A Christian life is a remarkable life – if we live it as God Intended.
Sadly, many Christians never realize what’s within their grasp. But when we pursue all that God has for us, our lives can be radically changed.
We will find out-of-the-ordinary peace. And joy. And wisdom. And hope.
When we as Christians dig even deeper, we will find a closeness to God for every season. And our own individual purpose which brings an extraordinary richness and meaning to life.
So how is all of this possible?
It’s possible because of the greatest mystery of all time.
In Colossians 1:26-27, Paul speaks of this great mystery which has been hidden from ages and generations, but has been revealed to the saints. It’s this mystery which makes Christianity so totally different from any other religion in the world. Yet this mystery seems to be misunderstood even by many Christians.
So what is it? It’s Christ in you, the hope of glory. That’s right. The Holy Spirit of God dwelling inside your innermost being.
That’s what it means to be “born again.” God’s Holy Spirit brings life to you – and you are a New Creation.
You now have the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit in the inner most part of you, leading you, empowering you, changing you, and growing you to reflect the attributes of God Himself.
All other religions have laws – lists of do’s and don’ts – which, if followed, are supposed to bring you into perfection.
But our faith is different. In our faith, our lives of sin are forsaken at the cross of Jesus. We accept His sacrifice for our sinful nature – and then we accept the empowerment of His Holy Spirit to walk away from sin and into the life He has for us.
We walk away from that old nature, and we walk away from the shame and hurt it has brought us.
That’s why we know that we have power over the dark forces which try to hold us back. The “Greater One” lives on the inside of us and causes us to overcome the evils of the world…if we are relying on Him and not on ourselves.
If we will just live “from the inside out,” many of our problems will be solved. Our innermost part is where we hear from God, because His Spirit actually lives inside of us. We will not only overcome sin in our own lives and receive health for ourselves, but we will have wisdom to pray for those around us. We will have answers which will benefit them and God’s anointing to release them.
Stop and think about it.
Man is the only creature which has a choice about the way he lives his life. Animals instinctively know that they should find food, build nests or dens, mate and raise their young. They have no choice but to live from the inside out. They live from the dictates of their instincts.
In the beginning, man was created to communicate with God and to have His thoughts just as naturally as the animals were to have their instincts.. But an had a choice. Before man sinned, he lived from his spirit, not just from his mind. Then man sinned and he no longer had power over that sinful nature.
Until Jesus came and paid the ultimate price.
Now here we are today: born again and filled with His Spirit, the power is restored – but we still have a choice.
Will we live from the flesh, where there is no power? Or will we live from the spirit, where Christ resides as our Hope of Glory? The choice is always ours and we make it daily.
When Christians rise up to live from the inside out – from the spirit within – our world will be changed. Prayers will be answered more quickly, prophecies will be fulfilled, and the world will begin to see God’s true church rising to its place in the earth.
Therefore, If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation,
the old things are passed away; behold new things have come.
Now all these new things are from God. (II Corinthians 5:17-18 NASB)
The glory of Christ in us is what the world needs.
So what do we do to appropriate this power within us? We talk to our Father about it. We read His word and allow that to become part of who we are. We listen to good solid teaching which will help us to grow in our faith.
And we step out in faith, allowing God to do what He wants to do in our lives.
It’s a miraculous life, if we live it that way.
People who know Mickey and me today, know us as ministers. We’ve pastored a church, written books, have been speakers and missionaries. We also have a terrific family with 4 married children, 14 grandchildren, and one great grandchild.
We love life and love each other.
Many people know that the source of all of these blessings is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What many don’t know is that each of us had very dramatic encounters with Jesus which turned our lives around.
I want to share my story here…
It Was the End of the World As I Knew It…
I was lying face down on the floor of my suburban Atlanta home. Shattered. Exhausted. Afraid.
I had a good job and three adorable daughters. But I was overworked, trying to take care of everyone and everything. I was tired, emotionally drained, and constantly worrying about the well being of my daughters.
You see, two years before, I had gone through a very painful divorce that had left me feeling ashamed and lonely. My family didn’t believe in divorce. I didn’t believe in it. But there I was.
The world I had known had ended. The world that had started out seeming so good…
That world had started in college, when I wanted to think of myself as an intellectual. So when I read books written by a leading “scholar” from Yale Theological Seminary, I believed them. After all, he was from Yale. He must know what he’s talking about, right?
And when this “scholar” attempted to remove all of the miracles from the Bible, not much was left. I began to doubt my faith.
It seemed the fad in those days was to denounce or “modify” Christianity. I was attending a Liberal Arts College with a supposed Christian orientation, and one of our courses was on the Bible. So we analyzed and looked for “myths.” And one of the professors with lots of charisma pointed out many concepts which he considered to be myths.
Once again, I thought the professor was smart, and I believed him.
The outcome was that I continued to consider myself a Christian, but with modified beliefs. I no longer understood what the life of Jesus had accomplished. I began to think of Him as a good man. Like many other Good Men who headed up other world religions.
Soon after college, I married a like-minded man, and we began our lives together. I loved decorating our home and entertaining friends. Over the next thirteen years, I gave birth to 3 beautiful daughters, and loved being their mother.
It started out as fun. Lots of ballgames. Plays. Concerts. Travel. Parties.
The Bible had been moved back from the frontlines. Society began to dictate my thoughts and my lifestyle. I wanted to be up to date on the latest styles and topics. To know what was going on in the world. To read the latest books.
After all, my active social life required that I would be up to date on these things.
Oh, did I mention that this social lifestyle also included lots of social – and maybe not so social – drinking? Well it did.
And arguments. And more and more confusion.
In fact, things got so that they weren’t much fun anymore…
Then came the crash…and a crash it was!! A bitter divorce.
Depressed, lonely, angry, and afraid, for the next two years, I attempted to put together a single life that made sense to me. But all I could find was overwhelm. My job provided most of our needs, but I was exhausted.
So the night came when I had had enough. As my adorable girls slept, I fell face down on the floor of my den and I prayed.
It wasn’t a traditional prayer.
Forget all the books. Forget all the intellectual rhetoric.
I had a tremendous need for help.
Who cares what some professor thinks now?
I was desperate…
Jesus, if you are real, I need you. And I want you in my life.
What happened next was astonishing. It was almost instantaneous. The tears left. The fear, the sadness, the overwhelm disappeared. What was left was overwhelming joy.
It was shocking. Could this be real? What’s happening?
In an instant I had changed. I knew that Jesus was alive, and I knew that He had impacted me. I felt a warmth like liquid love being poured out on me.
I had no idea of the adventurous life He was about to lead me into. I just knew that everything was going to be O.K.
The next few days are memorable because I could tell that I wasn’t the same. My attitude – toward people – toward my own life – was different.
And I had a hunger to read the Bible. I threw off the concepts which I had borrowed from others, and began to allow the Bible to speak to me personally. And it was speaking volumes.
I ran across the verse which says,
If any man be in Christ he is a new creation. Old things are passed away and behold all things have become new. And all of these new things are of God. (II Corinthians 5:17).
That obviously had happened to me. I could tell that I wasn’t the same. Amazing!
I remember that encounter with Jesus as if it happened yesterday, but really it happened to me many years ago.
The end of my world was the beginning of a new one. A world with more clarity. More understanding. More courage. More love and faith. And true happiness – which can only come from our Father God.
A few years later, I met my current husband who also had had a dramatic encounter. His story is different, but he too met Jesus personally while alone in his home. And he too had a dramatic change in his life. Soon after our marriage, we had a son to go with our three daughters.
We have spent the last few decades on an adventure with God. Never boring. Many times challenging. But always filled with a knowledge of God’s love and care for us.
We’ve seen many miracles along the way.
Now your own personal encounter can happen for you also. You don’t have to be in a church. It can happen in your home – or anywhere.
Here’s the thing…
With every other religion the purpose is to follow a certain set of rules – or a certain philosophy. They all sound good. They all promote compassion toward others and doing good deeds
What I had never understood before my salvation was that with Jesus, it’s not about believing a philosophy or following a set of rules. It is about literally receiving His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, to come and live inside of us. Making us new. Fresh. And Alive. Truly being Born Again.
You see, the other dead philosophers are not living in our realm. Jesus is. He was resurrected and is alive. He is in heaven, but His spirit is here living inside of us when we receive Him. Right here. Right now.
My prayer is for you, as you read this, to have your faith strengthened, If you are a believer.
If you are not a believer, let me encourage you to seek Jesus. Ask Him to show you the truth. Is He real? Yes, He is. And He is eager to turn your life around also.
Your story won’t be like mine. Every one is different.
But Jesus will begin a new life which you never knew existed. A life of love, peace, and great joy.
And as you continue, you will grow in your understanding of who He is and who you are in His Kingdom.
You’ll read the Bible with fresh eyes. Verses will leap off the page and you will know that your Heavenly Father is speaking to you personally.
My prayer is that you, too, seek Jesus.
Do it! The love of God is waiting for you.