Forty three years ago today, October 1st (it was 1967 then and I was 18!), I became a Christian. I specifically asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. I’m grateful for the foundation I’d received from going to church as a child, but I hadn’t really committed myself and understood the full Gospel message. That day I more clearly knew I was a sinner in need of a Savior. It was a great day and began a journey of learning more and more all these years.

On that day, I must admit that a lot of my motivation was hoping that receiving Christ would mean I could manage life better–maybe even become perfect! Well, now after 43 years, that myth is totally out of the equation. There are ups and downs; curves and mountains. But that just keeps me trusting God.

I sometimes remember what it was like before I became a Christian. I was guilt-ridden, blaming myself for everything, and trying to earn my way into heaven and earn God’s love. How wonderful that I’m free from guilt and can ask for forgiveness and be cleansed as soon as I sin. I don’t have to beat myself over the head for what I do wrong trying to earn back God’s love. I know that His great love for me and you is totally unconditional. It is not based on our performance. Someone said, “There’s nothing you can do to make God love you more and there’s nothing you can do to make God love you less.” Knowing that, I think, is the biggest difference.

I think it’s good to reflect back to where we were and the burdens we carried before we trusted Jesus for salvation. It reminds us of the difference between a striving life and a surrendered life. There’s still problems and uncertainty, but there’s an assurance of His help and future glory.

I can apply that principle to my journey in pain. When I focus on the fact that I can’t sit–it’s just too painful–I can get discouraged and think God hasn’t answered my prayers (and those of you who have prayed–thank you very much). But then I think of what my pain level was before He began healing me through various means–the latest: my second cortisone shot.

Originally, I was in so much pain that I was taking vicadin continually along with 800 mg ibuprofen every 8 hours; now I only take one Alleve. I can get up and down without gritting my teeth. I can lean over to wash my face without grimacing. There is progress!

If you sometimes feel discouraged because you haven’t reached perfection in your Christian walk or you keep struggling with the same issue; just remember–in God’s power, you have made progress.

The Apostle Paul in Galatians 6:9 encourages us with, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” I tend to apply that verse only to doing good for others, but couldn’t we also apply it to our own sanctification process of “doing right/good”? And as we persevere, we will reap holiness and closeness to the Lord.

Don’t become weary!