(Photo: Dan Delzell)
So you are now a born again believer in Jesus….and you wonder what is coming down the pike for you in this new and exciting relationship with God.
Well….amidst all the good vibrations, get ready for an onslaught of dangerous desires that will challenge you to the very core of your being. How is that for a warm welcome into the family?
Oh it may not hit you the first week….or the first month….or even the first year….but be assured, the full brunt of its force is coming sooner or later. Your faith will come under attack in unimaginable ways….and you probably won't even see it coming.
It may present itself in the form of a perplexing intellectual attack….or in some overwhelming lust of your eyes or your flesh....or by a person who greatly mistreats you and doesn't deserve your forgiveness. It's hard to say how it will hit you, but it will hit you....and it will be relentless….and you will either stand firm in Christ, or fade back toward an existence that is once again devoid of meaning and devoid of God's presence. I'm just sayin'.
Right now you are riding high on cloud nine….with your recent conversion to Christ and all. The rest of us in the Resistance are rejoicing that God has reached you and made you His own. For some reason, we seem to celebrate it every bit as much as you do. I guess that's what happens when the King of Kings takes up residence in your soul….you now thirst for other souls to know Him too.
Before you were saved, you were just heading downstream in the current of your own sinfulness. You may not have even known that something was terribly wrong….until you started to understand the true nature of that current….and who was responsible for its direction.
"But I think I measure up pretty well in God's sight." Remember when you first were awakened to the error of that fallacy. And how about when you began to see the King as more than just another religious man in history? It's hard to explain the full transformation that takes place when the living Christ goes from being a fable to a fact in your heart, soul, and mind.
When you first began looking at Jesus in this real way, it startled you….you wondered how it could be that Christianity might be true. That was the first glimpse of light that entered your soul….and you were truly puzzled by the whole thing. Look how far you have come in such a short time.
In addition to the peace and love you are experiencing, you are also beginning to feel "weird" about certain things. You now feel ashamed of things that you used to dive into headfirst….and yet you still feel that constant tug drawing you back into the old way of living. How can that be? Are you out of your mind? No, not at all. Welcome to the Resistance my friend….where the rest of your life on earth will involve a conflict within your soul between the desires of your corrupt nature….and the Holy Spirit who now dwells within you. (see Galatians 5:16-18)
If anyone misled you about being a Christian, I am sorry that you were misinformed. If anyone told you that being a Christian means only experiencing peace all the time, they were not telling you the whole story. That level of faith and experience is not reached by too many believers, if any, on earth. Most of us still struggle with our flesh….and our worries….and our humanity. It's not always a bed of roses.
You are going to find yourself longing for a level of holy living which at times will seem impossible to reach….but don't despair....that disconnect is par for the course. You are going to hate some things which you continue to do….and love some things which you rarely seem to put into practice….and yet, you will press on with the goal of becoming more like Christ everyday. (see Romans 7:14-24)
The devil will not be your biggest enemy….you will be. Welcome to the Resistance….where resisting evil will become far more personal than you ever thought possible….and where the darkness of your corrupt nature will become more apparent to you than ever before.
You see….one of the marks of a believer is that he begins to see his sin in new ways….and it is disgusting to him. Believers start to understand just how far they were from God before the blood of Jesus cleansed their soul through faith. Prior to conversion, you thought were pretty good….up until the time God began to convict you of your sin. That began your journey toward the Lord.
You would have never made it into the Resistance without coming to terms with your own sinfulness….and your desperate need for God's grace. But you made it….and you now get it….in spite of yourself and your previous aversion to the Gospel.
You no longer have the "luxury" of hanging on to those old grudges and those judgmental attitudes in your heart about others. In the past, it was a piece of cake to live that way. Now it just upsets your spirit when you choose to withhold forgiveness from someone who has wronged you. That "oil" doesn't seem to work in your new boat. In fact, it now just shuts down the engine.
New engine. New oil. New way of living. The old ways don't cut it anymore.
Man is no longer your enemy. Christians are no longer your enemy. God is no longer your enemy. You now resist something you cannot see, but that you certainly feel pulling at you constantly. At first you blame this annoyance on the devil....but then you come to find out that this tenacious antagonist is actually inside of you....which is a place, by the way, where the devil does not dwell. How can this be? How could I have missed it all of these years? I was actually sleeping with the enemy all along.
Welcome to the Resistance. Welcome to a new way of thinking….and a different lifestyle….and a new way of looking at other people. Most of all, welcome to a new way of looking at God. He has always had His eye on you. Unfortunately, you just didn't know it….or if you did, you inwardly hated it because you thought He was out to get you.
Truth is….He has always been out to get you….in a good way….and now you understand what these Christians have been trying to get across to you all along. Now you see it….now you walk with God….and now you have an eternal purpose with which to flourish on earth, and one day in heaven.
It's a strange thing, this Christianity. In the past you saw it as a waste of time. You thought Christians lived in a mythological malaise of misguided and mindless muddle. You were so busy resisting them and their God, you never even bothered to try resisting your own godlessness and foolish unbelief. It was always somebody else, or some other group that was wrong….but never you.
I guess that's why so many never make it as far as you have come….why they never even attempt to get to this point. There is not one fiber of our being that wants to admit being wrong….even if that means playing god in the process of proclaiming our perfection. We will do anything as human beings to assert our own independence….rather than admit our need for our Creator.
Now that you are in this place of peace with God, don't get cocky. Don't assume that you are responsible for this reconciliation....or for the progress you are making. Recognize the One who brought you to an end of yourself, and to a beginning that will have no end. And then, as they say, "buckle up for the ride."
You will have many good days of peace and contentment, as well plenty of times that are going to get downright crazy. Through it all, be strong my friend….even in the midst of intense opposition from within yourself. Resist your urges to give into those corrupt desires all over again. You have already been there and done that....and you know that it's a losing proposition.
You realize don't you….you have always been your own worst enemy….but you are just now beginning to grasp it. Boy is that one ever a slap across the face when it first hits you. But it's OK. You are not alone. All of us who are born again can relate to what you are going through. We too have been confronted with it daily from the moment we placed our faith in Christ to save us.
Welcome to the Resistance.....to the place where God has brought you so that He can conform you to the image of His Son. (see Romans 8:29) This is your destiny. This is your eternal security. This is your new life....welcome aboard.