I will never forget the day I prayed to receive Christ as my savior 26 years ago; I was overcome with a feeling of euphoria and joy instantaneously. It seemed like a light bulb went on in my head. I finally found the answer to my problem; I was void of spiritual life and on that day became spiritually alive because I was indwelt by Christ. It was an exciting time. I was in a vibrant church with great worship, fellowship and teaching. Everything was going fantastic. I now call this my honey moon period, because after about 2 years, things started to change.
I started realizing that living the Christian life wasn’t as easy to live as it was starting out. I wanted to be holy, serve and understand the bible. I read in the scriptures how a Christian was supposed to act. I wanted so desperately to be Godly in my behavior, but was falling short. My mindset was to try harder. This seemed logical at the time because, let’s face it. In secular life, trying harder produces results. When you work hard in school, you get good grades. When you practice hard in a sport, you eventually get better skills in that sport. When you work hard in your job, you get recognition, promotions and bonuses. So I figured, let’s try harder at being a Christian. This must the way to be Godly and live the Christian life.
So now the journey of trying harder started. I decided that going to all church functions every week would help. This included a Sunday morning service, a Saturday night service, a prayer meeting on Wednesday night, and a men’s bible study on Friday morning. I also disciplined myself to have a daily 45 minute quiet time every morning. I also figured that I better learn how to study the bible inductively to gain bible knowledge and learn some Greek. I eventually decided that I needed to be in church leadership because I was doing all this stuff. Look at me; if I can do this, you can also. I will show you how. The current leadership of my first church encouraged my self effort and I was elected deacon. Serving as a deacon was added to my plate of things to do and try hard at. I was now in a leadership position, teaching the congregation how to do the things I was doing to serve and become Godly. I see now that I had good positive flesh. I was good at performing and achieving in things Christians are supposed to do up to a point.
This lasted for a few years until it all can crashing down over a period of a few months. I couldn’t keep all the balls in the air any longer. Every effort and thing I trusted in failed me. I got fired from my job, had conflicts with family and within the church. It came to the point where I sat with the Lord and said. Lord, I give up; I can’t live life on my own. I’ll do whatever you want me to do. I’m yours do what you want with me, show me how to live and guide me. This, I later learn is called a prayer of surrender. I gave up all my rights to my life and allowed God to do whatever He wanted with me. This is where everything started to change back to the better. I was no longer living my life, but Christ in me was living my life for me. I started and was learning how to live in dependence on Him who was in me. That was 15 years ago and I am still learning to live out of my union with Christ. I’m a work in progress. More recently, I returned to church leadership and am in the process of starting a new church.
I often say you can learn things the easy way or the hard way in living the Christian life. You can mature and grow by faith, or you can try to mature and grow by works (self effort). I learned the hard way, because I was so dependent of self effort, the Lord had to show me my error. The Lord needed to break my dependence on self. I wish I was taught how to live the Christian life up front the right way. The way of faith instead of the way of works. So what’s the best way to learn how to live the Christian life by faith? How does one delight the Lord in all he does from the start of the Christian life? Let’s look at the following verse for a good starting point:
Jeremiah 9:24 (AMP) 24 But let him who glories glory in this: that he understands and knows Me [personally and practically, directly discerning and recognizing My character], that I am the Lord, Who practices loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.
The answer is just spend time getting to know Christ. It’s that simple. Ask Christ to revel truths about Himself to you. Let Him work out how He does it. It could be through prayer, the word, experience, other believers etc. Rest and let Christ work in you and through you. It all starts with knowing Him. Knowing Him intimately by experience and walking by faith. This delights Him.
If you would like to learn more about the concepts discussed here, you can respond to this Blog, or come visit Grace Christian church any Sunday morning, in Freehold New Jersey. Everyone is welcome to come and experience the Life of Christ.
Elder / Grace Christian Church