by Wanda Guenther
I was sitting here thinking about what being a Christian means to me. The Bible says, that as Christians, we are the bride of Christ. I was remembering what it was like when Bill and I first got married.
You couldn't separate us. We loved every moment we could be together. I would wait for him to come home from work -- always with great anticipation. I was never too tired to give him my time or attention.
I remember shortly after we got married, we were living in California and my Grandmother was very ill. I went to Oregon to see her. I was only gone a little over a week, but I cried the whole time we were apart.
I missed Bill so much even though he called me every day. To this day I do not like being apart from him and when he comes home after being away my heart still skips a beat. I love him with all my heart and NO ONE will ever come between us.
As Christ's bride, our relationship with Him should be like that. We should never allow friends to take away the time we need to be spending with God. We should never let being too tired rob us of the joy of being in His presence. Jesus didn't let the desires of His flesh interfere with what He came to do. They persecuted him, beat him, spat on him, and mocked him. He gave his life willingly.
At His trial Pilate said, "I find no fault with this man", but they still crucified Him. He could have called 10,000 angels. One word and He would have been off the cross. It wasn't easy. He felt the pain but He laid down his life anyway. He made the sacrifice. The "sacrifices" we have to make to spend time with him are nothing compared to what he did for us. We allow so many excuses to keep us separated from our Bridegroom. We say we love Him. We call Him our Lord and Savior.
The Bible says, "by their fruit ye shall know them". Jesus said that He would rather have you hot or cold but because you are lukewarm He will spew you out of His mouth.
As His followers, as His disciples, as His church, He has called us to be conformed to His image. To conform means to become like. We are to be like Jesus. As Paul puts it, we are not to be conformed to this world but we are to be "transformed by the renewing of our minds". The word transform means to change; to change from one way of life or set of opinions to another.
Jesus said, "Except ye be converted...ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven".
Conversion also means change; a change of heart, a change of allegiance. This means we have to quit making excuses and let all unforgiveness and bitterness, old ways of acting, thinking, and talking fall by the way side. It means our thoughts and attitudes must constantly be changing for the better. It means that we are to grow, to mature, to become more and more like Him everyday we live.
When we have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, He blots out the sin of the past and changes our former status of condemnation to justification. We then have been made just and righteous in God's sight. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God saves, reconciles, redeems, justifies, converts, and quickens. Not because we deserve it, but because He loves us.
When David sinned, he was the one on the balcony looking at Barsheba. He knew he should not be there but he lingered and then had her come to him. In order to hide his sin, he had her husband killed. David did not deserve God's mercy and grace, but he got them. When the Holy Spirit convicted him, he did what he needed to do to get back into a right relationship with God. He blamed no one but accepted full responsibility for what he had done.
We need to stop blaming others for where we are and stop making excuses for what we do. If we are not in right standing with God, it is because of the lust of our eyes, the lust of our flesh and our pride of life. We claim to be members of this or that church, but only go once or twice every six months.
We say we are Christians but are too involved in doing our own thing to get involved in doing anything for God. We are too tired and have nothing left to give because we've spent it all on the world. To think we are the bride of Christ. If our mate or loved one treated us the way we treat God, we wouldn't stand for it for a minute.
I don't serve God because I was forced as a child. We should not have to be forced to. Accepting Christ as Lord and Savior should be because we recognize we are sinners and in need of a savior and want to change.
There again, I was looking at the word convert. When I was in Germany, I could not use 110 appliances. I took the appliance and had it converted (change) to 220. My appliances were not useful to me at 110. When changed or converted they were valuable. There had to be a change.
Repentance involves a change of mind toward God and Christ. It means we are really sorry for what we have done in the past no longer blaming others for our actions. Repentance is a processing involving continual change of mind and attitude.