I can’t remember a time I didn’t think of myself as a Christian. Now granted, at my age, there are a few things I don’t recall all that clearly—but I’m pretty sure I have never been a Buddhist, Hindu, Zoroastrian or member of any other non-Christian religion. Like many, I grew up in a middle income home with parents that made sure I went to church and Sunday School most of the way through high school. Following a small period of revolution tied to my college years in the ‘70s, my wife convinced me to return to a mainstream “Top 5” Protestant church where I dutifully sat through Sunday sermons and adult Sunday School classes. I tithed. I volunteered for service projects that fit my busy schedule. By comparison to many of the people I knew at that time, I wasn’t just a Christian—I was devout!
In fact, I was deluded. About two years ago, a crisis in the leadership at that Top 5 church convinced us to shop around, and Two Rivers Church changed my life. I now know I was living only in the Word, and was largely dead to the Spirit. I had ignored the Holy Spirit dwelling in me for so long, I think the boredom had put Him into a coma! I didn’t talk to Him, and therefore, He didn’t talk to me. I didn’t ask Him for help, so He respectfully didn’t help. As a result, I routinely messed stuff up and wrote it off to “we all sin” or “God will forgive me, after all, He made me this way” or “I was saved as a teenager, so it’s all good anyway.”
I was living only in the Word, and was largely dead to the Spirit.
But it wasn’t all good. Trying to be a “good” Christian was hard all by myself. I fell short too often. I made excuses. I rationalized. I felt unworthy. And all that led to periods of questioning my faith and even wondering if I ever had truly been saved. But on the outside, it sure looked like I had it all together—and I liked it that way. I certainly wasn’t going to admit my struggles to anyone else and have them think less of me!
The Word and Spirit message ingrained in Two Rivers Church changed everything. It reminded me that God lives in me in the form of the Holy Spirit. It showed me that through the Spirit, God talks to all of us—if we just listen. Maybe it’s through our conscience, or circumstances and coincidences, or the actions of others, or a small voice, or persistent urgings, or many other ways. He’s there if we just block out the noise and pay attention.
Through the Spirit, God talks to all of us — if we just listen.
So as my indwelling Holy Spirit has slowly awakened from His coma, I have begun to hear from God, and that makes a big difference in our relationship. As I turn over my shortcomings to the Spirit, I am tempted less and resist more effectively. My faith is stronger. My thoughts are less on the things of this world. I have constant help in transforming who I was into what He wants me to be. I have Someone to help me make sound decisions. I am less afraid to go in the new directions He is leading me.
Maybe, just maybe I’m finally starting to live a lifestyle of Christian discipleship. While I’ve always called myself a Christian, maybe now I am finally beginning to act like one. And all I had to do was turn toward God and ask for help!