silhouette-man-hand-raisedWhen did you first believe?  “Well,” some would say, “I’ve always believed.”  Now, maybe you were brought up to believe and so you just always accepted it as true – and that’s a good thing – that’s a major part of my own story – but when did YOU decide that this faith was not only true for my church, for my pastor, for my parents, for my Sunday school teacher, for my youth leader – when did you decide this is not only true for them, but it is also true for me?  When was that?

It doesn’t have to be an exact date.  For some people it is an exact date, but for others, it happened during a time or over a season in their life.  Some people are converted in a single moment of spiritual clarity – with others, it grows over a season of conversion.

When was that time for you?  When did your faith become YOUR faith?

Maybe it was when you were 4-5 years old.  But some may say, “can a child that young really have a genuine faith in Jesus Christ?”  Well – Jesus certainly thought so.

In fact, in Matthew 18, Jesus set the faith of a little child as the standard for faith in the Kingdom of God!

9For me, it was when I was 9 years old.  I grew up in church.  I was taught that God was real, that Jesus was His Son, that I had this thing in my life that separated me from God called sin, and that Jesus gave His life so that my sin could be dealt with, and I could be restored to relationship with God.  That was the message I grew up hearing, and I sincerely cannot remember a time in my life that I didn’t believe it.  But when I was 9, I decided that I wanted to declare before others that the faith of my church and my grandparents and my children’s ministry leaders – that it was my faith, too.

Maybe it happened for you during your teenage years.  Maybe your faith in Jesus became your own sometime in your young adult years, or sometime later.  Maybe you cannot point to an exact date on the calendar when it happened, but there is a general timeframe where you can say, “yeah – my faith in Jesus really became my own during (this time) in my life…”

And maybe some of you are sitting there reading this, and you’re still determining for yourself whether this faith-in-Jesus thing is going to be yours or not.  If so, I would ask you to do one thing:

Just ask Him.

Just ask Him.  Just ask God if this “faith-in-Jesus-thing” is for you.

I know, I know, you may still be trying to decide if this God is real or not, and if so, if He even pays any attention to our prayers at all – but hey, if that’s the case, then what have you got to lose?  I’m just inviting you to ask this God, if He is real, a simple question:

“Is this whole ‘faith-in-Jesus-thing’ really for me?”

And if you ask it genuinely, then in the days and weeks that follow, you will keep watch, and you will be looking to see if this God is responding to your question in some way…  And let me just tell you: I believe He will…

Where are you on this journey of redemption & salvation?  Are you just checking Jesus out?  Are you just exploring to see if this faith-in-Jesus thing is for you?

A S KThat’s okay – keep on exploring: Jesus Himself invites you to!  “Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened unto you.  For whoever asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and for the one that knocks, the door will be opened.”  (Matthew 7:7-8)

Have you been converted from disbelief to faith… you have experienced new birth and are justified with God – but not much else has changed in your life?  Take the next step of faith in God.  The Holy Spirit now lives in you! (Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 3:16)  Submit to Him, and cooperate with Him to see your sin nature diminish in power and your new nature flourish into abundant life.

Are you walking with Jesus on this journey of sanctification?  And you’re not yet where you want to be, but man! you are further along than where you were…  Keep on walking.  Keep on trusting in and journeying with Him, taking each new step as He guides.

Where are you?

And what’s the next step for you to get closer to where you want to be?

Where are you?  And what’s your next step?

Would you please pray with me: “Father, I don’t know where this message lands for everyone reading this today…  But You do.  And we do.  I ask You, Father, in the Name of Jesus, to give each one of us the wisdom to know what to do next, and the courage to do it.  By the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives.  Amen.”