Many turn to Jesus for a variety of reasons. Some are genuine and intentional about a lifelong commitment, however there are those who struggle through their “Christian life and commitment” without any visible signs of fruit, sincerity and real proof of conversion. I want to suggest a few steps that will result in pursuing the Gospel life more successfully today and tomorrow.
In all walks of life we have heard of people “jumping onto the bandwagon”. This is also true in Christianity. The parable of the soils (sower) and its interpretation is self-explanatory (Matthew 13:3-9 & 18-23). Some think Christianity is a quick fix to their problems. Often this is the fault of Churches preaching a prosperity Gospel or offering miracles, healing and the like. The Gospel’s intent is to deal with man’s sin problem and when people are coerced through false motives or when they come looking for quick solutions to life problems, they come for the wrong reasons. Look at what John says:
John 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Note the receiving and the believing.
Many don’t receive Jesus for whom He is. Jesus is the Second Person of the Triune God. He is God incarnate. He came to earth for a specific purpose. The Nicene and Apostle’s Creeds are great expositions of the Gospel’s purpose. Although life in Jesus is easier than in the world because the magnetism of the world is less, Jesus came to rescue you from the devil, sin and its effects, the flesh and the world. You have to accept Jesus as He is.
Believing in His name means that since you accept Him for what He is, you accept Him for what He came to do. Believing is all about the Cross, the Blood Sacrifice, the Substitutional Offering, the Payment for sin and a life on earth dedicated to His glory and purpose and a life in heaven with Him forever. That is what it is to start right. When a hundred meter sprinter gets into the wrong lane, he is disqualified from the medal podium. That is true for anyone starting the Christian life in the wrong lane. May I be bold and ask whether you have started right? Are you in the correct lane?
Confess Jesus Openly
I’ll never forget a great president of our country saying his religion was a private matter. Christianity is not a private matter! I could offer many examples of this statement, but let me share just one. Look at the Great Commission:
Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Take note that once disciples are made, there is baptism. Whether you follow Paedobaptism or Believers-Baptism … it is public. The basis to it is aligning oneself with Jesus, revoking all other past religions (gods) and committing oneself to follow Jesus. Coupled to this verse 20 speaks of teaching the new coverts the whole counsel of God. This too is public. Note the words “disciples and them” in verses 19 and 20! Christianity is a community whether they are assembled or disassembled. We are community and as community we are called to live our lives in private and public revealing Jesus in us through our morals, ethics and behaviour. Yes … and sadly so, we will still sin and at times this sin might be in public, but we need to be bold and not attempt to excuse the sin but confess the sin, for we carry Jesus’ name. Never forget those riveting words of Jesus:
Mt 10:32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.”
May I be bold and ask whether you willingly and openly, proudly confess Jesus?
Study the Bible
Too many say they are Christian, yet cannot quote a Scripture (even without the reference). Why do we as Christians make so many wrong decisions and choices? Why do we tend to walk on the thin dividing line between holiness and sin? Why are we so uncertain about who we are, where we come from, what happened to us, to whom we now belong and where we are going to? Together with a multitude of other questions the answer is … “we don’t study the Bible!” At salvation you enjoyed “tasting” that the Lord is good. You were so happy, delighted and relieved that Jesus died to save you from sin and hell! Now you are a spiritual baby and need feeding.
1 Pet 2:2 “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
Peter uses the word “crave”. A baby cries for milk and although humorous, pushes his mouth towards where he thinks the milk source is rather frantically until he finds the nipple or teat and then hungrily sucks away greedily. We have all seen this in action. That is how Peter wants not only new born believers, but all believers to “crave” the Word of God. That is the picture of study. Craving the Word means effort, energy, time, dedication, commitment … the more input the more knowledge and wisdom from God will be at our disposal to choose right from wrong, righteousness from unrighteousness and holiness from un-holiness … and to discern false teaching from Biblical Truth.
Let’s do some homework by asking “have I start righted; do I confess Jesus openly and do I study God’s Word?”
Dear Lord, help me to piece through my Christian commitment to ensure that I comply with these three steps today. Where I lack, please expose this to me so that I may correct things to get on track for Jesus’ sake. Amen.