The author of an article for Christianity Today caught my attention by addressing the laziness of Christians who stop at the cross and stare, rather than try to learn and grow and ultimately bear fruit to advance God’s Kingdom. The paragraph that really stood out for me is:
Mediocrity and hypocrisy characterize the lives of many avowed Christians, at least in part because of our default answer to the salvation question. Anyone can, and most Americans do, “believe” in Jesus rather than some alternative savior. Anyone can, and many Americans sometimes do, say a prayer asking Jesus to save them. But not many embark on a life fully devoted to the love of God, the love of neighbor, the moral practice of God’s will, and radical, costly discipleship. So many believe that the sinner prayer has purchased them a permanent card to heaven.
This article speaks about the dangers of believing one is saved, but continues to believe without the evidence of the Holy Spirit working within. “Faith without works is dead” James 2:20 addresses this. The danger of doing nothing, or not doing enough to advance His kingdom.
Becoming saved brings a gradual change within your very heart. Those who truly believe in Jesus and the completed work He finished on the cross know that with our belief in Him, the Holy Spirit begins to take over.
As a Believer in Christ I know that as the Holy Spirit starts to “work more and more” as I surrender to God “more and more.” When I do, I notice changes within myself I never noticed before.
I desire to sin less and less ( even though we are still in fact sinners) and desire to do more of what God desires. My heart convicts me and I start to put off the old me that used to give in to sin so easily.
For example, if you used to steal envelopes from work to save a few extra dollars a year, you knew it was stealing as the old you but you did it anyway. You justified your sin maybe thinking, “This company won’t miss it, they can afford it.” You may have felt guilty but hey, it isn’t like you stole a van or anything.
The new you begs you to question if this is right or wrong. The next time you reach for a few envelopes, your heart starts to let you know that taking them really isn’t right. The Holy Spirit convicts your heart, lets you question if this behavior really is excusable or is it a true crime. Eventually in time your heart convinces you it is in fact stealing and as a believer you will shed that ugly desire stealing for envelopes. We shed the old and put on the new.
The Holy Spirit works within. You notice changes in how you think, how you act. You curse less. You think more in terms of how pleasing your behavior is to God. You become more accountable, and ask other Christians to help you become more accountable for sin in your life (confessing sin to one another).
Eventually as you start maturing and understanding Scripture through Bible study, fellowship and worship in the church, you begin to answer that certain calling in your heart. You feel your compassion for your fellow man.
You become less judgmental of others and genuinely care for the spiritual condition of those you love. You witness to loved ones. As you mature and grow more confident in God’s Word you witness to others outside your family—strangers. You begin to wonder how can you bring God into a conversation to open an opportunity to witness in some way.
You no longer step over a homeless person in the city. You start to wonder what can you do to share God’s plan of salvation in Christ. You wonder does your church offer services for homeless, are there any soup kitchen or shelter you can be of service to. Your heart pulls you into service of some sort. You realize God has called you into his service.
Eventually you want to do His work.`
Your heart convicts you. You feel God pulling you in certain directions. Your life becomes more Christ-centered, and yet you are still you, and you enjoy doing God’s work.
I hope this isn’t too much to read and this certainly it isn’t the end all and be all of how God works in a person’s life. Some of what I write I have pulled from my own life experiences, and some I have observed in others who are saved.