My Walk with God
never knew you: depart from me. God used these words from Matthew 7:23 to cause me to begin a search of the Bible and my heart for the peace and assurance of heaven that I did not have and desperately needed. Please continue reading as it is God’s plan and purpose for everyone to know Him in a real, personal way.
Ever since I can remember, I believed God was in heaven and everyone who died went there, although I was not sure about murderers and thieves. Our family was Lutheran and considered ourselves “good people.”
Looking back through early childhood, grade school, high school, working, marriage and child bearing years, people concerned for my well being and soul crossed my path. My grandparents gave me my first Bible. In my early years my mother took me to Sunday school; later my dad took me to church. Friends invited me to church services, gave me Gospel tracts and prayed for me.
I can vividly remember one summer’s Bible school. I had great difficulty memorizing John 3:16. Years later, I came to realize this verse is the basis for salvation.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Another time, a dear aunt and uncle took me to a revival service. At the end, I went to the front of the church, but what took place is vague in my memory. Many people base their salvation on a similar experience.
During catechetical classes and confirmation, I began reading the Bible on a regular basis. I had little understanding of it, but I was drawn to read it. I did my senior research paper on the first commandment, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
With marriage and children, we were living as we were raised, doing what we thought was right. Looking back on my life, I was doing good works.
As our family began to grow, our house became too small. We found a larger house, but it meant moving further from family. “That’s it!” I thought, “A change of church would make a difference in my life.” I soon found out this was not the answer, and I was still searching for something else. I read in Matthew 7:21, Jesus Christ said, Not everyone that saith unto me Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. And he said, depart from me I never knew you.
“I began to wonder, ‘What if I got to heaven and God said that to me?’”
A new family moved to our area and they were noticeably different. There was a definite outward joy, they talked about the Bible, and invited us to their church. It was there the message of salvation penetrated my heart. At age thirty-one, October, 1969, at my bedside on my knees, I poured out my prideful, self-righteous heart to God. The blinders were finally lifted, I saw myself as a sinner, asked the Lord Jesus Christ to save my soul and take control of my life. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. (1 Timothy 1:15)
“I knew I was saved.”
I experienced changes in my life, but saw no need to be obedient to the Bible and be baptized. I knew I had the assurance of heaven, so what else did I need. God is very patient and allowed my stubborn will to struggle for three years before I took this step of obedience on August 20, 1972. This outward expression of faith produced more growth in my walk with Jesus Christ.
Now decades later, God continues His process of teaching and refining. He is the potter, I am the clay. I must be willing to personally focus on Him, surrender my will, stand firm for Bible truths, and show him my love as his servant. I Corinthians 10:31, Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. The blessings are abundant, and what peace and contentment is in my heart! The Bible says it best in Psalm 37:25, I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.