Monday, December 13, 2010

Alive from the Dead

What would you do if you could not ultimately fail? If you had unlimited power pouring in and through you, enabling you to live a life that transforms the world around you with such force that the effect lasts forever? Welcome to the Christian life. This is your life as a believer. You are a citizen of heaven, a child of the living God. You have entered into the unlimited realm of God, connected to the most powerful and loving Being whoever was, or is, or will be. He is taking over the earth, calling the dead to life, and building His kingdom one life at a time. People come as He calls and He transfers them out of darkness into His marvellous light. He is saving them-- not just for themselves; He’s saving them for Himself, for His purposes on earth as He seeks out the lost. He is saving you to send you into the world as His ambassador, to be a voice of love proclaiming the truth of His gospel. He pulled you out of the darkness into the light to put you right back in to set others free through you.

When He birthed you new through His Spirit, He gave you everything you need for “life and godliness.” You reign with Him as He brings all things into alignment with Himself. You will “walk on water” with Him, doing impossible God-tasks by faith alone. You cannot try to live the Christian life. No amount of Bible reading will get you closer to God. No amount of prayer. Church attendance and seminars will not do it. You are now as close to God as you will ever be, because of what He did in Christ. You are as complete as you will ever be. You must believe that works won’t improve you; faith alone connects you with God.

Christianity is vital and alive when it is really real. When it is fake, it brings disgrace to God. True Christianity cannot be faked. It can’t be contrived. It just is what it is. There are only two realities in human existence: Death or Life. People either exist in Death or they exist in Life. If you are disconnected from God, you are dead in your sin or independence. If you are connected to God, you are alive in your dependence upon Him.

Knowing the Genuine Article

Many people who say they are Christians, even those who grew up in the church, may not really know God. Wow, you might say, that’s pretty harsh. It might sound harsh and those words might pierce you, but they are true. If you prayed a “sinner’s prayer” but it seemed to have no impact of God in your life, you have reason to question if you are really saved. How can I say that? I say it because Jesus said it first. He said we will know His disciples by the fruit of their lives. We will say to Him, Lord, we healed the sick, we went to church, we shared the Bible with everyone we met, and He will say, away from Me, away from Me, I never knew you. Are you His? Does He know you? Have you surrendered to Him from your heart? Not in word, but in essence. Have you truly had an encounter with the gospel, the good news of God?

If God birthed you new, you are new. How will you know? You will know by the fruit that begins to show. If He made you new, He placed His Spirit in you and is now working out His righteousness in and through you. You will not want to sin. Your former life will become uncomfortable to you. If you lie now, it will hurt you. If you steal, it will press in on you. You won’t like it anymore. You will want your behaviour to line up with the reality of the transformation in your spirit. You cannot deny Him. You will want to proclaim His gospel, the good news of His salvation.

But, if you are not really His, you can openly disrespect Jesus and not care. You will be apathetic and religious and put on a good front. You will think only of yourself and try to look good. You do not love God and will not want to be about His business. There will be no lasting transformation within or around you. But if you are alive, if there is life in you, you want God. You hunger for Him. You love Him. You may not know how to walk with Him or know what to believe deeply yet, but you want Him. It’s in the DNA of who you are as His creation. You were “created in Christ Jesus for good works” that He “prepared in advance” for you to walk in. You long for Him. You love Him, and it breaks your heart that you seem to fall short of pleasing Him.

No one can make a dead person live but God. Many churches are filled with dead people who think they are alive. Their works are dead works, devoid of power. They focus is on self, not God. They try to learn the Bible, but cannot understand what it says. The natural mind does not understand the Word of God. It is truly a holy book which has to be revealed to you by God. He gives understanding through His Spirit. If you don’t have His Spirit, you will not be able to understand. If God has birthed life in you, He will give you understanding as you yield to Him for His purpose, for His will alone. His wisdom always lines up with His will. He will never move according to your will or desires unless they perfectly line up with His own. He’s about His own will and His will is the right will. This is the profound difference between doing religion to having a thriving, celebrating relationship with God.

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