I’m Justin Edge.
As a child I really felt God’s call on my life, at about five years old. I was in church one day (we were attending Coral Ridge Presbyterian at the time). God really spoke to me and said, “I want you to be dedicated to Me. I want you for My own.”
And I agreed. But I didn’t really make it my own. I just felt that call.
And I lived the rest of my childhood in kind of an “on again, off again” manner. I’d get real excited about God for like a week, and then spend a month just not caring.
It was like I always had God as this little compartment in my life. So I had my “real life” over here, and then God was a piece of my life.
I always thought, “Well, if I take this step, I can’t go back. I may regret it later.” And I just didn’t feel there was any power in me to go beyond, to really make that step and stick with it.
Being rather conservative toward God, I thought, you know, I’d rather hold back and promise less and deliver, than to promise more and not deliver – up until I was about 15.
One of the other youth in our church had gone to Poland with Teen Missions International. When he came back, he was so excited for God, and it was obvious. Something happened to him. And I really felt God tugging at my heart saying, “I want you to go.”
I rolled it around. I kind of wrestled with it for a while. I said, “Well, it’s just a summer thing. It’s not like I’m dedicating my whole life to be a missionary here. It’s just a summer thing, so I can take the small step.” I chose to go to Brazil because I’d always wanted to go as a kid.
That summer, God really changed my life.
There was one particular moment that really stood out for me. We were boarding a boat to go down the Amazon River, to take us to our worksite, and we found ourselves surrounded by Brazilian officers who were very suspicious. They came and surrounded us, and of course, back there, the police are hardcore and they had submachine guns and the whole nine yards.
They weren’t going to let us go. They were possibly going to arrest us, which is usually what they did when they encountered groups of Christians.
One of them trained his gun on me directly.
In that moment, God came to me. It was just an awareness. I knew the faith had become my own. I stood there without fear. I stood there with the greatest sense of peace that I have ever had in my entire existence. And it really didn’t matter to me whether I lived or died. As long as Jesus Christ was in me and I was in Him.
It was at that moment that I knew that His power came into me. And I knew that I didn’t have to live the rest of my life for Him in my own power. That I could dedicate my life to Him and trust Him to fulfill my end of the bargain. I knew I didn’t have to white-knuckle my way through this. I knew that God was telling me, “This is it. You’re mine.” And in that moment I dedicated my life to God.
And we prayed, and the police, instead of arresting us, there was just this instant change. The translator couldn’t tell us what happened. He’d never seen it before. He just said, “God acted.” That’s all he said, “God acted.” Instead of arresting us they just put down their guns and helped us carry our stuff on the boat.
From that day on, there was a shift. When I was five and God called me, Jesus became a part of my life. But there’s a huge difference between Jesus Christ being a part of your life and Jesus Christ being your life.
It’s getting to the place where almost literally nothing else matters but Christ. Where you can lose your possessions, your family, your life, and scarcely notice that there’s been a loss at all. That’s the path that Christ has taken me down.