I have a secret that I want to share with you. It shouldn’t be hidden, but the world loves to bury it and to couch it in misleading phrases that turn people away. I want you to know about it though, so that you can consider it. But once you hear it, don’t stop reading. Please hear me out. I promise to keep it short.
The secret is that Jesus Christ will change your life. I guarantee it.
But He can only act on your behalf if you are courageous enough to permit it.
That’s right; it is up to you to permit Jesus to work in your life. It is up to you to surrender your life to Him. It is up to you to reach out and take the hand He continuously holds out to you. It’s not easy, but it is simple. I promise you that becoming suddenly judgmental and boring is not part of it, either. You won’t lose your sense of humor or your personality. In fact, the best things about you will only be enhanced, while the parts that drag you down day after day and keep you up at night berating yourself will be refined away. But it is up to you.
It is up to you to be weary enough of fighting, always fighting, to control
- your future
- your employment
- your love-life
- your past
- your weight
- your education
- your children
- your parents
- your thoughts
- your desires
- your weaknesses
- your strengths
- your ambition
- your passiveness
- your aggression
- your anger
- your sadness
- your depression
- your life.
I guarantee you, Jesus Christ will change your life if you let Him. Do you have the courage to consider it?
17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (NLT)
Maybe you are already saved. You said the prayer and invited Christ to dwell in your heart. So, what next? There are deeper places to go in your walk with Christ. To get there, you must surrender control to Him. Once we accept Christ into our hearts, He begins immediately to work in our lives. But then a phenomenon occurs to which none of us are immune; we forget to engage with Him. We begin to wrest control back from Him. We might cease reading the Word or start skipping fellowship and bible study. We get busy, turn introspective, and forget to reach out to others. We all experience these times. It is not because we are not good Christians — it is because we are human and live in a fallen world where entropy cannot be denied. We forget to live actively in the kingdom of God. Just like muscles atrophy with disuse, our faith fails without active engagement in God’s Word.
If you are not a Christian, I urge you to learn about it from a dynamic, spirit-filled source. Read C. S. Lewis. I recommend The Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity. Read Dr. Charles Stanley. These are trustworthy sources for information about Christianity. You may not agree with everything they say. That’s okay. But understand that there are many untrustworthy sources out there, too. If you are unsure of the text you’ve found, or question what one says, ask me about it. I am happy to help you. In fact, I am commissioned to do so by the highest authority.
Finally, whether you are a Christian or just want to know more about Christianity, please read the New Testament. Here’s a quick outline:
1. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John: The first four books are the Gospels. They tell about the life of Jesus Christ.
2. Acts tells the history of the church: how it began, how it spread.
3. The Epistles come next. They were letters sent from apostles and disciples to churches and to other followers of Christ.
- Paul wrote most of them: Romans, First and Second Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, First and Second Thessalonians all written to churches; and First and Second Timothy, Titus, and Philemon all written to colleagues and church leaders.
- The author of Hebrews is unknown. This epistle was written to Christians experiencing persecution, to exhort and encourage them in their faith.
- James was written by James the Just, brother of Jesus (note that this conclusion is contrary to the Catholic doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary, mother of Jesus). Rather than a letter of direction, the epistle of James is a book of wisdom such as the Proverbs. It includes preferred attitudes, according to the message of Jesus Christ, such as warnings against boasting, judging, and greed, along with exhortations toward friendship, love, patience, and prayer.
- First and Second Peter were presumably written by the apostle Peter, though this is in dispute by scholars. First Peter was written to churches in Asia Minor. Second Peter was written to churches in general.
- First, Second, and Third John were written (along with the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation) by John the Evangelist, the apostle of Jesus. They were each written to different audiences.
- Jude was written by Jude, brother of James the Just. This very short book (25 verses in one chapter) was written to all Christians, and warns of false teachers.
Revelation, the apocalypse of John, is the most difficult of the New Testament books to read. It was written by John of Patmos (presumably John the Apostle exiled to Patmos) in the form of a letter. It is a record of a vision given to John. Some people interpret Revelation as being a vision of what will happen at the end of the world. Others feel that it describes only the intense persecution that Christians were undergoing during the time in which it was written (95 A.D.). People often hotly debate the meaning. Books, televisions shows, and movies have used the book thematically. The book is complex and confusing, but contains wisdom to help Christians live their lives on Earth according to Jesus’ teaching.
Dear friends and readers, I want for you the joy and deep satisfaction of living that comes from actively engaging in a life with Jesus at the front and center. His mercies are tender and generous for those who love Him. He is our strength and our greatest advocate, our shelter in times of trouble. Run to Him. His arms are open wide, and waiting just for you.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (NLT)