Last night on my way home I was listening to a sermon on the radio. The Pastor spoke these words and I can't get them off of my mind:
"It seems these days that we are CHALLENGED but not CHANGED. We are CONVICTED but not CONVERTED. We are HEARERS of the Word and not DOERS, and we DECEIVE OURSELVES."
This concerns me greatly. You can be challenged by anything. You can be challenged to jump into cold water as part of a fundraiser (hello, I've done this). But a CHALLENGE to our Spirit without a CHANGE is useless. We can be challenged to lose weight. But if we don't do the day to day things that are necessary to lose weight (eat less, exercise, etc), then nothing happens. No weight is lost. If we are challenged to read our Bible more, but by the third day we can't remember where we put our Bible, there's been no change. We can wear a big cross necklace, and have a "Jesus Saves" bumper sticker on our car, and greet everybody with "Praise the Lord" but if we aren't living lives that line up with Scripture, then we are phonies and are no good at all to the Kingdom of God.
God desires our faithfulness.
We can be convicted, but if the conviction isn't followed by conversion, well, that's called GUILT. We can feel guilty about an awful lot of things, but if we don't correct the behavior, we have accomplished nothing. God calls us to REPENT, not just "feel bad" about our behavior. Disobedience to God is sin. God won't forgive our guilty feelings if we don't repent. Repent means to turn away. So repeatedly sinning, and feeling really bad about it, but continuing to sin is not conversion. God forgives ONLY when we repent. Not when we feel guilty.
And when we just feel challenged, but don't change, when we feel convicted, but we aren't converted, WE ARE DECEIVING OURSELVES.
The Bible says in Matthew 7:22-23:
Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
I don't know about you, but that is a scary statement.
Today I am praying for God to change me. To bring my Spirit into complete obedience to His plan for my life. I am asking Him to convict me of anything in my life that isn't of Him, and I am asking him to forgive me. I want my life to bring glory and honor to Him. I want my eyes to be opened to His perfect will. And I want to follow Him. I don't want to disappoint Him.
I want to be a Soul On Fire.