the old question: what’s it like being a Christian? What difference does it make? A lot. Unfortunately, we Christians may not be making that apparent enough in our lives. I plan to answer this question from my life. I fear I shall make a horrid mess of the subject, but I feel compelled to write about it anyway. So what have been the changes for me in coming to Christ? The brief answer……
forgiveness: there is no remedy for sin like knowing your sins our forgiven. I remember clearly how I used to lie awake at night, struggling with my sins. I was alone, my mind was allowed to wander. Sin called me, saying, “you cannot sin in your mind.” and I remember, night after, I would answer. I believed them. But, time after time, I would leave feeling completely empty. I wrestled with myself, finding relief nowhere. Then I would lie to myself again, and thought that the only way for me to feel better was to have more. And I would return, till I was staggering in a state of drunkenness with sin, that I could not get out of, though I tried. I was tortured by my conscience, who knew what I was doing was wrong. I remained in this state, till I awoke to the concept of forgiveness. I thought I could use it as a tool against my conscience. So I begged God to forgive me, with my lips, though totally elsewhere in heart, till I thought that my begging was sufficient. Then I would return to sin, and again beg forgiveness. And I became locked in a cycle, constantly sinning, constantly repenting and asking forgiveness.
Then Satan came to me, and broke this by saying, “Look at your self. You are continually going back to sin. Do you honestly think yourself worthy of forgiveness? Do you think you being are forgiven?” and when I heard this, I knew it was true, and my misery was more than doubled.
In my desperation, I turned to God, expecting to find a different answer. But he told me it was true. He showed better than anyone that I was not worthy of forgiveness. And I sank lower than ever. I fell in to a despair that I thought I would escape from, so deep and so terrible it was. But at that time, when I was at my lowest, God said, “You are not worthy of forgiveness. But, I give it anyway.” He Showed the Mercy of Christ which is beyond description. And was lifted, and I knew I had been delivered. I knew I was forgiven.
the sanctification: but even then, God was not through with me. It would not be enough to simply be forgiven. If that were all, what would keep me form returning to sin? But no, I had to be broken from sin. I too knew that. Once forgiven, my sins weren‘t good enough. The Spirit began working in me. He showed me how to live for my Forgiver and my God, mostly through his Word, and through spiritual books, and the foolishness of preaching. I became alive to what God had for me, and now I feel that I couldn’t have anything else. My prayers and readings became alive, not because of anything I had done. If I could have obtained forgiveness through my own merits, (which I could not), I wouldn’t have done it. But now I had forgiveness through the merits of Christ, and his Spirit is working within me.
the death to self: I have to confess that at first, I thought more of myself and less of Christ. But he showed me that I had not enough in myself to live for. The more he showed me of Christ, the more I saw that I lacked in myself. He would show me Christ in his word; in other people, past and present; in all that was around me, I saw either the worth of Christ, or the disgustingness of self. Every thing I did that was against Christ was tasteless to me. And though even now I still sin to excess, I hate it for Christ sake. And though I am dying to self, I am, in Christ, becoming ore alive than ever before.
the death to the world: the world and I had always been best buddies. But it was one of those types of “friendships” where one is always following the other. And the world was the leader in this one. But when I came to Christ, he showed me that I could not be a friend to Christ and to the world. I had to become completely engulfed in worldliness, or follow him. But thankfully he had already decided. I had to follow Christ, and his Spirit has been, and probably will still be doing to the day I die, flushing out the world, and all of its vain pleasures. God will suffer no rival. And by the help of his Spirit, I am open to all blows from his chisel till all the world is nothing to me. I am not saying that I will be totally separate from the world, nor will I lay aside all the blessings and enjoyments that God has for me down here. But by the Spirit’s help, the temporal will fade in view of the eternal.
I believe I have more than is enough to fit in one post. On my next post, I plan to expound on this subject a little more, delving more into specifics. Till then…