John 6:20

John 6:20 but he called out to them "Don't be afraid. I am here!"

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Not So Comfortable Comfort Zone

I mentioned before that I was going through some spiritual maintenance.  I’m starting to feel some changes taking place.  By no means am I out of the shop but, it is becoming clearer what improvements need to be made (this time around, anyway).  I’ve been realizing that since I’ve dedicated my life to Christ I have been very selective on what I’m willing to give Him access too.  It wasn’t intentional or anything, I have always resisted change.  Even as a child, I was never impulsive and I never let others impulsiveness intrude on my routine.  I’ve always needed control, needed a schedule and preferred solitude over interacting with others.  I guess I wasn’t a very fun child to play with, huh?  Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that my comfort zone has always been very small and I’ve always tried to stay in its boundaries.

I turned to Christ and it was no different.  I’ve been willing to give Him everything; everything inside that small circle of a comfort zone, that is.  I struggle with prayer, especially for other people, especially out loud.  I know we’re not supposed to pray for show (Matthew 6:5) but we are supposed to pray with our brothers and sisters in need (James 5:16).  I struggle with letting my emotion show, including and most of all, joy.  I’ve never been one to wear my heart on my sleeve, so to speak.  How was anyone going to see the love of Christ in me?  I struggle with the need to stick to a strict schedule. Sometimes, I ignore what He is tugging on my heart to do because I didn’t put that in as a part of my day.  Someone forgot to tell me that God doesn’t make appointments.  I suppose my real struggle is just giving up that control.  I gave Jesus my heart but didn’t want to hand over the key.

I suppose that wasn’t enough for Jesus so, in the shop I went.  Since He knows my heart, He knew my commitment was sincere; that I wanted to give Him all of me but I was battling with my old self.  I would have lost that fight too if it hadn’t been for Him intervening.  The work is not done yet and it never will be.  I will always be a work in progress but I am starting to feel the improvements.  The smile that has been in my heart is starting to show on my face.  Praying out loud is still intimidating but He knows that sometimes the quickest way around an obstacle is to go through it.  So, He is throwing prayer opportunities in my direction.  I’m starting to see that not everything can fit in a specific time allotment and its okay.  As long as His will takes priority then everything is right on time and according to plan.

I see now that no one can grow as long as they stay in their comfort zone because His work is bigger than what we can do.  He wants us in that uncomfortable zone; that is where it is all about Him and He shines the brightest because our controlling Self is out of the way.  I know it is a process that won’t be complete until He calls me home but I’m willing to do whatever He has set before me so that He will be glorified.

If it doesn’t cost you anything, it's not a sacrifice.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Needing Input

Here lately I feel that God has placed on my heart that we, as Christians, need to come together as the body of Christ; regardless of how our denominations divide us.  So, I began having a Bible study with a pastor other than my own.  I believe that different perspectives can lead to better understanding of God's Word but I am learning that it can also lead to greater confusion. I know that is the enemy at work; keeping me from growing in my faith.  I could really use some clarification right about now.

I was always taught that being saved meant (1)Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior (2)Believe that he died for your sins and God resurrected Him from the dead (3)Asking Him to come into your heart (4)Repent for your sins (5)Give Him control over your life and allow His will to show through you.  Then, if you asked for all that with a sincere heart, your sins will be forgiven and your heart forever changed.  Your walk with Christ can begin.  And, one of your first steps should be to show the world your commitment and obedience to Christ by being baptized.

Now, through this Bible study I am being taught that forgiveness of your sins cannot take place until you are baptized.  What if there is a time gap between being saved and being baptized? Are you not really saved in that time?  Then what happens when you sin after being baptized? Is baptism needed again?  Can anyone help with this or have scripture that can show me the truth?