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Nuts and bolts
- Jacob Ninan
Instead of getting fascinated by exciting doctrines about the end times or stories of visits to heaven, what we need most is to know how to live our daily lives in a way that pleases and honours God. If we are unclear about this or if we are following fanciful theories, there is even a chance that we are on the wrong road altogether! Let's look at how things work, at the level of nuts and bolts.
At the beginning of our Christian life should be a time when we turned from our sins to the Saviour, Jesus Christ. When we become convicted in our hearts about our sinful condition, that is when we realise our need for a Saviour. We go to Him asking Him for forgiveness and help to change us so that we can stop sinning. If this has not happened in our life, it is very unlikely that we have become children of God. Our church attendance, baptism, Christian activities, etc., cannot substitute for this event called 'conversion'.
If this has truly happened to us we will notice certain changes in our life. We will see a great new desire that has come that makes us want to stop sinning and to do whatever God tells us. Sinful things we used to enjoy appear to become bad in our eyes and we try to avoid them. We will find a great interest in reading God's word, the Bible, and we find that it begins to make more and more sense to us. We find that God is even 'talking to us' as we read it. We learn to talk to Him in prayer, thanking Him for His love and mercy to us and asking Him to help us to obey Him better. Now there is a great interest in us to hear about God more. So we read Christian books, listen to preaching, discuss with others about questions about God and our life with Him.
We will also notice that there is now a strong battle going on in our mind. One part of us draws us towards God and godly living. But another part of us pulls us back to our old life. Some of our old friends and even relatives turn against us because we no longer like to do what they do. We try to explain to them how we have found the Saviour, but they only mock us. Sometimes we fail under pressure and then we feel so bad about it. We go to God, confess our failure, and He forgives us. But we feel sad that we failed Him who gave Himself to us in love. We begin to ask God more earnestly for help to overcome when we are tempted again. God answers by encouraging us, and helping us to become more careful and teaching us how to handle different temptations. We grow spiritually as we learn to overcome more and more, but being aware all the time that we can fall any time we are careless.
We also find that we are faced with false teachings that try to take us away from the true path, saying that we don't need to do anything because God has done everything and He will do everything for us, we shouldn't think of overcoming sin but only praise God always, we need not confess our sins because we have already been forgiven, etc. We need to learn to endure till the end.