October 1, 2023
It is said, “Confession is good for the soul.” True. However, confession without conviction does nothing to change the heart and mind. Likewise, conviction without conformation is dead. What I mean by conformation is adaptation, transforming our behaviors.
conviction — the act of convincing a person of error or of compelling the admission of a truth — MerriamWebster.com
New Living Translation, Romans 2:21
Well then, if you teach others, why don’t you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal?
In essay form, I’ve been sharing what I have learned as a Born Again Believer in order for people to understand what the Bible is saying and give opportunity to make a decision to accept Jesus into your lives (or not) and that, based on the facts, not archaic religious words that have lost their meaning. Making an intelligent choice is important if one is to come to a “saving knowledge” of Jesus. To choose an adage from the Bible from Jesus’ teaching, one must build their house on the Bedrock, not the shifting sands.
Notice, however, that that only addresses the first half of the quote cited from Romans. As I have written before, “faith” is not just a noun, but most importantly, it is a verb.
New Living Translation, James 2:26
So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
Well, several illustrations in my life have combined to show a glaring fault in my faithwalk. Well, I’m slow on the uptake and rather dim-witted. Yet, this is not an invitation to my pity party. These I offer as reasons, but not excuses. Neither should anyone offer excuses but only understand their own reasons for failures.
To illustrate, three incidences of opportunities to tell individuals about Jesus have come and gone. I write these things so the reader may look at their own life and reconsider what Jesus is saying life is about.
One, at a Revival where I was an assigned Usher, there was an Altar Call and the whole audience went forward to receive Jesus into their lives. There was a young woman standing in the back of the auditorium obviously wanting to go forward, too. I was in the mindset of ushering. So, I ushered her toward the front. All the other people had found prayer partners. I couldn’t see anyone who was free to help this young lady. I didn’t see myself as a counselor. I was just an usher. So, I abandoned the search. Then, I abandoned her, too. It’s bothered me ever since. All I had to do was to have offered to pray with her. How hard would that have been? Jesus would have done the work, and I could have simply stood by as an Usher.
Another time my faith was dead was a twofer when another young lady came to my door obviously needing help. Drenched in the rain, Crying. So, what did I do? I sent her away and called the police to see what I should do next… Really?!? Yes. Really. Did I call on God to see what I should do next? Didn’t even enter my mind. I was suspicious. Worse, she had introduced herself as seeking help for her very ill and hospitalized son… Then, the second part of the twofer, the same young woman came, some months later, “trick or treating.” Disheveled, obviously traumatized, maybe assaulted, a grocery bag with little in it… probably for her ill child who couldn’t be out and about himself… So what did I do? The rest of my family was out and about. So, I was on my own. Did I pray to know what to do? No. Did I offer for her to come in and wait for my wife and daughter-in-law who would know what to do? No. Christians are supposed to be empathetic, not only ready, but quick in offering hospitality. Was I? No. Neither empathetic, nor quick, nor ready.
Finally, my most recent opportunity happened the other day at the grocery store. Again, my convictions were dead… A middle aged mother was dragging a cart full of groceries with one hand while with the other, pushing a wheelchair with an obviously ill young lady with severe paralysis of some kind. Gentleman that I am, did I ask the woman if she needed help dragging the grocery cart? No. Did I ask if my wife and I could pray in Jesus’ name to heal the young woman? No.
How distressed do people have to be for me to offer an act of kindness or an act of faith from my convictions?!?
Again, more reasons. not excuses: I have been an introverted person most of my life. God had started to bring me out of that shell, to loose the bonds, but slow learner that I am… It’s been over 50 years that I have been stumbling through the path that Jesus provides… And then, I was traumatized by losing my production job and my Union career and by a betrayal I didn’t see coming. I withdrew into my shell. Reasons, not excuses.
So, in hindsight, it is now obvious to me that I have to escape from the resulting reclusive life, moving toward an alertness and availability to share in faithfulness — beyond my essays — into the outside world. I need to remain alert, becoming aware of opportunities to be more helpful in the “outside” world.
Could that also be true with you?
New Living Translation, Philippians 1:6
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
To conclude, I realize my need for continuing mental healthfulness, alertness, and awareness which are qualities Jesus can help me to develop. Still, the bottom line is that I know that I need healing from the hurt I have inside, and to get there, I must continue keeping in mind that Jesus is always available:
New Living Translation, Psalm 46:1
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
Unless we are shown and realize there is more to learn, more to know, to understand and to put into practice, and unless we are willing to accept the convincing of the Spirit of Jesus, we are burying the talents loaned to us and can look forward only for a rebuke:
New Living Translation, Mattew 25:24–27 -
‘…I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’
“But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’ “
Maybe you can look at my shortcomings and apply them to yourselves, avoiding the same kind of regrets I have experienced. That is the reason for this essay — not for sympathy or for crying in my soup.
Jesus is the Way, and sometimes it seems a very long way. Jesus is the Truth, and sometimes it seems a very hard truth. Jesus is the Life, and sometimes we forget it is an interactive, interpersonal way of true living.
God is faithful.
Read the Bible, and ask Jesus into your life.
New Living Translation, John 6:37 -
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me…”