Daily Devotional for Tuesday November 22, 2005
Getting Saved is not Just an Emotional Moment but a Life-Changing Experience
(John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 10:9-11)
My calling from God is to be an evangelist. Seeing the lost won to Christ is what God has called me to do with my life. Over these past 14 years I have had the joy of sharing the hope of Christ with millions of people in person, through radio and television, in various publications, as well as over the Internet. I am grateful to God for each day He blesses me with to serve Him and pray that I will be faithful to His work until the day He calls me home.
One of the biggest lessons I learned very early in my ministry was the importance of a person not making a decision for Christ based on sheer emotion, but to understand that the choice they were making to accept Jesus Christ into their heart by faith was a life-changing event. I have no desire to scare a person, manipulate them in any way, or use emotional tactics to get them to accept Christ. You see, if a person is not making that commitment from their heart by faith, they are simply saying some words and at best having an emotional moment.
For a person to be saved, or "born again," they don't need to understand systematic theology or to have even read the Bible. What they do need to know is that they are a sinner and that it was Jesus Christ who died for their sins. They need to understand that they are made in God's image and will live for all eternity. The choice they have to make is whether they will live forever with God their Creator or apart from Him.
By asking Jesus to forgive them of their sins and asking Him into their heart and life, not only will their sins be washed away but they will have the assurance that when this life is over they will spend all eternity with the Lord. There are no magic words to save you. What we often call the "Sinner's Prayer" is simply a guide for the person who is making that commitment to know Christ as their Savior. It is putting into words what they are doing in their heart by faith.
It is important for a person who makes that commitment to Christ to understand that they are not joining the Boy Scouts or becoming a member of the PTA. Getting saved is not like joining a club that becomes just one part of your life. When you get saved, Christ BECOMES your life. The Bible says that when you ask Christ into your heart and life, it is no longer your life, that it now belongs to the Lord. People have got to understand that when they confess Christ as their Savior, they are making an eternal commitment to the Lord. You are surrendering your life to Jesus Christ!
At the moment you are saved two wonderful things happen. First of all, you are indwelled by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of the living God now resides within you. Your body literally becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit. Once you are saved, when you drink, smoke, do drugs, engage in sex outside of marriage, it is no different than if you were drinking in church, smoking a cigarette in church, doing drugs in the sanctuary, or having sex with a person who is not your spouse right on the altar. That is why we have to do all that we can to stay pure, since we are literally the temple of the Holy Spirit that indwells each Believer.
It is God's Holy Spirit that empowers the Believer to live up to the standards of God and His Word. It is the power of His Spirit that allows the Believer to live a victorious and overcoming life. The Holy Spirit opens our hearts and minds to understand the Truth of God's Word. It is the Holy Spirit indwelling every Believer that guides and directs our lives. Paul said that we have to "die to self daily." What he is saying is that each morning we have to surrender our lives afresh to the power of God that is within us so that we can live a life that is pleasing and acceptable to the Lord.
The second wonderful thing that happens at the moment we are saved is we begin the sanctification process, or that process of being more like Christ each day. You see, that process can't even begin until a person is saved, since you have to have the power of the Holy Spirit to give you the strength to begin transforming yourself from the old man into a new man. The Bible proclaims that when you are saved you become a "new creature in Christ." This is the life-changing experience I spoke of. It doesn't happen overnight but over time. It is a process.
The four critical elements to this process are reading God's Word each day, praying each day, getting into a good Bible-believing, teaching church, and finding an older man or woman in the faith to disciple you. You have got to understand that after a person gets saved, the next morning they wake up in the same bed, in the same house, with the same family, and with the same problems. On the outside it looks as if nothing has changed, and it hasn't. The change took place on the inside. The process of transforming the rest of your life is something that you will be engaged in until the moment you die.
Your spiritual growth or becoming more like Jesus, is dependent on you and how much time and effort you put into that process. That is why it is critical for all Believers to read their Bible and pray every day, to be part of a good church, and to have people in your life who are more spiritually mature to disciple you. As you grow and mature in your faith you begin to understand who God is and what He desires of you. You begin to realize that He has a plan and purpose for each one of our lives, and start to fulfill that plan and purpose in your life. It is an incredible life-long journey that makes waking up each day exciting and rewarding, and where the true joy, peace, and abundance of this life come from.
I love you and care about you so much. I will be praying for you today. If you already have made that commitment to Christ, I will be praying that you will continue to grow and mature in your faith, to be more like our Savior each day. That does not just happen by magic, it takes time, effort, and commitment. Let me remind you again, if you have accepted Christ as your Savior, the Bible says that it is no longer your life but it belongs to Jesus. So quit holding onto what isn't yours and fully and completely surrender your life to Him today so that He can use you for His glory.
If you have never made the commitment to ask Christ into your heart and life by faith, let me tell you that the most important decision you will make in this life is not who you will marry, or where you will live, or what kind of job you will have. The most important decision you will make in this life is to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. God's desire is that none be lost, that all come to repentance. He is speaking to you today. The Bible says that TODAY is the day of salvation.
I would invite you to go to, www.liveprayer.com/bdy_salvatn.html. Pray to ask God to open your heart, listen to the words, pray the prayer, and accept today God's free gift to you. Getting saved is not just an emotional moment, it is a life-changing experience!