Diane Epling

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I Called Myself A Christian

Diane Epling

Author

For years, I called myself a Christian without having an intimate relationship with God. I knew ABOUT God, but I didn’t KNOW God. It was like I was living one step out of an elite community who were known to God and was always striving to step into the center of God’s chosen. I would see the love of God shining through other believers, and I knew I wasn’t experiencing what they experienced. What was it? Did God love them more than He loved me? Never! I wanted what they had, so why wasn’t I included in God’s inner circle? What I came to realize was that it wasn’t because God loved others more than He loved me. It was because I loved others more than I loved Him.

I discovered that talking and acting like a Christian didn’t make me one. Unintentionally, I was idolizing the world—the relationships I saw others were having with God. God had to take me into the wilderness, away from all my idols, and teach me to surrender my heart to Him. He is very clear about what he wants from us. In Luke 10:27 ESV, God tells us, And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” More than anything, I wanted the relationship others had with God. Notice I said I wanted it “more than anything.”

You can call yourself a Christian, but to be a true child of God, you must surrender everything—your emotions, your greed, pride, fears, anger, frustration, and most of all, your love. Unfortunately, it isn’t an overnight transformation when you suddenly have this intimate relationship with God, and you never feel all those worldly emotions again. Instead, God teaches you to bring those emotions to Him, to lay them down, and together, learn to fight and claim victory over all the negativity the enemy brings into our lives. I learned that I could draw closer to God when I stepped aside and put Him first, allowing His Spirit to move through me.

It’s a process. I am a work in progress, but I want God “more than anything.” I still call myself a Christian and think of myself as His child, but my relationship isn’t based on what I can do for Him. I am a Christian, not because of how the world expects me to talk or act, but because God’s love means “more than anything” to me.

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What does God teach us in Scripture?

1 John 2:15-17 ESV

Related Scripture

1 Corinthians 8:3 ESV • John 12:25 ESV
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.