Why believe at all if we aren't gonna surrender?
by Danny Tippit
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I reminisce sometimes about my earlier years just before I became a Christian. I remember the youth group that I was barely involved in, and if it hadn’t been for my girlfriend I probably never would have gone. I remember the only youth summer camp I ever went to and thought that I had experienced a life transformation event in my life. However, a couple of weeks after camp I was living in the world so much so that the “life-altering” occurrence I had participated in was all but gone in my heart and my mind. And then there was the moment I met Jesus. Finally face to face, metaphorically speaking, I stood before Him as He held in one hand the word ‘yes’, and in the other hand the word ‘no’. It was decision-making time. Thanks be to God I made the right decision.
My life has been full of judgment calls. I am sure your lives have been too. My life has also shown me a lack of commitment to those decisions. I have made so many decisions for so many different reasons, but I rarely see the positive results I had hoped for after making those decisions. It may be that sometimes I have made the wrong choice. It may be that I made the right choice, but had the wrong perspective for the outcome. There is also the option that I made the right decision, but without the proper level of commitment. Maybe this happens because I did not have all of the information before I made my mind up, therefore, I did not know how to carry out the action of my choice. Usually, though, it is because I quit, I give up, I get lazy, or I don’t fight through.
I became a Christian in 1994. When I accepted Jesus Christ I accepted Him “on condition”. It is amazing to me that we let the Creator of the universe, the all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present King of kings, to save us from eternal death and damnation, yet I do not want to allow Him to save me from my addictions, my pride, and my ego. As if He can’t do it. How crazy is that? Three things happen when we accept Christ. We profess belief that He died for us to save us from going to hell and forgive us of all of our sins, past, present, and future. We profess belief that Jesus was raised from the dead three days later. We profess belief that Jesus can lead our lives better than we can and that a life of serving Him is what will bring us fulfillment and wholeness in our lives. Unfortunately, in the conversion process from unbeliever to believer the focus is more so on the first two, rather than the last one. It is almost as if following Christ has become the “read between the lines” hidden agenda. Jesus came to save, YES! And it gets better. Jesus doesn’t stop after saving us. He wants more than anything to show us what life is really about, and how to live it to the fullest. The saving knowledge of Jesus is just a precursor to following Him. Obedience to Christ is the truest action on our part in which God the Father can reveal His love to us. God’s love is more difficult to recognize with out our obedience to follow Him in faith.
So let’s look at God’s resume. He created the universe, and that should be enough, but with man nothing is never enough. Despite man’s disobedience in the garden God already had in place and continued to work out His plan for man’s salvation (saving from sin and hell). God never forgot His people, even leading them out of captivity, parting an enormous body of water for escape, and sustaining them through their journey in the desert. In spite of disobedient act after disobedient act, God consistently poured out His love on His children. Keep in mind, though, God’s love sometimes requires discipline. Israel learned a great deal of God’s love through discipline.
God took up Elijah in a chariot of fire. God made an axe head float, a donkey talk, and turned a king into a babbling beast in the wilderness. God protected prophets from continuous danger such as lions, a fiery furnace, a gang of violent teenagers, and assassination. God brought forth a child through an immaculate conception. He healed the lame, the blind, and the diseased. He raised the dead, turned water to wine, and walked on water. God the Father allowed His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for all of mankind past, present, and future should they choose to accept Him and believe in Him. And even after Jesus, God the Son, leaves us, He sends God the Holy Spirit to empower us to be able to do even greater things than He did. Now why would we believe in a God like this and not follow Him in obedience by imitating the model of a godly life that He lived for us? If He can wipe away my sins and make me right, why wouldn’t I surrender the rest of my life to Him right away?
Almost seems ignorant when I think about it like this. To be honest I am quite ashamed of myself for having taken so long to finally throw in the towel and submit to God, who is my EVERYTHING.
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