The year is coming to a close and I rejoice with the angels who welcomed several into the Christian faith in the last few weeks! What a great way to end the year. Last week we were told of two people who came to know Christ as Savior and then this Sunday another young man came forward and accepted Christ. These new believers are beginning a journey which will change their lives forever.
We all have a story to tell. One woman recently shared she thought for years she was a born again Christian, but wasn’t sure she would really enter heaven’s gate when she was called home. Her conviction led her to her knees to make things right with God so she could know for certain she was indeed going to spend eternity with Jesus. What struck me as remarkable about her story is how long she believed in her salvation before she realized she really hadn’t given her heart to God.
Even those of us who grew up in the faith, can be deceived. We were raised in Christian homes where we attended church every Sunday, had parents who were believers and generally learned all about what it meant to be a Christian. This was driven home when another young man shared his story of going to church every Sunday morning, evening and even Wednesday night prayer meetings with his family. He assumed because he was involved in all the “goings on” of church, youth group and even into his adult life, he was on his way to heaven. Years later he realized he had never asked God to be Lord of his life.
Someone said once, “Just because you sit in the garage, doesn’t mean you’re a car.” While that is true, so is, “Just because you attend church, doesn’t make you a Christian!” It is easy to have “head knowledge.” We eventually absorb what we hear, especially if we hear it often. But if we never make a heart commitment to the Savior, we have accomplished little, and certainly not gained salvation. We don’t “inherit” our parent’s salvation. We don’t become a born again Christian because of our works or because we follow the Law. It’s about sacrifice. It’s about an admission of sins and repentance.
As 2014 comes to a close, many people make New Year’s resolutions in a genuine attempt to make changes. They have “resolved” …… You might plan to exercise or eat better, lose some weight, begin new projects or have another type of resolution. Perhaps you have made a resolution to read the Bible more, maybe all the way through this year. Maybe you plan on trying to memorize scripture, or become involved in the Youth group at church, teach a Sunday School class or even join the choir, all of which are commendable resolutions.
I suggest the greatest resolution any one person can make for 2015 is to study the Bible consistently. I contend “studying” is different than reading, going to a Bible Fellowship class, or listening to sermons, although all of these are excellent behaviors. But to sit, one on one with The Lord, to abide in His presence while you read His “Love Letter” to you; searching the text for clarity, sources for true meaning (perhaps a Greek dictionary), share your heart with Him, and then just listening to what He has to tell you will make more of a difference in your life than any other single thing you can do.
So my challenge for this year is to consider setting a time every day when you have “one on one” time with The Father. When you do, the blessings will come.
Happy New Year, everyone!