I recently heard someone say that He wanted to commit himself to Christ. He had been going to church and really liked it. But he had yet to give his life to Christ.
He felt he wasn’t ready, because he still had “bad thoughts”. He felt like a hypocrite. Is this something you have experienced, or are experiencing?
It is not uncommon.
I believe there is a misconception about Christianity held by many in our society. Because God calls us to repent from our sins, there is the feeling that unless we release our baggage first, we cannot honestly give our lives over to our Savior. It is that fear that they will make a commitment they cannot keep. They are afraid they will break their promise to God.
“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”
–1 Timothy 1:15
The passage is pretty clear. The most important part of it is where Paul says that Jesus Christ came to save sinners, of which he is the chief. He clearly tells us that he is no better than anyone else, a sinner just like you and I. Yet God granted him His heavenly grace. Are we to believe that Paul did not sin after he was saved? Absolutely not. There was only one sinless man, and He died on the cross for our sins. So just like Paul, we are sinners, and we will fail. We will sin. If we wait until all of our baggage is behind us, when will we ever be ready?
“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’
The passage above tells of the criminal that was being crucified with our Lord and Savior. The criminal recognized that the man next to him was the Messiah, and asked Jesus to remember him. Jesus’ answer tells it all. That criminal sits in heaven today. I see nothing in this passage asking the man to go resolve his issues first. Jesus accepted him, as broken and fallen as he was, Jesus invited him into heaven with his arms outstretched.
He is doing the same for us today.
Jesus does not tell us to change, then come to Him. It is the exact opposite. He is telling us to come to Him, and He in turn will change us. It is not about us, but rather about Him. It is only our pride that thinks otherwise. It is the sin within us that tells us we have all the answers, and that we can do it all.
We could not be more wrong.
Giving our life to Christ is simply a recognition that God is in total control. It is about surrender, recognizing that we can’t do it alone, that we are truly in need of a Savior. When we finally make this acknowledgement, it is the Holy Spirit dwelling within us that begins the process of molding us into what God wants us to be.
There is another issue here – another misconception. I think in many cases, we are waiting for that “aha” moment, that divine moment when God speaks to us, before we commit. In many cases, I believe the church is at fault for giving people the impression that this is the way it always works. So people are waiting for a sign, a light, a billboard, something that tells them that God is knocking on our hearts. When we don’t hear or see it, we make the decision that we are not ready. Some of us may make the mistaken conclusion that we need to “fix” ourselves before God will accept us, and that is why we have not experienced the “born again” experience others talk about.
Well, did it ever occur to you that God may have been speaking you, and you have missed it? Maybe He isn’t going to knock you upside your head. But you are reading this aren’t you? Is it possible God is using me, or this blog? Is it possible this is the 100th time God has made an appearance and it is your fallen state that is masking it as something else? Is it possible that the change in you is waiting to happen, if you just take that one simple step, and let God carry you the rest of the way, safe in His arms?