Let me briefly give you my story. It is a journey in progress, but it had a definite starting point. When I was younger, I was raised in church and I could spout all the “right answers” to the questions about salvation and how to be saved. But it was a matter of knowledge and head smarts and not a matter of the heart with me. It was not until the summer after I had graduated from high school that the life of faith became real to me. Up until that point in my life, I had chosen to do my own thing and live life on my terms. I called myself a Christian, but I had no real desire to live like Jesus. Sure I was a “good kid” and most who saw me probably thought I was born again, but in my heart, I knew better. When I was confronted with the truth, I decided that God was the one who should be in charge of things in my life and not me. I decided to follow Jesus and learn from Him how to live. I became a disciple of Jesus.
In order to be a disciple of Jesus, you must be born again (John 3:3, 8). If you have not been born again, this is the place to start before you do anything else. I will try to keep the explanation simple and stick with John 3 in this case:
14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
Jesus’ actual message was even simpler as He proclaimed the same Gospel (or Good News) that John had proclaimed to herald Jesus’ ministry as Messiah, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” Jesus called people to renounce their own walk to follow in His footsteps of obedience to God. We are incapable of walking this way in total obedience and tend to follow our own way, which results in death(Romans 6:23), but God offers to justify us on the basis of Jesus’ obedient life and sacrificial death in our place. Jesus took your place and received the wages of your sin and offers you in its stead eternal life, which is the reward for His Life. The life of faith is a life lived in the conviction that God is real and that He rewards those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Jesus took the curse of death that came from our failings and leaves us the opportunity to pursue life and blessings that God has promised.
When confronted with your own sinfulness, you have two choices. You can acknowledge that God is right and confess your way is leading to death and then turn around and walk God’s way – this is believing God. The other option is to decide that you like the way things are going and elect to stick with doing things your own way – this is not believing God. The first option will begin a new life of faith; the second will continue a life of faithlessness, for that is the default position of man (Romans 3:23)
I leave you with the words of Scripture:
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live
– Deuteronomy 30:19