Most will bristle at the title of this post. "My faith is private," they'll say. "I live a good life and I'm not worried about going to Heaven," others will proclaim. "You're no better than I am, don't talk to me like you have something to teach me," yet another will demand.
>> Saturday, March 13, 2010 – Faith
Please hear me out for just a moment.
It wasn't so long ago that I was not a Christian. I knew of Him, yes. My family raised me to serve Him, yes. But I didn't really know what it was to turn myself over to Him. I resisted. I fought. I tried to think my way logically OUT of being able to believe what the Bible says of Him. And finally, I heard Him whisper into my nearly closed mind, "Daiquiri, you know enough. It's time for you to make a decision. Right now." I leapt. I chose Him. And my whole life changed.
I want you to be a Christian. Not because I *think* the Bible is true, and the main character in that book might be real. I'm here to say that the man and God named Jesus that the Bible describes IS real. I've encountered him. I've come to recognize his voice, and it's a voice that brings me to tears of overwhelming joy. He's healed my body. He's healed my mind. He's told me things that I wasn't expecting. Do you know me to be a reasonably intelligent person? Do you know me as a logical thinker? Do you know me to be honest and trustworthy? Then hear what I say: He is real.
I want you to be a Christian too. Not because I think I have all the answers. I don't. But He does. And if you're looking for answers, He has some to offer that will fill a void in your soul that you didn't even know was there.
I want that feeling of completeness for you.
I want you to be a Christian. Not because I want to see you live your life tied up in chains of Christian duty and obligation. I want you to be a Christian because I've experienced the soaring freedom of being in Christ, and there's NOTHING on this earth like it! Are you working hard to live a good life? Whether working to earn a stamp of approval from your church, or just working to live the "good life" standard you feel in your gut. Life without Jesus Christ is hard WORK. I want you to be a Christian because
I want you to feel the incredible feeling of rest and peace brought by God's grace.
I want you to be a Christian. Not because I want you to see how hopeless you are. I want you to be a Christian because I've experienced a hope in Him that is just...beyond words. Hope for this life, yes. All things are possible with Him in your life. But hope for even eternity. I've seen parents stand with their arms in the air as they sang praises to this Jesus...while they stood not 10 feet away from the casket that contained their child. Do you know strength like that? Do you know hope that makes you *rejoice* even in death? That's the kind of strength and hope that Jesus offers.
I want that hope for you.
I want you to be a Christian. Not because God or His Kingdom needs you. God will get by just fine without you. He loves you, yes. But He will not force Himself on you, and His plans will come to be with or without your participation. But if you jump in and ask you you might contribute...you'll find a meaning and a purpose for your life that will breathe a new life into you! Without Him we're left doing our best and searching for the next thing that makes us feel good or satisfied. Many people to great and wonderful and generous things on their quest for success in life. But I humbly and respectfully submit the idea that those people working so hard to live a good and meaningful life feel just as empty as I did before I invited God to fill that God-shaped void in my soul. My life has a new and everlasting purpose.
I want this satisfaction and contentment for you too.
I want you to be a Christian. Not because I'm better and I want you to be better too. I've done things in my life that I'm not proud of. I've thought things, felt things, said things that I'm not proud of. In short, I've sinned. I'm a sinner. Whether you're a murderer or someone prone to little white lies....I'm no better or worse than you. Sin is sin is sin. We are all at least a little less than perfect (In my case, I'm a LOT less than perfect!).
No matter where you are or what you've done or how you're living now, Jesus is for you. He simply says "Come to me"... NOT "come to me once you've got your garbage all sorted out and fixed". Just come. I can say first hand, you can trust Him. He loves you. He has wonderful things planned for you. Once you're His, He'll begin His gentle work in you. He might guide you to change your language...your thoughts...your feelings of fear...your sexuality...your selfishness. Who knows. I'm often surprised by what He wants me to work on next. I'm always surprised by how gentle and loving He is. Again, you can trust him.
I want you to know the peace of being in His hands. I want you to know the impossible joy of being loved and forgiven. I want you to know the courage in being led by Him. I want His plan for you.
I appreciate that matters of faith are a private thing for many people. I still want you to be a Christian. You don't have to discuss it with me or with anyone else. But you need Him all the same. Take Him into your heart and life in private, if you must.
Yes, you live a good life. You do your best to be kind and considerate...to do more good than harm. Most of us do. But Heaven is a very specific and very real place where a very Holy God resides. He alone sets the criteria regarding who can go there. Perfection is the only requirement.
If holiness is in communion with sin, is holiness still holy? Nope - holiness is perfection....being set apart. To let imperfection into a perfect place immediately changes the very nature of that perfect place. It's no longer perfect!
Let Him make you perfect...He loves you and wants you to join Him. But He will not force Himself into your life. Only when you turn to Him in humility and say, "I don't understand...I don't even really like this arrangement...but God, I need you. I can't be perfect on my own. I invite you into my life. I choose you over my ways."
Here's the very bottom line: I know Him. By His grace, I know Him. And the joy... purpose... peace... contentment.... courage... hope... rest that He brings is simply beyond words. His presence in my life is like drenching rain to parched earth. And friend, I want Him for you.
I want you to become a Christian.