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Can’t just say it!

Let’s just dive right in to this one.  I’ve often thought about the practice of talking someone in to praying the prayer of salvation.  I’ve seen that kind of thing since the beginning of my walk with Jesus.  I actually took a class where they taught us to approach people in grocery stores, laundry mats, etc and ask them, “if you were to die today do you know if you’re going to Heaven or hell?”  Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are many good hearted, well meaning Christians doing this because they don’t want anyone going to hell.  This is not to criticize anyone, only to drive some thought this morning.

I believe we’re called to be seed slingers.  To scatter the seeds of Gods Word, demonstrate love, kindness, generosity, authenticity, and humility.  When we live this life, the Christian life then we are not only scattering the seeds but we are also watering them.  But we can’t force them to grow.  In 1 Corinthians 3:6 Paul says, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”  In other words, you and I, we can’t save anyone, we can’t talk them in to getting saved, we can’t guilt people to Jesus, we can’t scare people to Jesus, we can’t argue people to Jesus, we show people the freedom and joy we’ve found as a result of living an authentic Christian life.  We love them to Jesus!

I can’t find anywhere in the Bible where a person received salvation by saying a prayer!  BAMM!  No, in fact, in Matthew 28:19 Jesus said, “go out and make disciples” not “go out and make decisions.”  Accepting the free gift of salvation is something we do, not something we simply say.  Romans 10:9 Paul tells us, “confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  He goes on to say, in Romans 10:13, “all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  

Salvation is a heart thing, it’s not just something we say.  You have to believe in your heart!  We should be living a life that doesn’t make sense to the world.  A life that’s not natural but super natural.  The kind of life that non believers see and know there’s something different about us, something not natural.  The kind of life that those non believers around us will notice and decide they might want.  That’s what we’re called to do.  To be Christians, living out the freedom, joy, and hope that we’ve found.  And when people ask we should be ready to tell them about it.

I was recently talking to a Christian brother and he told me about a saying from Alcoholics Anonymous, “Enforced morality lacks the power that comes to us when we choose to live a spiritual life.”

That is a powerful statement.  I’ve been chewing on it for a couple weeks now.  Recently, I met a Celebrate Recovery leader that wanted to make newcomers do a 12 step study.  I had to tell the leader that you can’t force someone to work the 12 steps, you have to inspire them to do it.  God doesn’t force us to love Him.  He gives us the free will to choose Him over the world.  He lays out the path to freedom, to joy, to peace, to eternity and then He lets us choose.  Even after we receive the free gift of salvation He doesn’t force morality on us.  In fact He gave His only Son to pay the price for our sin, our immorality because we can’t be good enough, we can’t be moral enough to have a loving relationship with the Father.

But when we choose to accept His gift, His son, His forgiveness then we have the desire to live morally.  In other words we begin to choose to live life the way He tells us to.  We will never be perfect in this life but we can begin to see it perfectly.  That’s where the power is.  Learning to live life on life’s terms, accepting this world as it is, not as you and I might have it.  There’s power there because we’ve learned to trust God in all things, not in some things but in ALL things.

So, to wrap up I’d say that God allows many of us to experience the consequences of moral depravity.  In recovery we call it hitting bottom.  When we just can’t take the darkness anymore, then the light will look more attractive.  When we choose to live life in the light we can experience the power that comes in making the choice.  The heart choice that gives us not only salvation but the desire to live life the way we were intended to.  And that my friends is where the power is.  In choosing to continue to strive to live life the way Jesus instructs us to.  When we become disciples making disciples.

We can’t just say it, we have to believe it, then we have the power to live it!

Jeff Stultz


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