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When God taps us on the shoulder and introduces himself, we are faced with a decision to either listen or excuse ourselves and walk away.

Some individuals, when convicted with this holy invitation, will accept his love and are filled with joy as they proceed into an exciting life-changing journey of faith and hope. Others are confident in their abilities and intelligence to steer their own vessel and perceive the concept of allowing Jesus to come in and take over as not exactly what they had in mind, especially since they only have a short period of time to accomplish their own plans.

I've known people who are not ashamed to declare that nothing will stop them from living exactly the way they want, and this might be true. However, waiting until you are taking your last breath to admit you are wrong is very risky, to say the least. In reality, God is not mocked, and living independent from him is not admirable or something to be proud of. Actually, the proclamation that "I did it my way" will be one of the most devastating and haunting memories in all eternity.

I believe that wanting to know God will give us a desire to draw nearer to him. I realize that everyone does not have an interest or enthusiasm for the things of the Lord, and this causes a deep sadness and a burden that all Christians carry. As we choose to walk with Christ, we become more like him and his great love for everyone is revealed. This in turn opens our spiritual eyes, and as we absorb his nature and are filled with his Spirit, we begin to see the world the way he sees it. As his followers, we have a tremendous expectation that many will repent and turn to Jesus. Those who are sincerely driven by his compassion will reflect God's light of grace in this dark and fallen world.

When we make a determination to change and grow in God, we begin a journey where we can learn the value of self-discipline. Why is this so important? Because when we refuse to develop perseverance and the determination to become what he has called us to be, we remain conformed to the interpretations of our fleshly emotions and the distorted influences of the world.

Without allowing God to re-create us and to accept what we need to do to become like him, we are still drifting down the river in what I call a default existence. This intentional forsaking of our responsibility to surrender to God is, unfortunately, where most people live.

We realize why this is so common because it's much easier to place our spiritual development into neutral and just accept whatever happens as fate. These individuals have no intention of allowing Jesus to sit on the throne of their heart and to become the Lord and Master of their destiny. Yes, some are willing to learn the basics of how religion works, but then begin to plan how they are going to play the game. Of course, this is completely opposite of God's instructions and is also an indication the person has not been spiritually transformed. We seldom consider how deceptive and rebellious our fallen nature can be, but the truth is that our conscience is always attempting to negotiate and even manipulate God.

Being born again not only includes repentance but also the surrender of the human will and is the only way God can renew our mind and ultimately control what we believe and how we live. He is not going to force anyone to love him or to live for him. When developing our worldviews, it's wise to consider what we believe, why we believe and the difference between what we have been taught and what we have researched on our own. Often that means rejecting what we were told and having the courage to march by the beat of God's drum in our quest for divine truth.

The question is how strong is our passion to know him? If we do not seek God's truth, we do not really have a desire to know him. His Word promises to set us free from the incarceration of our arrogance and the bondage of sin, but it is only effective and activated when we embrace it and demonstrate it with all of our heart. As the psalmist said, "Teach me thy way O Lord; I will walk in thy truth" (Psalm 86:11).

Read more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com.

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Billy Holland
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