After watching the final presidential debate last night, I found myself again getting caught up in everyone’s social media commentary, fact debunking and passionate opinion pieces about the potential destruction of our country if (insert your disliked candidate here) gets elected. I had reposted an old blog earlier about keeping our peace, relevant to those of us who have been getting so caught up in what’s happening in our country that we lost sight of God’s sovereignty, so when I ran across a great video posing the question “Are you REALLY Saved?” I took it as a friendly reminder from the Lord to keep my focus on the things that really matter.
The truth is that no matter who becomes president, and no matter what happens to America as a result, making a decision to follow Jesus Christ is all that really matters. We all NEED to be able to answer yes to the question “Are you really saved?”
I was reminded me of the day I fully surrendered to Jesus Christ, February 9, 2014 – a day I will never forget. However it also reminded me of March 24, 2014, the day I first got baptized and SAID I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, yet in reality I now must sheepishly admit that in my heart my profession of faith at that time was much like Simon the sorcerer’s sinful profession you can read about in Acts 8:9-25.
The night before I was also reflecting on the first time God really pulled on my heart to accept Jesus back in 2007 while listening to Zig Ziglar’s “A Spiritual Journey” on a drive to my parents house immediately after ending a dysfunctional relationship. I remember listening to Zig’s story about how his life was in shambles and nothing worked right until he repented and accepted Christ. I can clearly recall feeling so compelled that Jesus was the missing piece of my life, yet my next thought was about all the things I would have to give up because of my sinful lifestyle. Sadly I ignored what I now know were the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and my life spiraled into even more heartache and turmoil and I didn’t come under true conviction again for 7 years!
The Bible makes is pretty clear, we live in a fallen world corrupted by sin, and contrary to the naive belief I held most of my adult life, people are not inherently good, people are inherently evil! However despite all our flaws, we were still created by a benevolent God who loves and cares for us and has a purpose for our lives. God’s plan of salvation can be summed up in 4 simple points:
1. GOD LOVES YOU AND HAS A PURPOSE FOR YOU. (John 3:16, John 10:10)
2. SIN SEPARATES US FROM GOD. (Romans 3:23)
3. THE CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY WAY TO BRING US BACK TO GOD. (John 14:6)
4. REPENT AND RECEIVE JESUS AS YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR. (Romans 10:9, John 1:12)
We must recognize that we are sinners and admit our need and be willing to turn from our sins and repent. Repentance is brought on by conviction and remorse, it’s not only a confession of your past sins and short comings but also the declaration to turn away from repeating those behaviors. We must also believe that Jesus Christ died for us on the cross and rose from the grave to atone for our sins and bring us back into relationship with God.
We must realize that if we believe in and follow Jesus in this life and the Bible is wrong and He isn’t the only way, this decision would cost us nothing. But if we deny Jesus and He really is the ONLY way to God, it will cost us everything!
Now over 2 years after receiving God’s free gift of salvation I can say that the decision to follow Jesus isn’t just a one time thing, we must make decisions to live for God and “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12) every single day. Even though God’s Spirit can flood you with the power and inspiration and hunger for Him and His word when you accept Him, we still are faced with day-to-day decisions to follow Him, obey Him and continue to allow Him to change us. If you lived decades of your life in complete rebellion against God and chose to live a life of sin following all of your fleshly desires, you are going to have a hard road ahead of you.
Learning to rely on God instead of relying on the comforts and indulgences we spent our whole life using to escape pain and stress prior to getting saved takes work. Every day we must learn to crucify our desires, die to self and instead live for God and serve others. As with any bad habits, change takes work and discipline and learning to turn our back on the world and live for God in a world that is diametrically opposed to Him will be one of the most challenging things you do. However it will also be the most rewarding, and the most fulfilling and the surest path to experiencing peace and joy.
I can tell you that after walking with God long enough now to have experienced the pain of backsliding and then to turn back to my Heavenly Father and feel His sweet embrace, there is nothing better in this world than to feel the loving presence of our Lord in a deep and personal way. This is a feeling awaiting any of you who want it.
If you feel something in your life is missing and you are feeling the burden of shame, or guilt or a lack of purpose, come to Jesus, He loves you and has a plan for you. If you have walked away from your first love and you need to recommit your life to Jesus Christ, do so now, those moments of conviction will only happen so many times! If you find yourself troubled and afraid because of challenging circumstances or heartbreak in this life – then remember this scripture and keep your focus on the eternal, not the temporary pleasures of this life.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”- II Corinthians 4:16-18
Right now you have a decision to make, the most important decision you will ever make in your life. I invite you to watch this short film below and really reflect on the decisions you’ve made in your life and where they have led you up to this point. The decision to follow Jesus Christ is the surest path to peace, joy, fulfillment and purpose – and the only way to spend eternity with your Creator.