty of God. The Lord showed me that I had been lying to myself and leading a hypocritical life that only He could change.
If anyone had challenged my testimony before this time, I would have defended myself, claiming I was saved. But the Lord was challenging me, and I had nothing with which to defend myself. I knew I no longer wanted to be an empty shell that was living a lie, and I no longer desired to be an enemy of God. I wanted my sins to be forgiven. I recognized my need to have a real relationship with Him.
Wednesday night, after church, I went home and spent time alone with God. I asked Him to forgive me of my sins and wash me with His blood. The Lord has changed my life. I am no longer an empty shell walking around with no purpose. My attitude toward the Lord has changed. He has given me a desire to read His Word and grow close to Him and to follow His way instead of my own.