I want to lay out a scenario for you. It could be the theme for a movie, or perhaps a book…
There’s this middle aged guy. Oh, he’d done well for himself, according to most standards. Great wife and family. Good health. Nice home, automobiles, a business, some money in the bank. He had God in his life. And while there seemed to be a lack of inner-peace, he was for the most part, happy. Still, something wasn’t quite right…something was missing…always had been.
It turns out that this guy had spent all of his life “lost”, in a spiritual sense. Seems that he knew who God was, but that he didn’t really know God. He really didn’t know the first thing about Jesus, other than what he’d been taught in school and read in books. And he didn’t know anything about having a relationship with Christ. He was clueless. You couldn’t really fault the guy, because he just didn’t know these things. You see, none of the people in his life that had the most influence on him had ever told him about what he didn’t know; perhaps this was because they didn’t know…
Not long after this guy’s fifty-third birthday, he had an epiphany…the light bulb turned on…the clouds separated…he finally got it! He was born again of the spirit, turned his life over to God, and made a commitment to live the rest of his life walking with Christ.
Guy lives happily ever after. End of story.
Or is it?
Okay, if you haven’t figured it out already, the scenario that I just posed for you is a thumb-nail picture of my life. I know that it’s a simple plot, but when you get right down to it, it’s an accurate description of my world…before God, and after God…when I didn’t know Him, and when I did…a world without His light, and one filled by His brilliance.
Look, I’m aware that I’m not the only person that this has happened to. Thousands of people find Christ every day; perhaps you’re one of them. If you are, you know that having God in your life is as simple as before and after, or darkness and light. It’s just that simple…but it’s not.
You see, the end of the story is actually the beginning. At least is was for me…
I want to retract everything that I’ve ever said about not being comfortable with the term “born again.” It’s always been my contention that a person who’s always known God couldn’t be born again in knowing Him…I was wrong.
When we come into this world we don’t know anything, other than perhaps the sound of our parent’s voices. From that point on we spend years learning the ways of the world, either from others or from self-discovery. It’s a never ending process; the longer we live, the more we know…and the more we grow. At least that’s the way it has been for me.
I realize now that when I was born again in 2006, I didn’t even recognize my Father’s voice…and that who and what I believed God to be had been carried over from what I had learned about Him as a child…and that the fact that I was a Christian had nothing to do with being a Christian!
I wonder how many of us have been born again…ready to give our lives to Christ…ready to “walk the walk”…ready to change the way we live…ready to walk away from our not-so-Christ-like-habits…ready to be happy-ever-after…only to find out that being a Christian “ain’t easy”.
I don’t know exactly where I’m going with this, but I’m gonna keep plowing ahead…
Look, it’s easy for me to tell you that I’m a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born in the flesh and died on the cross so that we may receive God’s grace and be given the opportunity to spend eternity with God.
I realize that I may have over-simplified the definition of a Christian…the point that I’m trying to make is that in declaring myself to be a Christian I am setting myself apart from others who only believe in God. Again, that part is easy.
Being a Christian…walking the walk…trying to be Christ-like every day is hard. As a Christian, I hold myself accountable for every thought, word, and deed…every minute of every day. There are no days off, no vacations, and no weekend “get-a-ways” from being a Christian. Every day counts.
Having my ticket punched as being a Christian doesn’t entitle me to any free rides. There are challenges at work…financial pressures…relationship issues…health problems…all the “stuff” that we have to put up with on a daily basis. I remember my life before being born again…I’d gripe and lie and curse and moan and groan and do whatever I had to do to get through the situation I was in…what a miserable life I lived. That was then.
So, I wonder how many of us have been born again, filled with the presence of Christ, ready to commit our lives to God, only to give up when we find out that life is still hard (if not harder) as a Christian. We give up…we don’t stay the course…we don’t hang in there long enough…we don’t completely surrender ourselves to God…we don’t give Him time to reveal Himself to us…we don’t let go and let God…we don’t come to know Him.
So being a Christian is hard. Trying to live like Christ, and to walk in His footsteps, is tough. For me it has proven to be impossible. I have taken a left when I should have taken a right, or said yes when I should have said no, or been critical of someone when I should have been compassionate, or insisted on doing the driving instead of letting God take the wheel. I keep falling down.
BUT, I keep getting back up. And I’ll continue to get back up, no matter how many times I stumble. I’m never gonna stop trying to live the life of Christ. Ever.
I believe that the key to happiness…for me, for you, for all of us, is in trying to live the life of the Son that we find a complete relationship with the Father!
You want to know God’s love? His wisdom? His compassion? His goodness? His strength? Walk in the way of His Son. Never give up. Never.
You will come to know that with Him, and in Him, and through Him, all things are possible. And your life will become so much easier.
I want to leave you with a prayer that I came across in a one year devotional a couple of days ago. The author, or perhaps I should say the original supplicant of this prayer remains anonymous.
“My Lord, You have mercifully exchanged Jesus for me. I now walk in His identity, His power, His will, His resurrection and life. May I live worthy of that calling, praying His prayers, seeking His possessions, desiring His desires, dreaming His dreams, doing His work. I’m a fellow heir to Your Kingdom, and I don’t want to waste the privilege. Please give me Your wisdom. Please plant Your desires deep within me. Let me see Jesus’ miracles, His power, His compassion. Yes I know I will also feel His cross. But I gladly will, if I can only experience His life. Please let me live as Jesus in this world. Please. Amen.”
May you always walk in His way!
See you next week!