In my first post I discussed that life is very much about the choices we make; and, that those choices have consequences. I led the reader through the convoluted thought process that led me away from religion – through (what I now consider) my personal hell on earth – and then, into my relationship with the Triune God.
That (post) was six months ago; and, I’m still hung-up on this subject of “choices”. But, I’m looking at it from a different perspective these days.
There are four choices, and only four, that will have everlasting impact in your life. Three of those decisions have already been made for you. The fourth decision is 100% yours.
Decision 1, (Adam & Eve): Satan, who hates God – and His creation, found a way to corrupt the Earth and mankind. Being a skillful liar (his true nature), he tempted Eve and then Adam, into disobeying God. Through this monumentally bad choice, they brought sin into Gods perfect creation. Their sin brought condemnation on mankind for all time.
Decision 2, (God): To appreciate this decision, we need to remember that God is …well, God. As the creator of all space and time, everything is His. He can do with it as He pleases. So, as noted above… Adam and Eve, exercising their free will, allowed Satan to introduce sin into God’s creation (the Earth and everything on it). God easily could have simply decided to destroy the creation that disobeyed Him. Instead, God chose to extend grace. He started the countdown on a plan for the redemption of mankind. That plan ultimately involved sending His only Son to Earth. Jesus would become the blood sacrifice needed to cover (redeem) the sins of mankind.
Decision 3, (Jesus): Jesus came to Earth as a baby and grew into a man. A man who had free will – just like you and me. Satan knew this and tried more than once to get Jesus to exercise His free will in ways counter to God’s wishes. Jesus didn’t buy into it. The night of His arrest He agonized over the events that were about to play out. As the Son of God, He knew exactly what was about to happen and what a horrific burden He would carry to the cross. He chose to honor His father – and went willingly to the cross.
Decision 4, (You and Me): Here is the question. What will we decide to do with God’s Grace? As I’ve stated before, we are already – right now – eternal beings. Thus, this decision has both immediate and eternal consequences for every one of us.
If you find yourself wondering why your lifestyle is leaving you frustrated, empty, depressed and/or regretful, perhaps, just perhaps, it’s time you critically examined your life and the kind of example you are setting. Are you living a secret life? How is your integrity holding up? Still feel like an honorable person and good about yourself? What is the state of your relationship with the wife and kids (if you’re married); or, with your parents, friends, business associates, co-workers and others in your life?
If that inventory doesn’t look so good, perhaps God is trying to get your attention. After all, He wrote the book on you. He wants nothing more than to have you accept the gift of grace He is offering. But it is your decision. You will either accept His offer – or refuse it. Making no decision, could very well be a “No” decision. Life has no guarantees, except that we will all die; some, sooner than others. So, please, don’t think about it too long.
Now, if you are ready to make the life changing decision to follow Christ, all you have to do is say the following. You must believe it. You must mean it. God will not accept half-way measures; but if you are sincere, the door is wide open for you. This is going to be a conversation between just you and Jesus…
“Jesus, I’m tired of living my life this way. I know I’ve sinned and done hurtful things to myself, to other people, and to you. I know I cannot fix this mess by myself. Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. I believe you died on the cross for me; and, I’m asking that you forgive my sins and cover me in your grace. I am committing my life to you. Thank you, Jesus.”
Too easy and simple? No, …and there’s nothing simple about it. First of all, you are now redeemed in the sight of God. You have become part of God’s family. You will experience eternity in the presence of God. And the Holy Spirit will now live inside of you. (A very good thing, by the way!)
Yes, you will still have consequences from your previous choices to deal with. But, the difference is that you will have Jesus walking with you while you do it. Being a Christian is no guarantee of an easy life. Quite the contrary. Jesus warns us that we will face challenges and difficulties. But, He also tells us that no challenge will be to great for us when we face it with Him. Now that is empowering.
If you have a friend (or friends) you know are Christians, tell them that you have accepted Christ. Talk to them about it.
Keep talking to God. Hey, He knows everything you’ve ever done; and, what your thinking. You can’t surprise Him. You can’t shock Him. But discussing it with Him will have an amazing effect… on you. Keep talking to Him.
Find a church. (Personally, I don’t like main-stream denominations. Too much religion i.e. man-made rules and ideas, versus personal relationship with God and God’s Word – the Bible.) Ask around, and try some non-denominational Christian Churches. God will lead you to your Church.
Get a Bible and start reading it. I’d recommend either the New Living Translation or The Message. Don’t start at the beginning, i.e. Genesis. Instead, try the Book of Mark – it’s in the New Testament. Mark tells the story of Jesus from an “action” perspective and in pretty much chronological order. He uses short sentences that get right to the point. It’s a really good place to start.
Go to my post of Feb. 2, 2012, “As a New Christian… What Do I Do?” (It’s in the archive listing on the right side of this page). You may find it helpful.