“The life which I now live” Galatians 2:20 – The Holy Bible
My life that I now live ~ from living for self to living for Christ
The apostle Paul wrote “the life which I now live…, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20). Paul often spoke of the life that he once lived and the defining moment that forever changed him. There are significant events that shape and alter the course of one’s future and destiny. For some, it is early childhood events that occur in the family that mold their thinking and shape their future. For others, this may occur later in life: in college, in the military, in the work place, or in the course of everyday life’s experiences. For some it may be a joyful event; for others a tragic event. Related below is an overview of events that shaped my early life, as well as the defining moment that forever altered my life and eternal destiny.
My privileged childhood
I was born July 22, 1947, in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, a post World War II baby, to William Preston and Eleanor Louise (Hohrath) Morrison, each a veteran of WWII. I was privileged as a child to be raised by these God fearing parents who acknowledged the Bible as the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). The Bible was read in the house; prayer was offered at dinner with a mention of thankfulness for Jesus Christ, His dying for sinners and our need for salvation. Mother would often sing hymns as a means of imparting spiritual truth into her children.
From my earliest recollection, I attended Sunday School and Gospel meetings at the Hatboro Gospel Hall. I can not remember a time when I did not know that I needed to be saved. I knew that I was a sinner (Romans 3:23). I knew that if I died without acknowledging Christ as my Savior, I would spend eternity in Hell and then the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15).
My teenage years and early adult life ~ living for self, enjoying this life’s pleasures
Several times as a youth, I became very concerned about my sins and my need for salvation, but each time, pride hindered me from becoming a Christian. What would my friends think? (1Corinthians 1:18). I thank God for parents that continued to love me and pray for my salvation during the many years I wandered as the prodigal (Luke 15:11-24).
As I grew into manhood, I became progressively preoccupied with what this world had to offer. Initially, I was interested in college and a career that would lead to suitable employment and financial security. However, spawned by college life, a part time ACME Markets grocery job, and new-found friends, I was introduced to whole new manner of life and became increasingly interested in what I thought was the “good life.”
With the freedom I now had by owning my own car, and the natural decreased parental restrictions of being a little older, I began to run wild. I stepped over the line and entered into a world of partying and self-gratification that captivated me and eventually led me to move away from home. Now, no longer with any restrictions, I plunged into the most riotous carefree living imaginable; there were no boundaries. Money became the motivating driving force in my life so I could buy fast cars and motorcycles, enjoy exotic recreational activities and vacations, feed my nicotine, alcohol and drug habits, live a licentious lifestyle, and become involved in what ever my little heart desired. Somehow I was able to keep my head together enough to remain employed at ACME. I continued to move up the corporate ladder until eventually I became an ACME store manager.
My rude awakening
In my early thirties, God graciously again dealt with me through a series of circumstances, beginning the day that my Aunt Kate died on December 11, 1980, when I was age 33.
I had reached my desired career goal and was able to afford many of this world’s pleasures; I was enjoying life, living it to the hilt. But, Aunt Kate’s death spoke loudly to me; not only is death a reality; there also is judgment to face, Hebrews 9:27. This woman who had loved me, no matter what I became involved in, was gone. I knew that I would never see her again unless I was saved. Her death vividly reminded me of the joy of the blessed hope of the Christian- heaven!
I was caused to remember a Bible verse I had learned as a child in Sunday School, “what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul.” (Mark 8:36). No longer did the worldly things I had so eagerly pursued seem so important; no longer did they supply the satisfaction they once did.
My life of fear and misery
I became increasingly concerned about my soul’s salvation and where I would spend eternity. This time I had a sense of urgency; I was afraid if I did not earnestly pursue salvation, I may not ever again have the opportunity to get saved. God’s warning is “My Spirit shall not always strive with man” (Genesis 6:3). I remembered several Bible verses “behold now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2) and “Boast not about tomorrow; for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” (Proverbs 27:1).
Life became thoroughly miserable- fear of death and eternity began to grip me. My life of partying with its associated alcohol and drugs, and lifestyle worried me. I had friends die as a result of alcohol and drugs. No longer was I able to enjoy the recreational activities that were once so pleasurable. The fear of death permeated my mind on every occasion when I participated in parachuting, flying gliders or road racing. Even simple everyday driving became frightful; the thought of an accident scared me. The thought of dying constantly loomed in my mind.
My struggle with pride
Troubled by my condition, I began to read the Bible. Many well-known Bible verses reminded me of the love of God but also of the wrath of God. It was then that I read “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me?” (Romans 7:24). That was me. Life was miserable! I was fearful of dying, fearful of Hell.
I wanted to be delivered from my sin but, at the same time, I was still bothered by ‘what would my friends think.’ Pride has kept many people from accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Refusing to admit sin and acknowledging that, in their own strength, they cannot do anything to inherit eternal life, has been a stumbling block for many people. Solomon wrote in the Bible of this difficulty, which has plagued so many people: “The fear of man brings a snare (trap): but whoever puts his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” (Proverbs 29.25). Furthermore, the Bible informs that there will be many people in Hell, and eternally separated from God because of their fear of what others would think or say about them (Revelation 21:8).
God, through various circumstances of life, graciously continued to deal with me over the next three years until I came to the point where I no longer was concerned about my friends. I was concerned about myself! No longer did I care what others would think of me as a Christian. I desired salvation above all else.
I continued to read the Bible. While reading “That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9) I confronted the fact that it was pride that was keeping me from becoming saved. It was pride that was keeping me from telling (confessing to) my friends that I believed the Bible.
On November 10, 1983, at the age of 36, I took God at His word, and by faith I received Jesus Christ as my Savior. That was my second birth (John 3:3, 7), a spiritual birth into the family of God (John 1:12). I now know that my sins are forgiven, that Jesus Christ is my Savior, and that I am assured of heaven for all eternity. Then with a sense of relief and peace, like never before, and with joy in knowing that I was saved, I called my Dad, my Mom, and then my family and friends, and shared my salvation based on the truth of Romans 10:9.
My search for a church
Now, as a new Christian, a spiritual babe in Christ at age 36, I wanted to go to church and I began to attend various churches. However as I continued to read my Bible, and learn a little from Paul’s preserved letters to the churches, I began to question some of the practices in many of the churches I attended. The basic Biblical truths of Acts 2:41-42 became precious to me: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: …. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
Occasionally, I would attend a meeting at the Hatboro Gospel Hall, the church I attended as a youth. Embarrassed by my past life, and not really feeling fit to be among them, I never thought that I could be accepted by the Christians at the Hatboro Gospel Hall, even less to be able to come into fellowship with those ‘good’ people. Furthermore would God allow this? And why would He? Eventually I came to an understanding from 1Corinthians 6:11 and other scriptures that He had forgiven me for my sinful past. I also learned that I was a new totally new person (2Corinthians 5:17) now that I was saved! And oh how the Christians at the Hatboro Gospel Hall lovingly accepted me, kindly embraced me, and nurtured friendship. There was warmth there that I really did not experience when attending other places of worship.
Increasingly I wanted to be part of a scriptural church, a testimony and a witness to God’s love and grace in a particular locality. My place, as a Christian, according to scripture, was gathered to His Name; in fellowship with other Christians. First I was baptized on September 7th, 1986. This was followed by being received into the fellowship and participating in my first Breaking of Bread meeting at Hatboro the following week on September 14th, 1986. There, united with fellow brothers, as a holy priest (1Peter 2:5), I offered up spiritual sacrifices of praise unto God in thankfulness for the One who died as my Substitute at Calvary. Shortly thereafter, I had the privilege of publicly sharing my testimony of becoming a Christian as I participated in my first gospel meeting December 28, 1986.
Then I began to grow as a Christian, nurtured by spiritual brethren in Bible studies, ministry, and personal instruction. Progressively, I grew to more fully appreciate the local church assembly for its adherence to Biblical pattern; a place where men did not glory in self, or their own accomplishments, but rather a place where Christ was exalted and given the preeminence. Since then, there has been the privilege of teaching a Sunday School class and working with young people. And now there is a growing exercise to reach out into our surrounding neighborhood in a greater capacity with the gospel.
My motivation to live for the Lord
A life that was once lived for self, has taken on new meaning and purpose. More than 20 years have passed since salvation’s day and I still marvel at the grace of God to me. I pray that I will be preserved from failing Him; and that I will live a long and fruitful life to His glory. Praise God He didn’t ignore me. In mercy and grace, because of His unfathomable love, He sought me out and drew me unto Himself. This serves as a motivating force for me to labor together with the Christians in Hatboro to sound forth the gospel of the grace of God to those around us whose minds have been blinded … to the truth of the glorious gospel of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:4).
The exhortation of Paul to the Corinthian assembly was: “be stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1Corinthians 15:58). Often when the tug of this world and the activities of my former life rise up in my mind, the words of Francis Havergal’s poem have served to remind me of my blessed Lord and spur me to continue to labour on in the work of the Lord:
That I might ransomed be, And quickened from the dead;
Thy life was given for me; What have I given for thee?