Are you saved?
If the response is a hedge, the responder is probably not saved, and still groping, and needs help. Or, his faith is weak, fragile. He has doubts. A lot of responses start with “well”, or “sort of”, or “maybe”. Others, “the Bible says.” That last indicates a lack of understanding of the Bible.
Salvation is a transformative experience. Given a chance, it will grow in the Holy Spirit and permeate every fiber of one’s being and every part of one’s life. Old habits die, new ones form. There is peace within one’s inner self.
I had been endlessly tortured by memories of my sins (some of which are pretty bad); I had been fearful of situations since early childhood. And in my heart I expected I had a lot to answer for.
But it was cancer – stage IV – that brought me to my knees. I am not telling of a miracle cure of my physical disease, but rather of how God used the disease I had richly deserved to save my soul. And he, in his wisdom and judgment, left me with the disease to keep me on the righteous path. I am okay with that I am okay with all of his decisions and I trust him completely. Amen.
I describe in detail in I, witness how that happened. You can read it if you want to know the details.
Here is the point: the experience was effective.
First, the terrible burden of guilt I carried that had me chained to the past and fearful of the future was lifted, and I still feel regret about those things, but the weight that was on my heart is gone.
Second, my fear of dying, of pain, and of things I had feared since I was four years old was gone. I still get the physical reaction of adrenaline and cortisone in the body but I understand it is only the natural response of flesh, flesh I will leave behind like clothes I donate to the poor, no longer needing them.
Third I see with different eyes, I hear with different ears, love with a different heart my fellow human beings. I love my “crew” of homeless people, those I work with, my new home church friends, my doctors and nurses. I always loved my wife and kids, but now my cup runneth over.
Fourth, for three years I can honestly say that I have felt happiness and joy and peace every single day not one day have I felt depressed all day or fearful. This does not necessarily mean saved people can’t be depressed, sad, or afraid, we can and do experience the full range of emotions and sometimes even more deeply that before. They hurt sometimes. But, we have a way to deal with them emotionally and intellectually and spiritually. We are not destroyed by them IF we hold to our faith and trust God.
Fifth, I have become what psychologists call “self-actualized”. I call it “spirit led.” I have lost 75 pounds, got in shape. I have started a real presence among the homeless people I serve. I have helped with fundraising and wrote I, Witness; and through it I am working to send the gospel of Jesus Christ to 1 million people. I hope after that to be able to set an even bigger goal. But, it is not me, the old Joe McGee, doing these things. That person is dead. This is the Holy Spirit in Joe’s flesh, or the Holy Spirit with Joe’s spirit grafted to it. Amen.
As long as I stay true to my Lord Jesus Christ, His spirit dwells in me and the things we do are special, meaningful. I have purpose and meaning and fulfillment. Amen.
These writings I write, beginning with the book, are not mine, but the spirit working in me. I can feel it. Amen.
I never know before I start exactly what I will write – the spirit gives it to me as I hold the pen. I have to do it in longhand first.
God works in miraculous ways but they are not always painless. He knows everything, we do not. He uses pain to teach us and guide us, so be not afraid of it. Read Hebrews 12:1 – 13. Pain is not always a bad thing for the saved.
So, my message to all is a simple one. Whatever you are suffering from the cure is Christ. I don’t mean the physical. I mean the deeper pains of the spirit grief, loss, hopelessness. These are real, and are part of living in a fallen world. Let them bring you on your knees to the foot of the cross. There, make your confession to him and receive his mercy. Surrender your life to him.
After, become his instrument. Read the Bible, and let him guide you through the Holy Spirit to love and forgive and serve. Become part of him and let him become all of you. Amen.