God changes lives

Many decades ago an atheistic lecturer who was touring the country addressed a group of miners and their families. Towards the end of his speech he said "I tell you Jesus Christ is just a myth", and went on to ridicule the Bible and the existence of God. When he had finished speaking a rough looking miner stood up and said "I'm only a workingman. I don't know what you mean by the word 'myth'. But I challenge you to explain how I have been changed by Someone you say doesn't exist. Three years ago I had a miserable home. I neglected my wife and children. I cursed and swore. I drank all my wages. Then someone came along and told me of the love of God and of deliverance from the shackles of sin by turning to Jesus. Now all is different! I am a changed man. We have a happy home. I feel better in every way. A new power has taken possession of me since Christ came into my life. Explain that!"

Jesus changes lives! The greatest need for humanity is the transformation of the human heart and this is precisely what the message of the Gospel does. It such a powerful, beautiful and awesome message it transforms individuals from the inside and makes them a new kind of person. (Romans Ch1v16). They are different and happy from "within" and are born all over again as a brand new creature. (JohnCh3v3).

Once there was a man who owned a clock which was of great sentimental value. One day the clock stopped and no matter what he tried he couldn't get it to go again. He tried heavier weights but that didn't work. Later he tried putting on a new clock face, but that didn't work either. He even tried new hands, but that made no difference. His young son who was watching him with interest finally said, "Daddy, I think the poor old clock needs a new inside." That is exactly what Scripture teaches about human beings. The Bible states we need a "new inside" with our hearts being changed in character by the transforming power of God. We need to become a new creation. (2nd Corinthians Ch5v17).

Many people want to be different "on the inside". They don't particularly like themselves; their selfishness, their shallowness, their bitterness and so on. They don't particularly like their feelings of insecurity, their worries and anxieties. Again, they don't like the emptiness they feel and the nagging sense that they are missing something really important about life which others have found. These people are spiritually starving and are consciously or unconsciously yearning for something supernatural to change them.

Jesus Christ came to offer this New Life and Scripture lists numerous supernatural experiences they can expect to have; Times of ecstatic joy and peace, an overwhelming sense of being loved, an awesome sense of God's daily Companionship and Presence, a feeling of God's infinite Holiness, abundant power to do good and resist temptation, spiritual and emotional healing, pardon and forgiveness, freedom from a guilty conscience, daily answered prayer with a real sense that ones prayers are being heard, guidance in everyday affairs, the miraculous changing of ones character and attitudes, a purpose and meaning to ones life, contentment and satisfaction, Divine intervention in times of crisis, supernatural strength to reach one's full potential, and so the list goes on.

This is the New Life which is on offer; as Jesus promised in John Ch 10v10 "I have come that they may have life and that they may have it in its fullest abundance." We can experience all these supernatural things; God is only too willing to grant them, but first on our part there must be true repentance and complete obedience. We must truly repent of the things we have done wrong in the past and commit ourselves to fully obeying His commandments from now on and in the future. These "twin keys" unlock the door to experiencing Jesus in our lives.

Scripture could not be plainer. It teaches that God is a Holy God. He is a God Who hates sin and cannot
look upon evil. In Hebrews Ch 12v14 it states "Without holiness, no one will see the Lord", so if a person wants to experience God in their lives then they must repent of their sins and fully start to obey Him. There is no other way. There is no alternative. God will only have fellowship and contact with those who are walking in obedience to His will. If we want God to be close to us then we must draw close to Him." (James Ch4v8).

Sadly this is the hurdle where many people stumble. Yes, they want to experience God and yes, they want His Blessing of Fellowship, but their desire is simply not great enough for them to abandon their sinful ways and follow Him. They wonder why God seems so remote and they wonder why He doesn't hear their prayers but the fault lies with them, in not wanting Him with all their heart. While they cling to their sins they are unworthy of His Companionship.

The famous statue of Jesus in Brazil teaches this profound truth. The face of Christ is so turned that one can only see His face and experience His gaze when one is kneeling and looking up. To experience the Divine in our lives, we must first get down on our knees in repentance and then start looking up in daily obedience.

One of the most famous religious paintings of all time is entitled "Christ the Light of the World" by Holman Hunt. It portrays Jesus in a garden at midnight, holding a lantern in His left hand. With His right hand He is knocking at a massive door. When the painting was first unveiled a critic noticed what he thought was a fault. This massive entrance was missing a door handle. When asked about this matter, Hunt explained that the door symbolised the human heart which could be only opened from the inside. He had deliberately omitted any door handle so as to teach that Christ will only come into our hearts, if we ourselves open the door. His presence in our lives is conditional upon our decision. As it states in Revelation Ch3 v20 "Behold I stand at the door and knock....if anyone opens the door I will come in."

Jesus said "He who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me...and I will love him, and reveal Myself to him". (John Ch14v21). If we really want Jesus to reveal Himself to us and really want the New Life He is offering, then we will abandon our sins and open our hearts to Him. The moment we let Him in, we will be changed forever "from within" and become a brand new creation in Christ.