- (By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)
OK. So you don't want to serve God or even believe in Him given your current spiritual state. I don't blame you. I wouldn't either if I was in your shoes. In fact, I have never met a person who naturally wants to serve God. Man's "wiring" is too messed up for that sort of thing.
But what if your heart was changed? What if God gave you a new heart and a new mind? What if God placed His holy Presence within you, and you began to experience things you have never experienced?
Now hold that thought.
It is impossible for you to know for sure that God won't do that for you. Simply impossible. Even if your heart is rock hard toward God, there is no way you can know for sure what a new heart would do for you.
Let's say you are someone who has never experienced holy desires from the Lord. Is that fair to say? OK. So then you have no idea what that experience is like, true? How could you? It is foreign to everything you have known up until now.
But then Christianity comes along and describes holy desires. Such desires really do exist. I am not talking about human beings "trying to act holy." I am talking about desires which the Lord produces on the inside of His children. And only those who have "Jesus inside" know what I am talking about in this regard.
Christians are not holy by nature. Christians have holy desires because God's nature has come to dwell within us. And there is not one Christian who can legitimately take a stitch of credit for these holy desires. We are merely the vessels. He is the living water. We are simply the clay. He is the Potter.
What we as Christians can indeed take "credit" for is when we don't say "no" to the sinful desires which continue to plague us and all men. When we don't say "no" to "self," that's on us. And if you are still an unbeliever, then your unbelief is "on you." That one monumental sin of unbelief is keeping you from receiving forgiveness, salvation, and holy desires from the Lord.
So what if God gave you holy desires? Then what? It is absolutely impossible to know what that reality is like until you experience it personally.
Christianity goes deeper than mere "imitation." It has more to do with "impartation." God pours new life into us, and we instantly want to do His will. Where God goes, holy desires go. Where God is absent, holy desires are nowhere to be found. God is holy. Man is not. But man can receive the Lord into his heart, and this changes everything.
Along with holy desires comes the joy of the Lord, and the peace of Christ. And when you receive a gift as wonderful as eternal salvation, you want others to know about it too.
If you are skeptical or even critical of Christianity, you may or may not remain in that frame of mind. It all depends on whether or not you receive holy desires from the Lord. That will only happen by accepting Christ as your Savior. Your sin of unbelief is currently blocking the flow of God's living water from reaching your soul. Once that blockage is removed through faith, the living water will flow into your heart and the holy desires will instantly arrive on the scene.
Believe and receive. Or reject and remain in your current state. A warm and open heart toward Christ, or a closed and hard heart toward the Lord. There is not one of us who deserves God's grace, and there is not one of us who has done anything to make ourself righteous in God's eyes. Only Jesus and His cross make a person righteous in the Father's eyes. You can come to the Father through the Son, but in no other way. Any other approach will leave you separated from Him.
Jesus came here because our hearts were hard toward God. Our sin was too great for us to "fix." Only the blood of Jesus washes away sin, and that happens when a person trusts in Christ alone for salvation. After that spiritual conversion occurs, holy desires begin to flow. Up until that point, there is not an ounce of holiness that man brings into the equation. That's because "holiness" is not about "man's best efforts." Holiness is the manifestation of God's Presence and power and purity. The words "man" and "holy" are not compatible until Jesus lives on the inside of man.
You may be a long way from God today. But what if God gave you holy desires? Your first response to that question may be one of denial, disgust, or apathy to the very question. That's because you are a sinner. That is the way sinners feel about God's holiness. And not one of us feels any different about it unless Jesus is living inside us through faith. We need the Holy Spirit to bring us to Jesus, and to bring Jesus into our soul. If left to ourselves, we remain lost in our sin.
Even if you try to convince yourself that God could never give you holy desires, that is simply a defense mechanism which fights against surrendering control over to God. We all want to be in control. That is our nature. And only the nature of God in us changes a heart of pride into one of humility before the Lord. None of us are humble by nature. None of us seek God. We have all gone our own way.
So God isn't coming to you today and suggesting that you try to live a better life. Instead, He comes to you as your Creator and He commands you to repent. (see Acts 17:30) That is, change your mind about sin and about Christ. If you do, and if you receive Jesus through faith, you will know why He commanded you to repent. If you refuse to repent, you will remain convinced that you are not really in such a tight spot without Jesus. That's the way natural man thinks. Each of us thinks that way. And only God's living water inside us causes us to see things differently, and to see things as God sees them.
In that sense, your unbelief is proof of your sinfulness. If you were not a sinner, you would run into the arms of Jesus. As it is, you will only do so through the power of the Holy Spirit. There is no other Person who can introduce you to the Messiah. And when you meet Him, you start to think very differently about sin and righteousness and truth. Until you meet Him, you tend to think like other unbelievers who wonder why Christians make such a big deal over Jesus.
Your heart is very much like the heart of anyone who does not yet know the Lord. You are no better, or worse. Just the same. Lost without Christ. And every single one of us was born into this world lacking a relationship with Jesus Christ. That is why Jesus said, "You must be born again." (John 3:7) Without the new birth through faith in Christ, you will drift through life without any holy desires from the Lord. It's that simple.
So what if God gave you holy desires? Then what? How would your life change if that happened? Or are "what if's" in the spiritual realm something you refuse to even consider?