Summary: Faith is born out of a personal experience with God and it is measured by your ability to withstand opposition, persecution, pressure and affliction.
The instant and moment a person accepts/acknowledges/believes in Christ as their Savior and Redeemer, they step into a reality that they never truly and really, actually knew existed before. In that instant and moment an individual comes into, for perhaps the first times in their life, a sense of abundant and eternal life that they had never experienced before. We may not be outwardly/externally different—but in the very instant that we trust Christ our entire inner-world was, in a real sense, changed and transformed.
- We are a spirit; we have a soul; and we live in a body.
According to Ephesians chapter 2 verse 1, prior to our encounter with the eternal God Himself our spirit was dead. Not wounded/afflicted/beaten/sick—but dead/deceased/lifeless because of sin. But in the moment of true belief and sincere confessions, that text in Ephesians 2 goes on to report and declare that our spirit was quickened or recussitated or brought back to life again. And our flesh (our old nature; our carnal selves)—that part of you that does not love God completely and wholeheartedly and is unlike God which up to that point had been very much alive—now begins the process of daily crucifixion. (not reluctantly or halfheartedly; but rather willingly and voluntarily)
• And make no mistake about it, beloved, it is a PROCESS.
The word process, according to Webster denotes improvement/expansion/transition/that which evolves and advances and eventually matures through stages of change and transformation. It means to be altered and modified/amended and adjusted/varied and switched.
I’M IN PROCESS
I am not who I’m going to be; but praise God that I am not now who I used to be. I’m in process. And the OLD me is crucified ..on a daily basis and the NEW me is now given an opportunity to thrive, grow, cultivate, mature and survive.
And the transformation within ourselves, in and of itself—within our personality when that begins to happen—can be staggering and astounding because all of a sudden things we used to BRAG about doing we are now ashamed to do.
• Now I am in no way trying to suggest directly or inadvertently that once we are saved that we never do any of the things that we used to do before we got saved—because that is just patently NOT true.
• Yet once we are truly saved—once we begin a relationship with God through Christ that is real, personal, genuine and authentic—our attitude about what we used to do/who we used to be/how we used to role—is so different that pursuit of past pleasures becomes frivolous and fruitless.
God is so gracious to us that God will walk you through your stages/ages of transformation and so alter your interior that in the process you will lose your taste—you will lose your craving…for what used to satisfy/gratify/please you.
I wonder if there is anybody in the room today who can testify, ‘Sure preacher—I’m a living witness that since I’ve been in Christ and Christ has been in me—there has been a definite/obvious/recognizable change on the inside of me.
• Not that I don’t cuss anymore—but not as often
• Not that I don’t smoke and don’t chew and don’t do what bad girls do—but I find myself smoking less, chewing less, and I find myself better than I used to be.
There’s been a change.
- There are some places now I don’t even want to go.
- There are some things that I refuse to say.
- There are some people with whom I can not hang with now because there’s been a change in me.
And now as I am learning to crucify my flesh and consecrate the spirit—I’m no longer craving/longing/desiring/yearning for the things that only can satisfy me temporarily and momentarily.
- I ain’t interested in being high/flowing like I used to flow/in sleeping with every Joe Blow or Freaky Superhead.
If I can stay there for a moment—the reality is that once you step across the line called SERIOUS—it will challenge all of your old relationships. Because your old relationships were predicated upon old interests that you mutually shared…but now that you are no longer interested in what you mutually shared (now that yesterday no longer claims your attention/allegiance/affection) then the bonds and the chains that tied you to people in your past have now been severed.
And somebody here needs to hear me today because I’m trying to tell you that a serious, personal, up-close, exclusive, daily, in your face, for Real relationship with God will even change your love life.
- Because whereas in the past you would and could settle for just a PIECE of a man or just a part of a woman—you now know that you deserve MORE than that and you DESERVE better than that and you are worth MORE than that and so Mr. Charlie and Sweet Willy and Stop By Freddy …lose their appeal. Sexy Suzie and Sock it to Me Sally don’t stir you like they used to. Even, when like 50, they invite you to the Candy Shop. Because there has been a change in you.