If you were asked what makes Christianity so unique when compared to other religions, what would you say?
In fact in all other religions except Christianity, the things that you do here on earth will determine whether you go to heaven or not. In other words, it is up to you to work yourself into heaven. So in all other religions you do all these things in the hopes that when you die you would have done enough to earn the right to meet and to be with your god.
But the big problem with all those other religions is that you never really know for sure whether you have done enough. Whether what you have done, was done right. That there wasn't some horrible miscalculation on your part. This is very important in those religions because your very entrance into heaven depends on those good works, and doing those good works right.
And the gods of those other religions do not forgive and forget sin, they weigh sin. Because in those other religions you go to heaven only if your good works are greater than you bad works. If you have done more good things than bad things. So at the end of the day the believers in those religions look back upon the day and try and figure out if they did more good works than bad.
It is completely different with Christianity. In Christianity, doing good works will not determine whether you gain entrance into heaven. Something else called Faith is going to determine that because in Christianity a Holy God is going to come down and come into your life right now, while you are still bad, still sinful, still living a decadent and ungodly life. With Christianity you don't have to wait till you die to meet your God. You meet him now, while your still alive and at a time when you usually need him the most. In fact the God of Christianity requires you to meet and know him before you die. The God of Christianity requires that you accept him and actually allow him to dwell within you while you are still alive. For the Christian, it is mandatory that a powerful bond be formed between him and his God while the person is still alive.
This leads to another very important question. If I have accepted Jesus Christ as my God and Savior, then why am I still bad and sinful so much of the time? Now that God is in my life why doesn't he give me more strength to overcome my hang ups, more power to resist all those sinful things that come into my daily life? Why doesn't God fill me with more spiritual toughness to fight off all those advances of a sinful world?
And I will answer that with a question. Why should he? Why should he give you more power and more strength? Who would it be for? For the God living within you? The God living within you doesn't need it because he is strength and power.
The only reason that you would ask God for those things is for yourself, and if you asked God for more strength and more power, then you are telling God to give you those things so you can become a strong Godly person on your own. But the problem is, if God gave you those things then you would eventually tell God that you didn't need him anymore once you were strong enough, that he could go away, that you will be able to do it all on your own. And then suddenly you can once again be independent of God, just like you were before you were saved, because now you will be able to do it all on your own!
Being able to do it on your own?
Not needing God?
Thinking that you don't need God is pride and that's exactly what God doesn't want! Pride is when you elevate your ability, and place it above God's ability. Pride is telling God that you not only don't want his help, but that you don't need it. Pride is telling God that you can get by without any of his help. That you can function independently from God.
Pride is what created the devil, and pride is what ruined the human race. The reason most of us spend so very little time in prayer is the same reason why most of us rarely ever praise or thank God. It is because of pride - we simply don't see a need for it. We are independent of God. We don't need him.
That is why God is not interested in independently empowering you and making you stronger. He doesn't want you to think that you can lead a Godly life on your own and fight sin off all by yourself. Just the opposite. He wants you humble and always looking to him for everything. He wants to dwell and live within you, wants to guide and direct every step of your life, wants you to be totally and completely dependent on him. He wants you to realize that you cannot make it without him, and that you need him much more today than you did yesterday, and that you are going to need him even more tomorrow.
In fact, if you could tell God that there is absolutely no way in the world that you can lead a Godly life, do you know what he would say?
He would say, I know. You have absolutely no chance at all of leading a life that is even the slightest bit Godly. You can't, but the one living within you can.
Unfortunately a great many ministers and churches mislead their followers, usually unintentionally. They lead their followers to believe that now that they are saved they should suddenly become pure white saints, saints that no longer sin, that no longer stumble and fall, that no longer fail. They don't talk very much about the fact that being saved is only the very first step in a life long experience of study and learning, and that much prayer and meditation is going to be required in order to keep constantly growing spiritually.
They don't talk very much about the great many pressures to sin that will constantly be pressing in on them, and that many times they will yield to those sins. They don't tell the faithful that is why they need to completely surrender to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and that they must do this every second of every day.
Not one of us can live a Christian life by ourselves. It is completely impossible. Not with these fleshy bodies. Not with these five senses. Not in this world that is saturated with sin. Not with all those non-stop temptations that are constantly bombarding every one of us 24 hours a day. The only way to lead a Godly Christian life is by walking hand in hand with Jesus Christ, 24 hours each and every day.
It is only by our moment-to-moment choices throughout the day, that we can choose to say
"no" to our flesh, which is at war with God, and invite
Christ through the Holy Spirit to be in control of our lives in all the little
things as well as in the big things that happen to us in the course of a day. This is what Paul was explaining in the following verses.
Romans 8:7-8 "For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law; indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God."
Every Christian faces two very deadly enemies each and every day. The first enemy is our carnal nature and the second enemy is the devil. Every day our carnal nature is a self resurrecting monster which begs for attention. And the devil knows this. Our carnal nature demands to be first and the devil preys on this. And this happens each and every day of our lives. That is why Paul said he had to put his carnal nature to death every single day.1 Corinthians 15:31, "I die every day."
And the only way to put a carnal or fleshy nature to death is by completely surrendering to Jesus Christ on a second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, daily basis. Surrendering to God means that you can never be too busy to pray and read the Word of God. Never to busy to talk to God. Never to busy to ask for his advice and guidance. Never to busy to ask for his help. Never too busy to live your life exactly the way Jesus said to live it.
Christianity is a relationship between you and Jesus Christ. But in this relationship it is you that surrenders completely to Jesus. Jesus doesn't want you strong and independent. He wants you always on your knees, every day of your life, constantly asking for his guidance and his direction and his help. Daily you must surrender your life, your desires, and your will to God. Our Lord tells us this even in the prayer he taught us to pray to God the Father, "Give us this day our daily bread."(Matthew 6:11)
This Christian relationship that you have with Jesus is one where you and the Lord are walking together arm in arm down the pathway of your life, but in this relationship it is Jesus Christ who is leading the way. He is the one deciding which path to take, and it is he that lights up that path that helps prevent you from stumbling and falling. This is described so clearly in the following two verses.
1 John 1:5. "God is light, and there is no darkness at all when in union with him."
Psalms 85:13 "Righteousness will go before the Lord, and he will make a path for my steps."
Jesus Christ is the only true light and only he can light up your path. And as you realize, it does not take very much light to drive away a great deal of darkness. So without Jesus Christ in your life, there is nothing but darkness. This is symbolic to what happened during the 6th and 9th hours as Jesus Christ was hanging and dying on the cross. While Jesus was dying, darkness was descending down upon the earth. It appeared that the light of the world had gone out, and three of the Gospel writers were so moved that they wrote about this darkness.
Matthew 27:45 "Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land."
So it is Jesus Christ who leads you around all those obstacles that lie in your path. In fact it is The Lord who is making all the decisions in your life. Do you remember when Paul explained in Galatians 2:20 how this relationship worked when he said, "It is no longer I that live, but it is Christ that is living in union with me". This is simply another way of saying both you and Christ are living your life together, but that he is doing the leading.
Knowing what is right and what is wrong is not good enough. A great many verses warn us of this danger.
Ezekiel 33:32 "For they hear your words, but they do not do them."
1 John 3:18-19 "My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth."
A commitment to obedience is almost automatic for the one who has surrendered his life to God, for surrendering means that you will look to the Scriptures for guidance, and that you will strive to obey every command you find there. It means that you will pray because you are commanded to pray. You will respect and submit to governing authorities because you are commanded to do so. You will take seriously your responsibilities as a Christian citizen and stand up for truth and righteousness. You will submit to what the Bible says about marriage and divorce. You will respect plant and animal life, doing your best to carry out your responsibility to rule over and protect the earth as God's representatives. By surrendering, you become a willing tool, allowing God to use you for service unto himself, so that he may be glorified in your life.
People who love and obey the Lord will be led to the joyous certainty that, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."
For those that fully surrender, verses like Psalms 143:10 become very important. "Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God.
So surrendering to God means living a life that is in alignment with God's word. A life that is in complete agreement with the Word of God. We strive to walk like his word tells us to walk. We endeavor to talk like his word tells us to talk. We attempt to live like his word tells us to live. We live our life so that what God says is right, you say is right. What God says is wrong, you say is wrong. All of the above can be summed up in one short sentence. Believe the truth of the Word of God, put your faith in Jesus Christ, and live in a moment by moment dependence on him.
It is only when you enter this stage that you can begin to grow and mature spiritually. And that is because spiritual maturity occurs only when a person places more importance on Jesus Christ, and what Jesus wants, than what the individual wants or desires. In fact if you really think about it, there are only two types of life that a person can live. Either a person can live a self centered life, or he can live a Christ filled life. There are no other choices.
God knows only too well that all believers are going to sin on occasion, some many more than others. He knows that all believers will stumble from time to time. That we will make the wrong choices, take the wrong path, come to the wrong decisions. He knows that all believers are human with their five senses intact, and in a great many cases, unprepared for the onslaught that the world and satan has waiting for them. So we are all going to sin, but even though it is very possible for any believer to commit a sin, it is impossible for the genuine believer who has surrendered to Jesus, to live a life of sin.
And this is because as you begin to surrender to Jesus, you will find the world begins to lose its appeal, because it is now Jesus, and what he wants, that becomes important in your life. And the more surrendering that a believer does, the greater will be the believers ability to discern God's will in everything that he does. For it is a constant surrendering to Jesus that allows the believer to reach the ultimate goal of surrender. And that goal is having absolutely no separation between your spiritual life and your common everyday life. The two lives become one.
Unfortunately, most believers take their spiritual life and simply tack it onto their secular lives. This allows them to live two different and separate lives with the result being that many times their spiritual life has little if any impact on their secular life. They just don't realize the importance of so many verses like, Philippians 2:5 "Let the same mind be in you, that is in Christ Jesus."
Like any loving and caring father, our loving heavenly Father is very interested in every single thing that takes place each and every day of your life, even all those many insignificant things that don't seem to make a difference to anybody, including yourself. And this is because he is involved in every single decision that you make regardless of how small it may be. And that is why God wants you to completely surrender to him and allow him to have complete control over every aspect of your life, and he wants this control every second of every day. This is the only way your going to grow and mature in Christ. The more control a person allows God to have in their life, the greater that person's spiritual growth is going to be and the closer that person will be to God.
So every morning surrender your life to him. As Paul said in Romans 12:1 "So brothers and sisters, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him." And the Word of God tells us over and over that we are to do this each and every day of our lives.
Luke 9:23 "Then He said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me."
In fact surrender is one of the most important words in all of Christianity. Do you want to know just how important the act of you surrendering is?
Surrendering to Jesus Christ is another name for "being born again."
Surrendering is allowing Jesus Christ to live inside you.
Surrendering means living a life (a Godly life) that is pleasing and acceptable to Jesus Christ.
Surrendering is you confessing your sins when you sin and really repenting and turning away from them.
Surrendering is the thing that allows you to accept the free gift of grace that God wants to give you.
Surrendering is the one thing that will allow you to have eternal life.
So surrendering means giving up pride, giving up control, giving up independence, giving up all those things in our life that we have deemed important and precious and have placed ahead of Jesus Christ. Surrendering to Him means allowing Him to guide your life, it means bearing our crosses for His sake, it means acknowledging Him in all things, it means realizing that everything we have in this life comes from Him. And most of all it means that we finally understand that we cannot make it without his constant guidance and protection.
Before the birth of Christ, people in the old Biblical days constantly made sacrifices to God. They would take their best animals, or the best portions of their crops, or fresh baked loaves of bread, or containers of oil, or just about anything of value, and they would surrender it totally and completely up to God. Surrendering the best they had, showed that they themselves were surrendering to God. After the Messiah Jesus Christ came into this world, we no longer had to sacrifice animals and other things up to God. Now our sacrifices to God consists of the surrendering of our minds, our bodies, and our souls up to the Son of God. After Jesus was born our sacrifices were to become faith, trust, and obedience.
We become children of God not by knowledge; not by simply understanding what God is trying to tell us. We only become children of God when we begin to surrender. It is when we surrender that we can place our complete trust and confidence in Almighty God. We are then able to allow God to see us through all our trials and tribulations. For it is when we begin to surrender that we realize the vitally important truth listed in verses like the following.
Deuteronomy 33:27 "The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath you are his everlasting arms."
Isaiah 41:10 “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Joshua 1:9 "I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Isaiah 41:13 "For I, the Lord your God, am grasping your right hand. I am the one saying to you, Do not be afraid for I myself will help you."
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation."
Isaiah 43:2-3 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not flood over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORD your God, your Savior."
These verses, along with a great many others all through the Bible, tells each of us that God is willingly responsible for the life that is totally surrendered over to him.
Without total surrender we attempt to work for God instead of letting God work through us. We must put aside our self-interest and simply let God's will unfold around us. Everything he does for us is for our own good. Worship him without having to know and see everything. Live your entire daily life in his presence. Allow him to guide and direct your daily walk through this life. He will give you all that you need. In his own incredible way he will cause your path to cross the paths of others. Remember to that God's glory and God's purpose are the end of all things, and you will certainly find happiness and salvation there.
Without total surrender, you will find that your own self-interest and your own pride will cause you to reject the gifts of God because they do not come in a way that suits you. Without total surrender to Jesus your fleshy body will always demand more, demand different, demand greater. This is why God asks for nothing but death to your old self. Selfishly loving yourself and putting yourself first, smothers your spirit and shuts down your chance for spiritual growth. In fact if you really think about it, any form or degree of rebellion against God will begin to short circuit your faith, and begin to have damaging affects on your relationship with God. When this happens, sin is not very far away. And this is because the very core of any sin is when we make ourselves the center of life, rather than making Jesus Christ the center. Lack of trust in Jesus Christ, our own self-love, and pride are the main ways in which Christians express the real meaning of sin.
If you don't completely surrender to God then how else are you going to be able to put complete faith and trust in him? How else are you going to learn to love him and obey him? How else are you going to be able to turn to God rather than the world in order to weather the storms and the trials that seep into your life. Without being able to turn to Jesus how else are you going to be able to put up with the disappointments, the discouragements, and the disillusionments that seem to constantly enter into one's life. When difficult times arise in our lives, running to God - not from him - results in victory.
And after surrendering, and after walking arm in arm with Jesus Christ on a daily basis, you will soon find that it is he that is providing you with all the strength and power and toughness that you will ever need.
The believer doesn't have to cry out to God for more strength. He doesn't have to beg and plead with the Holy Spirit to fill him up even more, so he can overcome the many sins that enter into one's daily life. Neither does the believer have to keep asking Jesus to please make him into a better and stronger Christian. The believer doesn't even have to spend time in prayer asking God for more help in leading a Godly life. None of that has to be done. The only thing the believer needs to do is surrender. That's all. Simply surrender. You are not waiting on God, God is waiting on you.
It's sad but most Christians seem very willing to surrender their sins and their problems to God. However they generally rebel when it comes to surrendering their whole life to Him. But surrendering completely to Jesus Christ is what it takes if you want to grow spiritually, walk in God given strength, and have a Godly relationship with him.
The believer who doesn't surrender to God is the one who wants to change and tries like crazy to change but is unable to. Wants desperately to lead a Godly life but unfortunately fails over and over. It is the Christian who refuses to surrender completely that finds the obstacles coming into his life much to difficult to overcome, the mountains much to tall to climb, the pitfalls far too deep to cross, the storms much too severe, and the pressures and temptations of this world far too strong.
Ask yourself this question. If you get angry a lot and you find yourself frequently on your knees begging God to make you stronger, then why doesn't God help you? Or if you are short on patience and you find that you seem to be asking God all too often to please give you more patience, then why doesn't he? Or if the lure of that alcohol is so very strong, and even though you have prayed over and over to God to make you stronger, then why doesn't he?
And the answer is a simple, because you have not surrendered or you have not stayed surrendered to Jesus Christ. There are a great many extremely interesting verses all through the Bible that talk about this, and a very good one is John 5:30, where it says, "I can do nothing on my own".
What John is saying in this verse is that without continuous and total surrender, you will never be truly successful. In fact you can pray on your knees until the cows come home, but until you surrender, you will never ever be victorious in your effort to lead a Godly life. Many believers surrender at various times of their life, usually due to traumatic experiences. But the very instant; that exact moment when a believer decides to take back from God just a little bit of that surrender, then satan and the world will be waiting, and they are going to pounce on that believer.
But then we come to a very interesting verse where Paul says in Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." And he says this while chained and in prison. So this verse certainly sounds contradictory when compared to John 5:30 above which says, "I can do nothing on my own." But look at what Paul is not saying. He does not say that he has the ability to do absolutely anything he wants to do. Nor is he saying that God has given him full authority to decide what should and should not be done. And he is not saying that he can do all things when the circumstances are right. What Paul is telling us is that, I can do, and God will enable me to do. I can work and God will enable me to work. I can speak and God will enable me to speak. Whatever God led him to do, Paul knew that God would also empower him to do it. I can do every single thing I need to do today, as long as it's in the will of God, and I can do it through the strength of Jesus Christ who is the one residing within me.
So Paul does not say that he can handle whatever comes up. Instead, he says, "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." And God intends for every one of his children to approach life with this same confidence.
God wants you out of options. He wants you to finally realize that your efforts are hopeless, that your skills and status are immaterial. That all your money is useless, and that your many friends are of absolutely no help. For when you do, then this will be the point in time when the last of your pride fades away and this will be the moment when you begin to realize that God just may be the only answer. This will also be the time when you begin to realize that there is hope and peace and a great deal of tranquility in those outstretched arms of Jesus Christ. For it is now that you begin to surrender, and when you surrender you allow the Son of God into your life.
You just cannot live a Godly life on your own. Only when a believer surrenders their life to Jesus Christ and has him living and reigning within them, can they be successful in accomplishing the hopes of God that are expressed in 2 Corinthians 7:1, where it tells us, "Beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit."
So for the person surrendering, a commitment to obedience is almost automatic. Because surrendering means that you will look to the Scriptures for guidance, and that you will strive to obey every command you find there. It means that you will pray because the very Word of God tells you to pray. You will respect and submit to governing authorities because God tells you to. You will take seriously your responsibilities as a Christian citizen and stand up for truth and righteousness. You will submit to what the Bible says about marriage and divorce. You will respect plant and animal life, doing your best to carry out your responsibility to rule over and protect the earth as God's representatives. And thus, upon surrendering, you become a willing tool, allowing God to use you for service unto himself, so that he may be glorified in your life. And it is at this point where the lifestyle of Jesus Christ becomes your lifestyle.
That is why the believer who has not surrendered to Jesus Christ and who is not constantly walking hand in hand with him, will not be able to see the curves, the potholes, and the ditches that line this walk of ours through this life. The one who hasn't surrendered will inevitably stumble and fall because much of his life is still in darkness. Without surrendering your life to Jesus then you are keeping his light from fully lighting up the path you are walking on.
And all this happens because until you surrender completely to God you will walk independently of God, and the world and satan will be waiting for you on that independent walk of yours. For without God the world will take over, and the world will shape and mold you, and it will be a very sinful world that leads and guides you. And with the sinful world leading you through life you will soon find that you begin to rationalize sin, then you defend sin, and then as your heart becomes harder, you actually begin to seek sin out. For a Christian to walk through this life without Jesus Christ and who expects to remain Godly, would be equivalent to a bride in a white wedding gown who goes down into a coal mine and who expects to come back up wearing a clean white dress. It just cannot be done. It is impossible.
It is not until you surrender your life fully and completely to Christ that God can bless you as much as he really wants to. It is not until you allow yourself to become completely dependent upon Jesus that you can recognize and appreciate the blessings that God The Father sends into your life. Only then will you truly become a child of God's, one of the King's kids. Only when you give yourself fully to Christ, only when Our Lord is allowed into every area of your life, will you be able to accomplish the amazing things that God The Father has planned for you. The gifts of God all pass through Jesus before they get to us; and all our prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings all pass through Jesus Christ before they get to the Heavenly Father.
It is not until your completely surrender to Jesus Christ that you can speak with truth, verses like Psalms 73:23-24. "You have taken hold of my right hand and you guide me with your counsel, and afterwards you will receive me to glory". For it is only when you fully surrender to Jesus Christ that a believer can truly say that they know the Lord, love the Lord, and are closer to the Lord today, than they were yesterday.
Spiritual growth stops when a person begins to prevent God from exercising control in their lives, when a person takes his eyes off of God, when a person moves ahead of God and decides to do the leading. That's when the barriers against sin begin to break down and man's worldly flesh begins to take over and allows sin to enter. You just cannot lead a Godly life without God, and being independent of God is a spiritual death sentence.
In his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul wrote, "I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong". (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Paul had discovered that strength was found in weaknesses. Instead of trying to lug his cross up a hill, Paul decided it was best to turn it over to the Lord. So when Paul's strength was insufficient, he turned to God. As a result, Paul humbly walked through life's ups and downs with a perspective that kept his eyes always focused on Jesus. He had surrendered to The Lord.
Power and strength, truth and wisdom, the ability to do what is right and what is wrong, not only originate with Jesus Christ, but these abilities and many more reside within the very presence of Jesus Christ. So once we bring Jesus into our lives, once Jesus becomes the center of our lives, once our lives revolve around him, then all those things that are residing within him, will reside within us. It is only when you reach this point that you give God the authority to do incredible things in your life, and in the lives of others. What God was able to do through Paul is one very good example.
Acts 19:11 "Now God worked unusual miracles through the hands of Paul".
Let me ask you this question. What is the very first thing that most people say when faced with a difficult trial or tribulation? They will usually say, "My Lord, what am I going to do now?" But that is the wrong question to ask. What surrendering to Jesus Christ teaches a believer to do is to ask, "Lord, what are you going to do? One who has surrendered to Jesus doesn't have to begin calculating what they are going to have to do. They don't have to rely on their own abilities and their own resources. The ones who have surrendered have placed complete faith and trust in Christ and know that somehow, somewhere, sometime, he is going to show them the solution to that difficult time. And why not? With Christ dwelling within you, you not only have his presence, but you have his power and his provision as well.
Keep in mind that surrendering is a life long process, but by surrendering we slowly but surely learn to overcome all the many sinful pulls of the flesh, the world, and satan himself. Through surrendering, we soon learn that we are submitting to God and his ways, and we begin to discover that we are building the very character of God within us. It is when we surrender that we are finally able to realize that we are doing things the way Jesus would do them, that we are saying things the way he would say them, that we are looking upon things the exact same way that the Son of God would look at them, and that we are dealing with people in the exact same way that Jesus would deal with them. That will be the time that verses like the following will become very, very important in our lives.
Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
So, when all of the above is taking place; when you have surrendered to Jesus Christ, when the Son of God is living within you, when all your actions are his actions, then don't you think that satan and his evil human followers will be unable to sway you away from your Godly walk through this life, that the world will be unable to make any inroads into your life, that you will be able to have incredible God given power over your own fleshy desires? Paul gave us all wonderful advice and said it so perfectly in the following verse.
1 Corinthians 11:1 "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ."
Without daily surrender to God, we tend to drift away from him. Slowly, gradually, and unconsciously. The tide of our culture carries us away from Godly influences. We lose our desire to sit at Jesus' feet. Our delight in him fades. We find ourselves lapsing into old idolatries.
With daily surrender to God, we have God dwelling within us and we are given the strength to survive. We are given the power to endure. We are given the ability to overcome anything that comes our way. God doesn't have to send something special down from heaven to enable you to face your trials. His greatest gift, his Son, is already in your possession.
Jesus tells us over and over that, "I AM THE WAY" So his ways must be our ways, his words must be our words, his thoughts are our thoughts, his beliefs are our beliefs. He lives his life in and through us, so our hands are his hands. Our eyes and ears are his eyes and ears. Our thoughts and actions are his thoughts and actions. And it will be an absolutely incredible day when you can finally say that your character is his character. That your goals and accomplishments are his goals and accomplishments. That your works are his works.
Then the question comes up, how do I learn about "HIS WAY"? And "HIS WAY" can only be discovered from the pages of the Holy Bible. That is the one and only place where you can find out what God expects from you, and what you can expect from God. And each and every verse was put there to guide and direct you, and to help you obtain eternal life.
Many people also think that when they come to Jesus and become born again Christians and pledge their lives to the Lord, that Jesus will begin a process of healing what is damaged in them. That he will fix what is broken. That he will put the pieces back together. That he will put some Godly patches on them. That isn't true at all. Jesus isn't interested in fixing you or healing you. He doesn't want to mend you or patch you up. He doesn't want to glue all your broken pieces back together. He doesn't want to repair you. He wants to replace you! He wants to make you a brand new creation. He wants to dispose of the old you and make you a brand new you.
That is why when you come to Christ and accept him fully and completely as your Lord and Savior he doesn't just put a new look on your old person. He doesn't just preform a spiritual make over on you. He's not interested in giving you a quick spiritual massage and then send you on your way. What he wants is to make you into a brand new person. When you accept Jesus he creates someone who has never existed before. A brand new person who is now capable of communion with God. You begin a fresh, new life, completely forgiven of your sins and guided by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is full of verses like the following.
2 Corinthians 5:17. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new".
Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
Ephesians 4:23-24 "Put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness."
When you were saved and were born again you became a brand new person. And this brand new person began acting on new principles, living by new rules, with new ends and new goals, and in new company. You the believer were created anew. Your heart was not merely set right, but instead a new heart was given to you, and where the heart is changed, the life and the actions will be changed. When you became saved your thought patterns were different, the focus of your attention was different, your conversation was different, your attitude and your outlook were different, where you went and what you looked at became different, even your friends became different. You began to acquire new hopes and new dreams. The center of your life was no longer what pleases you, it is now what pleases him.
You were changed. The greatest desire of your life was now to do his will. When you were saved you became the workmanship of God, created in and through Christ Jesus. It was at this moment when you, as a saved believer in Jesus Christ, began the journey on your life long path to feed your soul with "spiritual nourishment" so that you could grow in spiritual maturity and in the correct knowledge of God. Then, as you grew, you reflected his very nature in everything that you thought, said, and did. It was at this point when the following verse became a crystal clear, rock solid reality.
Philippians 3:21 "Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, will transform our lowly body so that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself."
And unlike the hardened sinner who continues to stand by and justify his sinful actions, when you were saved your soul was greatly affected by sin and indeed now hates sin. You now reject the things that are bad, wrong, and sinful. You, who once looked upon certain sins with amusement, now look upon those same sins with dread; with a sickening feeling. Suddenly you found yourself not wanting to be around all those Christ haters and Christ rejecters. The things you use to laugh at now causes your heart great despair. No longer are you able to detach yourself and look the other way because now those sins, and those injustices, literally scream out at you. And you, who formerly saw no beauty in God, had no respect or love for him, and who rarely even thought of him, now love him above all things.
And do you want to know exactly what God himself said would happen to you the very second that you surrendered and accepted Jesus Christ and were born again. He told you something very interesting at Ezekiel 36:26-27.
"Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new Spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you".
That is why within the hearts of those who are fully surrendered to him, there is no desire for darkness. There is only a glorious yearning for the light of his pure love.
Why the renewing of your mind is just as important as being born again
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