"What Changed Me"
By Drew Zuverink
"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in your inward being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge."
What is it that convinces someone to become a follower of Christ?
Undoubtedly there are many different factors that contribute to a person deciding become a Christian. Some have been convinced through apologetic arguments that provide rational arguments for the validity of the Christian faith. Some others decide to give their life to Christ after witnessing a miracle, and there is a great book called, "Miracles Today," by Craig Keener that tells some of their stories. Another common catalyst for becoming a Christian is when a person's life hits rock bottom, and they just don't see another way out, and so they run to God. These are just a few examples of the many different means in which God accomplishes the goal of saving people, but I believe that if we could boil all of the factors down to the very core, there is one thing that has the power to truly change a person's heart - that was the case for me at least.
I grew up in a small town in Michigan called Zeeland. Most of the people, at least that we knew, would identify as Christian. I never counted exactly how many churches were in downtown Zeeland, but for a small town, there were arguably more than necessary. My family always went to church, sometimes twice on Sundays, and I was raised with the knowledge of God. I understood that God was all powerful and that everything and everyone was in his hands. I also understood that God was a good God and never did anything that wasn't perfect. I believed that Jesus was the one true savior of the world and that forgiveness and salvation was found in him alone. I understood all of that, and I believed it, but I still did not choose to follow Christ until I was in my twenties. You see, there was one thing that had not clicked in my brain yet, but once it did - everything changed.
You have to understand, I knew all of those things about who God was, but I also knew who I was.
Are some of you extra intrigued now? Maybe ready to hear stories of terrible things that I have done? It's actually worse than that.
You see, growing up, I wasn't anything special. I was a typical kid with lots of insecurities. I wasn't unpopular but I wasn't the most popular kid in school either. I was good at some things but never great. I did some bad things, but even then, I wasn't bad enough to have a super powerful testimony. I was just kind of ordinary - plain. I knew I was sinful enough to need Jesus' forgiveness but I didn't think I was sinful enough for God to want to use my story for some kind of a "celebrity testimony." The world would not change because Drew Zuverink decided to become a Christian. I was stuck in a weird place of feeling like I was too sinful for God to love me and also too ordinary for God to care.
That all changed one day while I was cleaning windows for my job while listening to a sermon by Francis Chan. I can't remember exactly what he said but for the first time in my life I believed and felt like God loved me and wanted a relationship with me. Up until that day I had felt like I was just one insignificant flower in a field of thousands, but now I felt seen by the God of the universe.
We can understand lots of things about God and about ourselves, but unless we understand and truly believe that we are personally cherished and cared for by God, it will be tough to want to give our lives to him. We all want to be seen, but when we live in a world with 8 billion people in it - many of whom are more impressive than we are, sometimes we feel invisible. God see's us, all of us, and he cares for us individually. He not only cares about all of his children as a whole but he cares for each individual child as well. He created you, he cares for you, he loves you, he wants only good things for you and he wants to have a great relationship with you. I don't know what it was that made whatever Francis Chan said click in my mind so that I could believe this - but I pray that God would do the same thing for some of you with these words as well.
God cares about you.
No, not me - the porn addict. Yes, you - the porn addict.
No, not me - the one with the anger problem. Yes, you - the one with the anger problem.
No, not me - the insignificant one. Yes, you, and you're not insignificant to him.
No, not me - you don't know what I've done. Yes, you - and whatever it is that you have done, it's not wider or longer or higher or deeper than the love of Christ.
Let the words of scripture seep deep into your soul, don't resist them, just accept them. Ephesians 3:18 "I pray that you may come to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ."