“Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”
I was saved when I was 10 years old. April 1, 2001. It was at a revival in a small town of a whopping 1,400 people. Jesus led me to the altar during worship; there truly is nothing more fitting. Music has always resided in the deepest corners of my soul. The right chord combination, a minor key, or unique lyrics can send my heart into explosion. I grew up in a family full of musicians and singers. Those who, I believe, hold the most talent in the world are the people who share my DNA. Having placed me into a musically inclined family, God knew from the time he formed me in my mother’s womb that I would physically, emotionally, and spiritually respond to music.
After my salvation, it was evident that God was preparing me to use my love for music as a way to serve Him. I alsothought this to be true: “I was saved at a young age so that the people around me who did not know the love of Christ could also be saved.” I remember my best friend’s mother telling me, “Shaneigh, you may be the only Jesus people see.” While this is true, I took it to mean that it was my personal responsibilityto save others because I may be the only Christian they know. Therefore, I have spent almost my entire life trying to personally lead my loved ones to Christ in my own power.
I fought to show others the way Jesus changed my life. I tried to tell them of the peace and comfort he brought. I even prayed with them. I remember being 13 years old telling them that it was okay to not pray aloud because I understood that it may make them feel awkward. I remember praying to God that “I” would someday save them, and I apologized for not having yet done so.
Fast-forward to age 27. I was fighting a battle I didn’t realize could be so encompassing. Even as an adult, I knew my mission here on earth was to save the lost souls closest to me. During this battle, I beggedGod to use me. To help me break through to the ones I love. I sat crying on my couch one night talking with my husband about the problems I was facing and the responsibility I felt I had. The shocking part of all of this was I had no idea the amount of stress I had placed on myself. When my husband asked what was truly bothering me, it took me 10 minutes of starting my sentence, crying, then starting again, only to stop 7 more times! In between lumps in my throat, snot, and tears streaming to the corners of my mouth, I realized I had never actually said that it was my responsibility to save my loved ones. It was obvious now that this was an idea that I had tucked so deeply inside my heart that speaking of it caused more pain and guilt than I could bear.
When I finally pushed the words out, my husband, so logically and tenderly, said, “That is not YOUR job. God, and only God, is capable of saving others.”
Even with this truth, I asked, “But have I done enough?! In the 17 years I have known Jesus as my Lord and Savior, have I done enough to show my loved ones who He is?”
These questions were answered so clearly and undeniably the following Sunday morning during no other time but worship. On stage, as part of the church band, I was playing “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music. The chorus says, “I’m no longer a slave to fear/I am a child of God.” Although I have played and heard this song a thousand times, God spoke to me this specific time in ways that I could understand. In the midst of heartache and fighting a battle I could not win, I heard Him loud and clear: “You have done enough my faithful servant.” Y’all! I broke down. If I wouldn’t have had a guitar hanging from my neck, I would have fallen to my knees. I was enough! I had always been enough. . .I, right there in that moment, was “no longer a slave” to the responsibility I so naively gave myself at 10 years old. I was reminded that I, thankfully, am not a savior but that I am a child of God.
God is the only one who can save others and gift them with eternal life. The Bible says in John 14:6, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” While it is our job to be disciples, we do not have the power and authority to save. And to even believe we do is a disservice to God. He sent His son to die, to be beaten, mocked, and rejected. Through HIM we are saved, not by our good deeds or our desires for others. No matter how closely our walk with Jesus is, it is always Him who delivers others from their besetting sins. It is Jesus who will embrace the loved ones in our lives with comfort, joy, and peace-not us! We, sisters, are human.
While we do not have the power to save, God gives us gifts and talents to use for His glory, and He uses those gifts and talents as a vessel to speak to us so that the Holy Spirit may move in others.
God uses music to speak to me, and, while I may not understand God’s timing, I know he is speaking to my loved ones, too. I will continue to be his disciple and speak his word faithfully knowing that I am His child, I am not a slave to my fears, and that he is the one and only Savior.
Do you, like I did, personally feel like it is your job to save the ones closest to you? If so, please reread John 14:6 and pray over this verse.
2. How or when does God speak to you? What effect does this have on your life?
3. Do you know your spiritual gift? If so, what is it and how are you currently using it to serve God?