Jeff said... "How has love changed your life?":
Years ago I was hiking with a group in North Carolina. For some reason which I don't even now remember, I got really, really, mad...I was EXTREMELY agitated! In fact, I took my walking stick and, in a fit of immature anger, broke it in half against a tree. I was the last one in the line of hikers, so, realizing I could not go on with such an attitude, which would ruin everyone else's (and my) day (because, if I continued with that attitude, I knew people would start saying things like, ("What's your problem? Why are your acting like such a jerk?"), I dropped to my knees and quietly (yet very sincerely) prayed. A few minutes later, I didn't stand up...instead, I actually LEAPED up with incredible JOY and Exuberation! I was extremely EXCITED and incredibly HAPPY---SO happy, that I lifted up my hands to God, rejoicing, and began jumping up and down for joy! I ran...actually, I BOUNCED...jumping up and down in excitement, to catch up to the rest of the group. God had not only taken away my furious anger, but He had replaced it with His joy. My attitude had been INSTANTANEOUSLY changed, to the very opposite extreme..to a RADICAL degree.
Another time ...and this happened after I had already been saved...I was deeply burdened with guilt over a specific sin that I had commited...this was the most burdened and guilty I had ever been and felt in my entire life. For the first and only time in my life, I seriously began believing (in ignorance) that I had committed the unprardonable sin. I began to consider that, no matter what I did from that from that point on...even if I asked for forgiveness...I was still going to burn in Hell forever. Everything that I had done and believed in my life didn't matter, because I had now possibly committed a sin that was absolutely unforgivable. I wondered if, no matter what happened, I was now destined for Hell, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. I felt like there was a heavy, black cloud of depression and hopelessness over me. I was so upset and distraught over this, that it actually caused me to throw up!
Well, since I had nothing to lose, I knelt down and prayed. Even though I didn't believe I could be forgiven, I begged for forgivenss anyway, pouring my heart and soul out to the Lord Jesus, turning away from my sin and turning to Him for help. I was completely, totally, deeply sincere with God, and it was a true, heartfelt prayer. Suddenly, and instantly, I felt a huge, gigantic, incredibly heavy weight being lifted off of me! The 'dark cloud' which had seemed to cover me, suddenly vanished!
People often use the phrase, "it was like a heavy weight had been lifted off of me," to the point of being over-used, so that it is almost a meaningless phrase anymore. Well, for the first time in my life, that phrase became real to me. I suddenly felt sitting relax...no, something far deeper. I suddenly knew that all was right with my soul. I was confident that nothing could harm me, because I was restored to God, and He was protecting me. Even someone being rescued after being buried for days by an earthquake could not feel such soul-deep peace. I felt like I had gone from Hell to Heaven in an instant...from a sense of the darkest depression, total futility, and complete hopelessness, to a anything else in the world! And this change had occurred in a split-second!