From Rags to Riches
First, The Rags – I would like to describe to you a little of my life before I came to know Jesus personally.
In the spring of 1978, I was twenty years old and a sophomore at Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas. I was trying to prove my self worth by being unique and by trying to be likable to others. I wanted everyone to like me. I was popular and well known on campus. I always tried to give the impression of being very sure of myself. However, I had to continually reassure myself by telling myself that I was a good person. I clothed myself with these thoughts, thinking that I was “well dressed,” but in reality these were only “dirty rags” that I wore.
I would seek happiness through friends and going to parties, etc. However there was a great void in my life, but I did not know what this void was, or how to fill it. I felt alone. I could be in a room full of people and still feel completely alone. I did not have peace or love, even though I had a lot of close friends and family who cared about me. In my life at that time there was a constant presence of uneasiness and uncertainty about life.
However, there were two people who knew that I was not as sure of myself as I tried to make everyone else believe; my earthly father and the Heavenly Father. The Bible says in Isaiah 64:6, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.”
The transformation – The decision that transformed my life
In the past I had had disputes and conflicts with my dad on the subject of my lifestyle, my university classes (I was an art major), and the fact that my dad believed that I was wasting my time and his money. When I came home during Easter weekend, these conflicts started up again. I had decided to confront my dad and convince him of my personal merits. However, when I gave him all my arguments, he confronted me with my need for Jesus Christ in my life and His righteousness. My dad explained that the only way of being justified before God was to receive Jesus Christ as my Savior. That night, lying in my bed, I thought about what my dad had said to me.
The next morning, Easter Sunday, I went to church with a friend of mine. In listening to the message, I had the impression that the pastor was speaking to me personally. It was as though someone had told the pastor about me and that he knew everything about what I had been going through recently. (I know now that it was the Holy Spirit that gave the pastor the words to speak that touched my heart). The message of Romans 10:9 and 10 was presented, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart God hast raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
After the message, I went to ask the pastor if I could talk to him. He took me into his office. I was so convicted by the message and my need for Jesus in my life, that I couldn’t even tell the pastor what I wanted to talk about. After a few moments, he asked me, “Do you want to ask Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins and receive Him as your Savior?” I said an emphatic “Yes!” Then he led me in a prayer to receive Christ as my Savior. But first, he said something like, “God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart.” He then led me in a prayer something like this:
“Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that you died on the cross for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I now invite you to come into my life. I want to trust you as my Savior and follow you as Lord.”
The Riches (New Clothes) – The difference in my life since I received Christ as Savior
The Holy Spirit, now living in me, began immediately to work changes in my life and to re-clothe me. Just as quickly, I began to get rid of my “rags” and there is a remarkable difference between my life in the past and my present life.
After receiving Christ as my personal Savior, it was as if a great burden had been lifted from my shoulders and I had a sense of inner peace. I knew that God had answered my prayer to save me from an eternity separated from Him. I knew this by the trustworthiness of His Word, the Bible. Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” The Bible also says in 1 John 5:13, “These things I have written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
My new personal relationship with Jesus Christ living in me helped me to get rid of my self-righteous attitudes. My life over the years since then could be characterized as being a life of peace. I have a peace that could only from Christ who dwells in me, and enables me to live the Christian life. Oh, I still have my share of daily struggles and needs. However, I now trust in the Lord in everything. The Bible also tells us in Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”