When I tell my faith story, I usually mention my trip down the aisle . . . how I was saved and baptized at 12 years old. Because I didn’t want to go to hell when I died, becoming a Christian seemed like a no-brainer.
My friend John says, “What you save people from determines what you save them to.” At age 12, I was saved from hell and to heaven . . . and that was that! It was a transaction . . . Jesus’ death for my sin, and in return, I get a clean slate and a ticket to heaven when my time comes.
While every bit of that is true, it misses the point. Jesus did what He did for me so He and I could have a relationship. But since I viewed it as a transaction, my conversion experience vaccinated me from an authentic relationship with Jesus. I thought the deal was finished while He intended it to be the beginning.
Humbling oneself, admitting that we’re sinners in need of a Savior, praying and thanking God for His forgiveness (made possible by Jesus death and resurrection), inviting the Holy Spirit to take up residence in one’s heart, and committing to following Jesus are all essential first steps in the journey of a Christian. Jesus called it being “born again.” I believe this transaction carves out a space in our hearts for God. It’s like partitioning a hard drive. How much you use and grow that space, how much you listen to His voice and obey . . . all that is up to you. But that space is there. It will always be there as will He, waiting for your engagement in a relationship.
Don’t lie to yourself about where you are with God. If you first met Jesus through an altar call years ago, that’s awesome. It’s time to move beyond that . . . to move into a meaningful, intimate relationship. Start talking to Him. Pour out your heart. Read His Word and listen to His voice. Obey whatever He leads you to do. Engage with Jesus. He didn’t just save you away from hell; He saved you into an intimate relationship with His Father and Himself, enabled by the Holy Spirit.
Isn’t it time to go further in, follow Him, and make your faith real?
Scripture: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. (John 10:27-30)