WHAT IS LIFE

I was scared. Everything that mattered to me had been taken away: my business, my office, my home, my cars, and most of all my belief that I was big shot in control of my life and future. In fact, it now looked like my future, for at least ten years, would be spent in jail for stock fraud and tax evasion.

I found myself in the office of Sven Nylund, a real estate salesman. I was telling him how my life was falling apart. He said in response – “no it isn’t, your life can’t fall apart – because you don’t even know what LIFE is.”

Then he reached across his desk, picked up a Bible, opened it up, and began reading from John 17:3 – he read “THIS IS LIFE, eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

I ignored that and said: “you don’t understand; I could go to prison – I don’t deserve that.”

Sven asked; “Would you like to know what you do deserve?” (I did not answer.)

Then he said; “You deserve to go to hell. You deserve to go to hell because you have ignored God and lived for yourself.”

That got my attention!

Sven then went on to explain that God created us to Know Him; to Love Him; to enjoy and delight in a personal relationship with Him; to honor and glorify and serve Him out of gratitude for His grace and goodness and majesty and provision.

BUT, He pointed out THERE IS A PROBLEM: We were all born separated from God and, as long as we remain separated from Him, our lives here on earth will be spent in either deception or despair. AND we will spend eternity in hell. We are separated from Him because of our sin.

The problem is within us. Our hearts are not right. Our hearts (our desires) crave self protection, self satisfaction, and self glorification. As long as these desires dominate our lives we will have no choice but to live for ourselves and, as a result, fail to love God and others as we were made to. We need to be changed within, we need a new heart!

BUT, Sven said excitedly, there is also a SOLUTION! God gives a new heart (new desires) to those who believe in Jesus Christ. God sent His son to live, die and rise from the dead to pay for our sins, to restore our relationship with Him, and to give us the desire and ability to love Him and others (instead of loving and living for ourselves).

The love of God has provided a way for us to be redeemed and restored to a right relationship with Him. But it is only on His terms: we must come to Him by trusting in His son Jesus Christ. Those who come to Him by faith in Christ are delivered from Hell and instead destined for heaven AND while they remain on earth (those who are redeemed) are given direction for how they should live, power to live the way they should, and the truth that sets them free from the deception and bondage of sin.

That day, over 40 years ago, I was confronted with my sin – not just the lies, lust, and financial deception I was guilty of – but the evil that was deep within me. It was painful. I cried out to God for help and found myself driven to Him. I asked God to Have mercy upon me. I asked Him to forgive me. I committed myself to live for Him instead of myself because of what Christ had done on the cross.

I had no idea of what to expect next. I didn’t realize this was the only the beginning of a process of change that God would be working in me throughout the rest of my life here on this earth.

I’ve heard of people who foolishly say that when they came to faith in Christ that all their problems were solved. That is NOT what happened to me. In fact, I didn’t know what a real problem was until I became a Christian – because I had never before been able to see and face the truth.

I began to realize that true life is not being free from problems, pain, and suffering. On the contrary, true life is experiencing joy and peace in the midst of problems, pain, and suffering. The joy and peace comes from knowing God and His goodness and faithfulness in and through the problems. Even as a baby Christian I began to experience a deep unexplainable peace – I was no longer afraid to face the truth, I no longer had to hide from or seek to escape reality.

And as a new Christian, my desires changed radically. For example, I was given a Bible. Before, the Bible was a boring, confusing book. Now, was alive! Of course it wasn’t just the Bible itself – it was God who was alive in the Bible – and He was revealing Himself and His will for me through the Bible. But, I was shocked at what God was saying. The first thing God said to me as a baby Christian was that I was to accept personal responsibility for all the debts of my corporations. Now this was not the money investors had put into my companies – they all lost all their money. This was debts and bills, my companies had incurred to everyone from accountants and lawyers to banks and credit card companies.

What made this strange was this; before becoming a Christian I had absolutely no intention of paying any of these debts.  These were corporate debts. And any attorney can tell you that one of the main reasons people incorporate is to “escape personal liability”

When I first felt convicted about this, I quickly rationalized that this couldn’t be God speaking – because there was no way I could pay the debts while I was sitting in jail.

Then, to my surprise, the SEC charges were dropped on a technicality (even though I was quilty) and the IRS decided not to proceed with the audit. I was left with no excuse.

Now, I had to decide if I would actually obey God and pay these debts.

I decided I would do it – I would pay the debts! But, my decision and commitment was pretty shallow. My thinking was that if I agreed to do this noble thing – then God would provide the money out of cloud nine. I soon found I was wrong. His plan was for me to learn to WORK.