When I was 19-years-old, a deep fear came over me that I might waste my life. I had just spent the last four years of high school goofing off, living wild, partying with friends, and basically ignoring God. In our senior class yearbook, I was voted with the best laugh. That was my legacy thus far. Thankfully, however, God was not laughing with me or ignoring me.
Imagine you woke up one morning and you were in the middle of the ocean on ship with other crew members. No one knows how you all got there. No one knows what you all are supposed to be doing. You are all just there . . . on ship . . . with no coordinates . . . no mission . . . in the middle of a the vast ocean.
To make matters worse, no one on the ship really knows anything about sailing, navigating, or fishing. All the equipment for survival and a successful mission are present on the ship, it’s just that no one really knows how to use any of this.
A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” So who is God and what is he really like? As we will see in this chapter, our answers to these questions will shape the way we live.
Why are there so many problems in this world? Every religion, scientist, philosopher, and politician has tried to answer this question and offer solutions. While there are massive disagreements about what is the real problem on this planet, there is little disagreement that there is a big problem. We all know things are not the way they are supposed to be, both in the whole universe and in our own lives.
Detoxing is a medical term often associated with cleansing the body from impure substances. You can detox from anything ranging from sugar to relationship or from chocolate to crack cocaine. While detoxing from sin is not a topic directly found in the Bible, there are certainly many similarities.
The short and very sufficient answer to “How can I be saved?” is this: Put your faith in Jesus Christ. If you remember nothing else, remember that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
Why does God forgive us? He can forgive us because of the sacrifice of Jesus. But he chooses to forgive us because he is love and because he loves us.
Why should we forgive others? We can forgive others because of the sacrifice of Jesus. And we should choose to forgive because to be God’s child is to reflect his loving image. If we don’t forgive others their sins, then God will not forgive ours because this proves we have not become his children through grace (Matthew 6:14).
So what does the Bible say about personal responsibility?
Throughout the Bible, the real problem was not the Philistines, Egyptians, Syrians, or Romans. It was not the Red Sea, the lack of water, or the absence of food for the people. Nothing could hinder God’s purpose for his people other than the people themselves.
Everyone wants to change in some way or the other. Whether it’s an addiction problem, a chronic rage issue, or a character flaw that is ruining your most significant relationships, there are areas in our lives we want to change but struggle to do so.
And more than this, the Bible makes clear we must change from sinful to holy if we hope to have a true relationship with God. So how can we do this? Certainly we can’t do this in our own power. True change comes only through the power of the gospel of grace. And to be ultra specific, when it comes to actually changing real, tangible things in our lives, the Bible makes clear that only the Holy Spirit can change us.
The Father appoints what he wants done. The Son accomplishes the work of the Father. And the Holy Spirit applies the works of the Son to people. But what specifically does the Holy Spirit change about us? Why should we seek to be filled with the Spirit throughout our whole lives?
Here are seven ways the Holy Spirit changes us.
Life can make even the most faithful Christian question, “Doe God still care about me?” If we are to survive on this brutal planet, it will be essential to remember that despite how often life cuts you, God still cares.