For those who think they will try the “Jesus” thing, it probably won't work. Embracing Jesus Christ as Lord of your life is not about trying something and if it doesn't work, putting it back down. He is not a quick fix. Jesus is not a religion. He wants a relationship. With my track record in that department one would have thought it was finished before it started.
God used my childhood and I remembered how I felt when I went to church. My family did not attend even though we lived beside one. I snuck into two of the three churches of our small town on week days and wondered about what the decorations, the stories, pictures and stained glass windows all meant. I was beginning to understand them now, from an adult's point of view.
There was something about being in a silent church. The doors were never locked back then. I remember kneeling at the alter trying to entwine my fingers like the folded hands of the mosaic picture of Christ kneeling at a rock in the Garden of Gethsemane. Christ was drawing me back then and I wanted to be like that person. He was the one who said, “...Follow me and I will make you fishers of men,” Matthew 4:19, KJV.
I had gone to Catechism classes and learned the Apostles creed. The Sunday some of us children were going to be taken into the church (joining), they discovered I wasn't baptized; nothing a quick sprinkle couldn't fix.
I wore my very best from a brown bag: a yellow dress with white swirls, a black velvet belt with rhinestones, my brand new red and white popcorn socks and my brown penny loafers. I was dressed in what I treasured most. God would help me color coordinate later. But remember it isn't what we have or don't have to decorate the outside of our bodies that counts, it's what he is doing to change us on the inside. He looks at our heart.
As I ventured into this relationship with Jesus I came to know what it really meant to be loved with an everlasting love and no matter how many times I fail to get it right, he is always waiting for me, forgiving me, comforting me through his word in the Bible. It's a love letter written to each of us.
Many people have good information and ideas to help us in deepening our growth, in our relationship with Jesus, but friend, no one but you can study and know what he is saying to your heart and when you hear him don't let it go. You cannot help but grow if you're asking him questions, looking for answers and waiting for him to open the truth of his word and place it in your heart.
When I say it is a process, it is. None, I repeat, none of us have arrived and the moment you think you have God will humble you in some way to help you understand there is much more to be learned. As God becomes your constant, he will help you to put away things that do not honor him or that may hurt you.
I wanted to quit smoking and drinking when I came to Jesus, but it wasn't a miracle or an overnight event. Drinking went first without to much of a problem, but smoking....
My husband didn't like it and he threatened to strangle me if I didn't quit. Many times I didn't have $1.50 to buy a pack and ended up digging through butts to get a puff. One day with my nose close to the ashtray I smelled the stench and never picked up another cigarette again. He answered my prayer not with threats, but in his own way.
I learned my body was the temple of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 6:19 and if I was his what was I doing poisoning it? That verse nails it for anything you or I do with our bodies. Food is another thing. I can't explain how you can know some things need to stop and yet you continue to abuse your body in others. We don't have to understand everything the word says, we just need to believe it. Ask, seek and knock for your own answers.
My road to recovery from promiscuity, drinking and smoking will not look like anything you have to deal with. Everyone has to go through a cognitive operation of learning to see things from God's spiritual point of view rather then looking for short term gratification or trying to satisfy the cravings running rampant in the mind. They must come into conformity with our new relationship with Jesus.
When I said at the beginning about not simply trying Jesus I meant it. Just because you might not like what he has to say and want to quit, don't. All of our life is about change and we need someone dependable and stronger than us to go through the process.
May I add another piece of information – it is alright to cry out to God and tell him you don't like it and complain and ask why. After you have however, comes the important part – be quiet. Be quiet and listen to what he says to you in your innermost being. Believe what he is telling you and move on to the next challenge.
If you want peace in you, you've got it! But your mind must stay on Christ and not focus on your failures and circumstances (Isaiah 26:3).
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us,” Romans 8:37, NIV. Get God's word into you. Believing and trusting in it makes you a courageous person indeed! When you continue to trust and have faith in Jesus Christ he will bring what he says to completion (Philippians 1:6). Where are you at in this process?