Difficult experiences in life often challenge us to reflect on and examine our lives more deeply than we otherwise would. Yes, there is grief, and anger, and regret, and frustration. But there is also courage, and hope, and compassion, and purpose. If you are struggling with purpose, and an emptiness inside, then it might be possible that God is challenging you right now, through this struggle, about your life’s calling.
God calls us. We experience that call as an inkling in our heart that maybe there really is a God… Maybe I should find out about Him… You may be on this page because you have felt that need, that calling. If you are here, God wants you. He is reaching out to you. He loves you and is calling you to a higher purpose than you have ever had before.
Perhaps all the struggles I have faced simply had their purpose in leading YOU here – to my story. Perhaps God allowed all these things to happen in my life so that YOU might be offered this chance to know Him. If so, one heart won, and one soul saved for eternity is worth all the sacrifice, pain, and challenge. YOU are worth it.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. – Romans 10:13
1. Know How God Sees You
According to God, breaking even one of His laws, once, results in the death penalty.
3. Want to Change
Once God shows you how lost you are, and what that means, you now have a choice. You can choose to ignore Him, or you can choose to do something about it. God wants to restore the relationship. But you have to want to restore the relationship too. Relationships go both ways.
A change of heart, seeing ourselves as utterly lost and wanting to do something about it, is called repentance. Just recognizing that we do bad things (as defined by God), but not having a desire to stop, is not true repentance. We must truly want to be changed, to be restored to relationship with God.
4. There’s Only One Way Out
“But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)
God does not want you to be separated from Him for eternity. He created hell and the eternal Lake of Fire for satan and the fallen angels, NOT for humans. But you will go there if you reject God’s rescue plan. He wants you to come back to His family. So He sent a part of Himself, Jesus Christ, to die for you. The Bible makes it clear that every sin has to be punished by death and paid by the penalty of innocent blood. Jesus lived a perfect life on Earth – though He lived as a man under God’s Law, He never broke the Law. This qualified Him to take our sins upon Himself to become a perfect sacrifice. Jesus died on the cross to take our punishment for us. His blood paid the price required by God for our sins.
“But God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
It doesn’t end there, though. On the third day, Jesus was raised to life, to a new eternal body. When we join God’s spiritual family, we, too, will get a new eternal body someday.
“the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord” (Romans 3:23)
5. Turn From Yourself Towards God and Believe
We chose to sin and Jesus chose to be a “sin-bearer” and take God’s wrath for us. God offers an all-inclusive “forgiveness slip” to every human on earth. If we believe what God has said about us (we are totally lost and have no hope of saving ourselves), and what He has done to fix it (Jesus is the only way as a Savior), we can obtain this “forgiveness slip”. We can ask God for Jesus’ payment to be applied to our account. This allows us to be declared innocent and sin-free in God’s Eyes – the debt we owed for our crimes is paid. Salvation is a change in legal standing before God – from “guilty” to “not guilty”.
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:9-10
When you say Jesus is Lord, this means you believe He is God and He deserves to be Lord of your life. When you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you accept that what the Bible teaches about Jesus is true and that His death paid the price for your wrongdoings. If Jesus is your Savior, He is also your Lord.
For many years I didn’t “get” the simplicity of salvation and tried to “earn” it (by repeating the sinner’s prayer, trying to live morally, etc). However, anything we do to try and “add to” or “maintain” salvation (such as sacraments, good works on our own effort) leads to death, because it means that we don’t accept that Jesus’ finished work on the cross was sufficient – which is the one thing we need to believe to be saved. “It is finished”. It’s not about anything we DO, but about what Jesus has already DONE. We can’t earn it or maintain it in any way – we are not and will not ever be worthy. That’s the beauty of God’s grace.
For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Asking for Jesus’ sacrifice in our stead results in immediate salvation and sealing of the Holy Spirit. That’s what being “Born Again” means. We are forgiven. We can’t accidentally lose our salvation, and God won’t remove it from us or ever kick us out of the sheep fold. There is Biblical evidence that suggests we are given free choice to reject our salvation and leave the faith, so make sure you hold firm in your beliefs until death.
6. What Next?
Fifth, there are books and articles and sermons online you can learn from. Books I highly recommend are Jerry Bridges’ Pursuit of Holiness and Practice of Godliness. This church has such wonderful articles on saving faith and growing in Christ.
What if I still struggle with sin?
Even the godliest people struggle with sin – doing what we don’t want to do, or not doing what we want to do. We still wear the sin nature in this natural body. However, our hearts and minds are freed from being enslaved to it – if we call for help – God will provide a way out so we don’t HAVE to sin. The trick is identifying temptation early, and halting it before we are sucked into full blown sin.
You will still sin, but you will have a desire to get back on track and restore your relationship with God (although individual sins won’t take away your salvation, it will put you out of relationship with God). The Holy Spirit will start to convict you of sins. It is your job to listen to Him and follow His lead, to progress in holiness (sanctification).
7. What if I Don’t “Feel” Saved?
If you do not feel secure in your salvation, IT IS RIGHT TO EXAMINE YOURSELF, to see if you are in the faith.
If you can continue in habitual sin without feeling remorse and guilt (even common sins like sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, gossip, lying, cheating…) then you should question whether you are saved. The Holy Spirit will convict you of sin.
The “heart” is comprised of our mind/intellect, our emotions/feelings, and our will/actions. We have feelings about God, we think through the facts about Jesus and the Bible, and our actions will demonstrate what we believe. In each of these areas, we must rely on GOD to provide the faith. We can’t make ourselves believe – we can’t force feelings, we can’t understand if our spiritual eyes are closed, and actions done on our own effort will consistently fizzle over time. Examine if all 3 aspects of your heart are in alignment. If not, confess that to God and pray for HIM to provide you with saving faith. God rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
Do not give up! Do not despair! Cling to God with all your might.
PLEASE, God is calling you. He LOVES you. He WANTS you in His family.
How to join God’s family: HERE
Make Sure You Follow the Right Jesus: HERE
Read God’s Word, the Bible. Suggested order:
The Gospel of John
The Gospel of Mark
The Gospel of Luke
The Gospel of Matthew