I have always been a Christian. Well, I have always claimed to be a Christian. I grew up in a Christian household, I went to church, and I attended Sunday School. So, I was a Christian right? Not quite. Even though those activities were apart of my everyday life, the Spirit of Christ wasn’t actually in me. So, on the outside, I was a Christian. But on the inside, I was far from it.
I carried that mindset with me through middle school, junior high and high school. I did things that weren’t of God, I said things that didn’t honor Him and most importantly, I wasn’t being the man He created me to be. You see, I did things my way. Regardless of what the Bible said, I did things how I thought they should be done. I lived life the way I wanted to live despite knowing it was a sin against my Heavenly Father. At the time, I wasn’t spiritually mature. I would read things like “God loves all of His children” and assume that I can continue doing what I was doing because I was loved… until everything changed. That is my freshman year of college.
Sitting in my dorm, browsing the internet, not quite sure how I came across it ― an online sermon was the start of a new life for me. From that moment I knew something was going to be different. I started listening to more messages, changing my playlists and really pressing into the Lord that by the end of the year He was all I ever thought about. And yeah, delighting in Him gave me a sense of peace, but I was not at peace completely because I knew a part of me was still deliberately going against His word.
The summer rolled around and everything changed. I tried to press in harder than I ever had before. When praying, I often would say “Here’s my heart Lord. Take it and do what you need to.” And man, did He do just that. During those moments I’ve realized that prayer is powerful, it’s real and it works. And by giving my heart over to God, He was able to change my worldly desires into His desires. And by the end of the summer, I noticed myself starting to loathe the things I once loved. Or at least thought I loved.
The following two verses really hit home with me and touched me in a way I was not prepared for:
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2
“When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:20-23
Both passages describe where I was, where I am now and above all else, the good news of Jesus Christ. But it doesn’t stop there; it's actually just getting started. The absolute best part of the story is that I will never be good enough to sit at the right hand of my Father. Never. But through the death and resurrection of Jesus, and my acceptance of Him, I am given that gift.
John 3:16 states “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
Eternal life; just let that sink in with you for a moment. Eternal life. Forever. Without end. I am a sinner, yet I get to spend eternal life in Heaven because of the price Christ paid for me on the cross. That’s love. True love. A love I want living inside of me. And because that love is inside of me and my debt has already been paid, I am given a second chance to do things in His honor and the regret I held onto because of the old me is washed away. I can proudly say that if you know me based on who I was a year ago, you don’t know me at all. My growth and strength is found in Jesus. So, allow me to reintroduce myself:
My name is Jacquez Printup, and the Grace of God changed my life.
Jacquez Printup is a blogger at The Post.