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I was asked recently if being born again is the same thing as believing in God. The simple answer is yes, but I felt I needed to give a more thorough answer. It might sound strange, but it's true that Christians do believe that God is real, and yet there are others who believe in God who are not born again. I realize this seems confusing. How can this be?

Well, the devil believes that God is real, but he does not love or serve him. So we can see there is a big difference between just believing and being spiritually transformed and embracing Christ as the Lord of our life. There is more to salvation than just acknowledging there is a God. It has everything to do with knowing and trusting him, being dedicated to obeying his truth and having a genuine personal relationship with him.

Entering into God's covenant of spiritual redemption is not just raising our hand when someone is asking, "Who wants to escape the flames and eternal darkness?" We repent because we are broken over our sinful condition. We literally fall in love with God, and our eyes are opened to see our desperate need to be changed into a brand new creation for his glory. Our responsibility is to willingly surrender our independence and allow Jesus to sit on the throne of the heart and control our life.

In short, there are only a few individuals who are willing to "go all the way" with God. Being religious is a piece of cake compared to what being his disciple really means. It's seldom mentioned, but the only way to accomplish his will is to let go of ours. This is not very popular because much of the Christian attention is focused on attending an organized assembly, which is fine, but developing a constant awareness of his presence is far more important.

The Scripture passage in Luke 14:28-30 you will probably not hear in a revival. Why not? Because if evangelists told everyone how difficult it is, very few would want to commit. By the way, these are the words of Jesus. "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won't you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, This person began to build and wasn't able to finish." Unfortunately, many people sign up to be a follower of Christ, but eventually discover they only wanted blessings without accountability.

The cross, one of the most recognizable symbols in the world, is associated with Jesus and Christianity. The cross is also an instrument of death. We know that our Savior was crucified and died on the old rugged cross at a location named Golgotha, which was also called Calvary and the place of the skull. Nonetheless, what many Christians fail to realize is that his children have also been called to figuratively and spiritually take up their cross (Galatians 2:20) and let their carnal old nature die. This is the fine print that is commonly ignored.

It's very critical to understand that surrendering our will is NOT an option, but his demand. Becoming a living sacrifice through him is the only way we can possibly walk with him in spirit and truth. Along with our commitment and faithfulness unto Christ, we must also realize the world will hate us. For the individual who professes to be a Christian and yet they are embraced by those who do not know God, something is wrong. The Bible contains many warnings about becoming too cozy with sin. As in these words from James chapter 4, "Don't you know that friendship with the world is enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God."

The meaning of sanctification is to be separate or set apart. In context with our subject, we are not to blend in with the world, but rather to reflect God's nature and character. Let us not be like the disciples who fell asleep in the garden while Jesus was praying. Likewise, the five foolish virgins had no oil and were not prepared for the bridegroom when he appeared.

Why I am so passionate about drawing nearer to God? Honestly, I believe there is nothing more important.

Read more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com.

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Billy Holland
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