By William F. Holland Jr., DD., C. ED.D.
As God continues to move upon the earth, He has never stopped calling His children to be truth seekers, to speak His words, and demonstrate His character. The painful fact is this does not happen automatically. There must be a passion to advance into God and this means the closer we come to Him the more we will become the best version of ourselves.
Most people have never really studied religious history and know very little about why we believe the way we do. The traditions the masses learn about God derive from what they have been told and very few have the desire to research on their own to see if the information is correct. I better stop there before I make too many waves, but one thing we can agree on is that personal transformation is one of the foundational pillars of the Christian faith.
When we watch a baby grow and progress in their learning, we celebrate and rejoice in their development. Likewise, there is no reason to doubt that God feels the same way about our spiritual maturity. Changes within our society and culture are inevitable and it’s easy to look back and remember how life used to be and how technology is always coming up with something new. Remember when we used to go to the movie rental store and used pay phones? When we look in the mirror, we can see that our bodies are slowly changing and unfortunately there is nothing we can do about it. However, there is an area in our lives where change will not happen unless we want it to. We are in control of our spiritual growth.
When we think about God and the spiritual life, it’s relatively easy to construct ideas about the way we believe, and it seems that everyone has private interpretations. We have been given free will to make decisions and we are basically in control of what we think and do. Very few comprehend what it means to surrender their will unto God. We can go to church, sing songs, and even give a few dollars in the offering plate, but no one including God is going to force us to develop an intimate relationship with Him. Christians have been given a new spiritual identity with the capacity to be convicted which is the ability to discern what is right and wrong. However, we can override our guilty conscience by ignoring God, and like a lawyer presenting a case in a courtroom, we can justify our thoughts and actions in the light of intentional self-deception.
There are numerous examples of characters in the Bible who have rebelled against God including His favorite people the Jews, as no human is a robot that He can control. One of the dangers that every child of God faces is compromising with the world’s system which by the way is the easy path and very common among the lukewarm crowd. Only those who have developed an awareness of God’s presence will ever have the faith to stand for His truth. And what is this truth? Well, truth means a lot of different things to many people, but the truth I’m talking about is believing that God is who He says He is. Remember Pilate said to Jesus, “what is truth?” At this hour, this question has never been more urgent. In the preceding verse, Jesus said that He was a king bearing witness to divine truth, and everyone that understands this truth can hear His voice.
I’ve mentioned the comfortable path where we just try to get along with the system without offending anyone, but this is not the way Jesus lived and neither is it the way He wants us to be. The desired path is a commitment to ignore our so-called dignified reputation and declare that obeying Him is our highest priority. When we make this choice, let us be prepared to experience a similar negative reaction that He faced. Taking up our cross and following His demands is not for the faint of heart because it places us on the front line of spiritual warfare. Will we choose the broad or the narrow way? Could it be that our New Year’s resolutions are the result of spiritual conviction? Are we being reminded by the Lord about what He wants us to change? What a perfect time to examine our hearts and dedicate our lives to God more than ever before.
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