I’ve just been listening to some of Steve McVey’s 101 lies taught in church every Sunday, in particular the lie “When you became a Christian, God changed your life”. The lie is that our life only needed a bit of renovation, whereas Jesus looks at our life outside of Him and says “There’s nothing I can do with that – that life needs to die, and I’ll give you My life”. It’s pretty much the same truth I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.
In the process of listening to it, I realised one of the funny things about being raised in a Christian family. I don’t know when I can say “I was crucified with Christ” or “I died with Christ”. Let me explain. My parents, and my wife, can each point to a date that they became a Christian. “I heard the gospel on this date, believed in Jesus and committed myself to Him.” They can point to this date and say – that was the day I was crucified with Christ, whether I realised that’s what was going on or not.
I don’t know if I can give a date like that. I can give loads of potential dates. It could be when I was a child and asked my Dad to pray with me to become a Christian for the first time (I reckon I was about 5 or 6). It could be when I was 12 and went to a Crusader’s event in Southampton and felt the tug of the Holy Spirit consciously for the first time to respond to the gospel being presented. This was certainly the point that I got a whole lot more serious about God, but then knowing what I know now about self-effort and the Christian life, that might not have been such a good thing! Maybe it was 1995 when I got Toronto’d on a youth camp and encountered all kinds of miraculous stuff I’d never previously accepted. It could have been 8th December 1996 when I was baptised in my local Anglican church.
The funny thing with being raised in a Christian family is that it can be difficult to point to a definite turning point because you take so much for granted. And boy does the devil play on this one!!
As you’ll know, I’ve been on a God-directed quest to understand better my identity in Christ and live out of the good of that. It’s been good, and I know I’m only just starting out – there’s loads more truth and revelation to come that is going to unlock dynamite in my life, I just know it in my “knower”. But at every step, the enemy has been able to use this lack of definite conversion point to cause doubts to rise up about whether it’s really true of *me*. After all, if I can’t even point to when it happened for me, can I be sure it happened?
Well, no more! Devil, I’m letting you know that I resist you and this means you’ve got to flee!! Whenever it happened, I ceased trusting in myself for salvation a long time ago, and now put all my hope in what Jesus has done for me. And whatever day that occurred, at whichever minute or hour, God alone knows. But it happened and I can rest in the finished work that occurred.
So I can know that I am justified. I can know that I am dead and that the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God. That I died and received His life. And in knowing this, I give up my striving and rest in the truth of my fellowship with Christ – confident that I am living by His life and will uncover more and more of what this means as we go on together.
As Steve McVey would put it, my Grace Walk has started and God will be faithful to complete it as I rest in His strength and receive all that He loves to give.
Here’s to the rest of the journey!