History is often not as kind as we might like to believe. Our vision of a simple, hardworking, agricultural people, living off the land in an idyllic setting is more fantasy than fact. The reality is that ideas, beliefs and traditions in past ages have frequently proven to be strange, odd and somewhat horrifying to our modern way of thinking. Things certainly are different from what we imagine them to be, and that difference, be it driven by love, ignorance, fear, superstition or knowledge, is what moves us forward or sends us back.
Human history has been filled with the drama of generations struggling for significance, and the out-working of that struggle is what has pushed everything into the present. Take, for instance, the fact that in Medieval times someone accused of an offense, often faced a “trial by ordeal,”. That is, they were forced to stick their arm into a vat of boiling water. If their arm emerged unscathed, it prove their innocence. How about the “witch trials” that began in Salem, Massachusetts and spread due to ignorance, superstition and fear. In this case it was a “trial by fire”. The one accused of being a witch was tied to a stake in the public square, wood was piled around them and set on fire. It was believed that those who were innocent would be protected from the flames, like the three young men in the Book of Daniel. An estimated 600,000 “witches” died this way globally.
Fortunately for us, there have been changes in our way of thinking, living and governing. The systems now in place in most countries, and the laws that protect most people, seem to work substantially better than the above. That being said, the one thing that has not changed from one millennium to the next is the need for good character. The ideology and laws of democracy don’t produce it, the false conformity of socialism does not create it, and the terror imposed on the victims of the Islamic state does not bring it into being. Good character is not something that can be imposed from the outside. That’s because it is an internal condition of the heart and thoughts that reflect in the outward behavior.
Good character does not come by way of force, just like human nature does not conform well to rules and regulations. Change, real change, is always an internal issue of the human condition. It is the manifested truth within us that is revealed by what we do, and what we say when no one is looking. We can hide who we are for a while and we can fake things for a short time, but eventually what is living and breathing within us will come out. Unfortunately, self-reformation never lasts last very long. It always fails because we as humans, always fail. That is exactly why the latest self-help gadgets end up collecting dust in a back room, or get tagged in a garage sale. Natural effort will never remain committed long enough to achieve the permanent results we all desire.
The kind of change everyone needs, runs deep into the core of who we are and what we believe. Genuine change is not a quick fix, or a fast, easy solution. It is an inner revolution that brings an upheaval to an old thought pattern, or ingrained habit. This kind of revolution releases us from the guilt of past mistakes, and gives us the strength to press on, even when we fall short. What I am talking about sets people free to be who they really are. It gives fresh hope for today and fresh vision for the future. It is a radical conversion of the soul, heart and the mind that comes to the one who has surrendered to a truth that is greater than the one that has falsely defined them. I have had such an experience, and so can you!
My personal revolution came when I encountered Jesus. He turned my world upside down, inside out and front to back. He was so different, so sacrificial, so pure, so right, so other. He gripped my heart and mind, touched my soul and spirit, and reordered my thoughts and emotions. His love was a powerful and relentless agent of change. It came after me like a cleansing flood that would not be satisfied until it had me… all of me…. at every level. Through that flood of grace and truth, He restored me back to my original design, and that’s when I began to understand the heart of my Designer.
From the day I surrendered my life to Him, that incredible revolution never stopped its work in me. It has taken me to foreign countries, taught me how to love the unlovable, given me the boldness to fearlessly proclaim the truth, and shown me how to forgive the unforgivable. It has carried me when I was too weak to walk, guided me when I was too confused to move, and strengthened me when I was too tired to press on. This is what it means to live a surrendered life to the Lordship of Jesus, and it is simply amazing. There is nothing else like it in all the earth.
Living a genuinely Christian life is very different from what I imagined. It is filled with challenges and tests. There are great failures and amazing victories. There are blunders and mistakes, followed by insights and revelations that are beyond words. Those of us who live this life not perfect, we are forgiven. We seek God for clarity but still do make our mistakes. He shows us how to make things right when we mess up, and we learn how to obey HIs voice. We serve those we meet the best we can, with what we have, and He graciously gives us more. It’s a place of perfected balance between the constant weakness of our humanity and the endless strength of His divinity.
Yes, real Christianity is indeed very different from what I thought it would be. I am not strangled by rules and regulations, but I am constrained by the Love of God that sets me free to be who I was designed to be. I am not searching for the mysterious will of God, but I have a liberty and an excitement to do what He places within my heart. There is clear focus, purposed vision and genuine anticipation for what He and I will do next. I am not wrestling with the endless stain of sin, but I am wrapped in His robe of righteousness and walk in purity and power.
All of this came simply because I laid aside my narrow, preconceived ideas of an old, dead religious system, and embraced the living reality of how much Jesus loves me, and what He did for me. What about you? You may be sick of the hypocrisy of religion, and the old religious system that never provides the clarity, assurance or strength that conquers sin. You may have turned your back on all of it because there were no real answers, and way too many unanswered questions. If so, I have good news for you today. Look to the simplicity of Jesus and all you have wondered about will be answered by all He is. It’s just that simple!
Surrender and give your life to the One who Gave his life for you. Turn from the things that never satisfy but they have taken you from God. Begin your life again and live their new life the way He intended. He will enter into everything you do, heal your heart and pour His love into every area of need. Don’t settle for second best any longer, because a much better choice is available if you take it. It’s up to you! If you want more info on what it means to live for Christ, send me your address. I have some free materials that can help you on your way. My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Have A Great Day!