Pause for thought
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What’s the best procedure for someone to become a confirmed believer so that they are now a Jesus-follower?

Lots of churches and denominations have prescribed rutuals from “kneeling at the penitent-form”, “coming to the altar”, to “full immersion baptism”, amongst others. Sometimes these well-meaning processes just become impediments as Satan uses them to get in our heads with social and psychological objections. In many ways we have added unneccessary complications and the scriptures do not prescribe any processes other than “repent, believe, be born again”!

Many lost people are saved while listening to a great song about Christ or while hearing a preacher or Bible teacher explaining God's Word from a pulpit or over television or on the radio. Others are saved during a small-group Bible study. Many come to Him on their own, while praying in the privacy of their homes. Day or night a sinner can call on the Lord Jesus Christ in faith and be saved. The only essential step is “repentance”, literally “thinking again” or “changing one’s mind”.

The Greek word for repentance is “metanoia" which literally means to have a “higher/better thought" or to make a complete turnaround.

There is a spectacular example of this in Luke’s accounts of what the Apostles did after Christ’s Ascension — the “Acts of the Apostles”.

Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest. He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains. As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?” “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9:1-6 NLT

“Turnaround” is precisely what happened to the once-proud and murderous Pharisee on the road to Damascus. So many things within Saul's thinking changed—and changed completely. He changed his mind about God, about Jesus, about the Resurrection, about those who followed Christ. He must have shaken his head for days. He thought Christ was dead. Now he was convinced Jesus was alive. This One who knew his name also knew what he'd been doing. The raging rebel had finally met his match, and there was no place or way to hide.

I think it’s probably safe to say that most of my readers have not literally had a “Damascus Road” experience — although some may have had something similar at a critical or highly emotional point or crisis in their lives, but my point is that we do the Holy Spirit a disservice when we think we can decide how, who, where or when a person can be convinced of God’s claim on their lives. God deals with us each as individuals and each of us has an experience tailored to our individual needs rather than some cookie-cutter formula or ritual.

Our job and responsibility is just to “go and tell” the Good News.

I am reminded of a quote from Francis of Assisi who said, “preach the Gospel in all places at all times — if necessary, use words!” Our lives as Jesus followers can be the most convincing argument for the reality of our experience and can lead others to the point of turnaround!

Interestingly, the Greek word for the turning point of a battle leading to victory is “trophe” which comes into English as “trophy”. If the battle turned against you, it was designated a “catastrophe”!

When we lead someone to the point where their thinking turns around, we collect a trophy of grace, and Satan and his realm suffers a catastrophe!

Lets give as many people in our sphere of influence good reason to change their minds and turn around their thinking for the benefit of God’s Kingdom!

Blessings on you and yours, Jim Black

P.S. if you’d like to read previous ruminations of mine they can be found at