For those of you who’ve been drawn to Jesus by something you’ve read or heard I want to take this space to give you the reality of what needs to transpire to begin this personal walk with the Creator of the universe. It’s a relationship He desires more than anything. I know that with certainty because of the extent He went through for you to get there.
First, the good news. There’s nothing you need to do to obtain this. No ritual has to be observed. Nothing needs to be memorized. All the work has already been done for you. All you need to do is believe and receive.
There are three main steps, as it were, to get this relationship renewed.
1. Realize your shortcomings. Jesus told the Samaritan woman that we must worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). That’s why no physical ritual will get you where you need to go. Truth is found in the Bible, that’s why I’ll use Bible verses to back up these steps involved.
John later wrote that God is light; in Him is no darkness at all (I John 1:5). Light here represents purity, darkness represents sin. God is without sin. That’s why we call Him Holy, as do the angels (Isaiah 6:3). The problem here is the fact that we humans are born in sin and can’t reach God’s level of holiness in our own flesh. Romans 3:23 states: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
The Bible also goes on to explain the consequence of sin. In Romans 6:23 we’re told: “For the wages of sin is death…” Fortunately, the journey doesn’t end here. Jesus gives us hope in the next step.
2. Recognize your savior. The second half of that verse declares, “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jesus made this bold statement Himself: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father (God) except through Me” (John 14:6). Yeah, that’s counter-cultural, but, this is the truth from the Bible, not man’s ideas.
Romans 5:8 says: “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” You see, Jesus is an extremely unique person. That’s why we still celebrate Christmas as His birthday. He didn’t have a human father. The egg in Mary’s body developed without sperm entering it. God entered her egg, as it were, to grow into the person we know as Jesus. That’s why He could do all the miracles we read about in the Bible; and that’s also why He was the only person who never sinned.
The sinlessness of Jesus is what makes Him the only acceptable sacrifice in God’s eyes. Yeah, you read that right, Jesus’ death on the cross was His offering Himself to God in our place so we can come to God as His children. 2 Corinthians 6:21 says: “God made Him who had no sin to be a sin offering for us, so we might become the righteousness of God.” When Jesus came back to life after His death He proved His power over death.
The last step is the simplest, but, not always the easiest.
3. Receive your substitute. If you’ve followed me up to this point you’re ready for the next step. You know you can’t reach God’s perfection on your own, you realize Jesus is the only way you can get there, so you’re ready to accept this as your own. Do you remember the verse we covered earlier? Romans 6:23 called the way to eternal life through Jesus Christ a gift. In order for a gift to become yours you must take it and open it.
The way to open this gift is easy. A simple prayer to God. Prayer is nothing more than talking to God like you would anyone else. You don’t even need to talk with your mouth because this needs to come from deep in your heart most of all. The words don’t need to be exactly as I am about to suggest, but the basic elements are like this:
I know I don’t deserve to come to You, God,
because of the filthy mess I am.
I believe You sent Jesus to come to die for me
because I can’t remove the filth by myself.
I acknowledge Jesus didn’t deserve to die at all,
but, He did it as a substitute for me.
I accept this offer being laid out before me freely,
now, I give you my life to use for Your glory.
I thank You for accepting me into Your family,
adopted as a child of the King.
In Jesus’ name.
If you prayed that type of prayer from your heart you’re on your way to heaven when you die. But, your eternity with God doesn’t start when you get to heaven. No, it starts right now. As a child of the King you have a responsibility to get to know your heavenly Father in a personal way. Prayer is our reaching up to God in conversation. The fourth step in your journey is God’s way of speaking to us.
4. Read your scripture. The Bible has been preserved in incredible ways from it’s inception until now. That’s because God has used it as His means of reaching down to us to show us how much He loves us and watches over us. Get a copy and read it slowly. There are many translations out there. The basic message is the same in all of them. Some are easier to read than others. The New English Translation may be the best all-around one for most people. The best place to start is the book of John in the New Testament. Then the book of Romans and following. Like I said. Take your time. Let it soak into your heart.
There’a a verse in the Bible that’s always been one of my favorites. Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
The two halves of that verse teach important lessons. The first one is: what is delighting in the Lord, and how do I go about doing it? The same way a couple does before they get married. They delight in each other by spending as much time together as they can to get to know each other as intimately as they can. Your relationship with God should be taken just as seriously, if not more so. This is where most people short-change their walk with God. When you do the first part the second part falls into place.
God will give you the desires of your heart, not your heart’s desires that you carried into this journey, those were purely selfish in nature. No, He’ll give you new desires from His heart and place them into yours. Your compassion for others will grow. His Holy Spirit is now active in your life to guide you into a deeper relationship with God.
There’s another important step as you travel this new trail.
5. Reach your siblings. This family of God is made up of individuals traveling the same road as you. Get to know them so they can help you shoulder the load from time to time. The best way to do this is to find a good church that teaches from the Bible. This may be hard for some of you to do, but try. There are some places that call themselves churches, but, they’re not much more than a club. If the preaching doesn’t come from the Bible find another church. It may take some time, but a good church family is vital for your proper growth as a Christian.
Baptism isn’t crucial for your salvation. But, it’s an extremely good public testimony to others of your conversion to Christ. The going under the water will symbolize you dying to your old self, then, when you raise back up out of the water it shows the new life you’ve been washed in to by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t need to be baptized, but, He used it as the starting point of His ministry. That’s why many of us go through this step.
Now that you’ve prayed the prayer you’re in God’s spiritual family. So, let me be the first to say: welcome to the family! We may not get to see each other while we’re on this earth, but, I know Jesus will introduce us when we’re in Heaven. So, until then I’ll close this section the way I close my main blog each week.
I’ll see you later. Wade
John 3:16 “God loved the world so much, that He gave us His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Jesus will never taste spiritual death, but have life forever and ever.”