“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.” (Col. 2:13)
From The Christian Life in the Danger Zone
The way of the cross in the narrative stories of faith recorded in the Bible and in the lives of Christians “walking in the Spirit” today is not the life that we would choose on our own, because it is deeper, fuller, and overflowing with purpose and meaning beyond anything we could imagine or cause to come into reality.
An instructive observation about the narrative stories of faith recorded in the Bible is that God does not sell the benefits of His callings to the people of faith through an upfront, give-and-take process of negotiation. God already knows ahead of time that placing loving faith and confidence in us that conveys our priceless worth to Him as individuals will capture our devotion when it is met with a corresponding measure of faith in God on our part.
People hear God’s call, and with allowances given to their understandably human reservations about their fitness and capacity to be able to comply with the magnitude of their missions (Ex. 4:10; Jud. 6:15; 1 Sam. 10:22; 1 Ki. 3:7; Jer. 1:6; Jon. 1:3; Lk. 5:8), they take up their callings and willingly follow God.
I cannot speak for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, Ruth, Hannah, Huldah, David, Elijah, or Luke the physician and the writer of the third New Testament gospel and the book of Acts, as to their personal reasons for deciding to follow God.
For me, upon hearing the gospel message for the first time and being convicted of my sin, I was amazed first that God was real and second that He knew all about me. I was also amazed that He did not condemn me but was offering forgiveness for all of my past mistakes and wrongdoings, wrapped within a quality of encouraging, optimistic, and unconditional love I had never before encountered. In a way I cannot adequately describe, I acutely sensed that this was my Creator speaking directly to me, showing me lovingly how and where I was coming up short in His estimation, and offering a way out of sin and a way into a new life through the cross and the resurrection of Christ.
The additional realization over time, after my conversion, that God thought enough of me to reveal to me His plan for my life, sealed my commitment to take up the cross and to follow Jesus through a mixture of respect, admiration, and a deep curiosity to see how a walk of faith with God would actually work out.
I sensed that it was not just merely okay, but was actually expected and encouraged of me, by faith to put God’s higher ways to the test. My curiosity about the ways of God, starting out in my new walk of faith, in my case made up for the lack of natural ability or talent in godliness that I did not and do not innately possess. Passion, talent, and creativity in my own unique journey of faith came later with time. But everyone possesses and can begin their journey of faith exercising healthy curiosity about God.
And with my conversion experience I also felt an equally indescribable, secure and solid sense of hope that whatever God had planned for my future it would no longer be aimless and missing the mark. The nagging sense of the empty insecurity of not knowing the right way…that something important was missing in my life…left me entirely when Jesus entered my life. The higher ways of God are infinitely more hopeful than anything this world can invent or offer. A God-composed journey of faith is the one and the only thing in all of reality that offers hope in this current life.