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Change Your Heart (It’s a Matter of Worship)
This is the first step in the Christian Journey. No one truly comes to God until they first realize their own need. No one ever looks up until they first realize their own position relative to the creator of the universe, and this usually requires a change of heart. It requires us to be willing to make God the object of our worship.
Everyone worships something. Worship is defined as the act of submitting one’s thoughts, hopes, money, time and talent to something that we voluntarily choose. And if you think about it, you are already doing that to one extent or another. What do you read? What do you watch on TV? Where do you spend your discretionary dollars? What do you choose to do when you have free time? If you take a close look at these issues, you’ll quickly discover what it is that you worship.
- Recognize That We Were Designed to Worship: Why is it that we find ourselves looking for something to spend our time, thoughts and energy on? Why do we seem so bent on worshiping something? Well, worship is inherent to our nature, it is a part of our soul, and it is a design element that is fundamental to the human species. Worship is part of our nature because we bear the fingerprints of the God who created us. We are simply created beings that are drawn to the truth of our creator. We have been hardwired with a desire to love and worship something bigger than ourselves, and while we may misplace this worship in the people, material objects and activities of our lives, the true object of worship waits patiently for us to wake up and have a change of heart.
There is a truth about our condition and it is something you need to know. There is a truth about the nature of God and it is something that you need to learn. There is a truth about the singular path to the heart of God and it is something you need to understand. Click HERE to hear about the free gift of Salvation.
Change Your Life (It’s a Matter of Discipleship)
Once you’ve made the decision to examine your own heart and surrender it to God, you may wonder how you can grow as a Christian. The natural desire of anyone who has had a change of heart is to have a change of life as well. There are several active steps that we can take as Christians, and while these activities do not EARN us our salvation, they certainly help us to be united to the heart of God.
- Read the Bible: A healthy youngster has a healthy appetite. If you are a new Christian and have truly been born of the Spirit of God, you’ll have a healthy appetite too. Doesn’t that make sense? The Bible says, ‘as new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word that you may grow’ (1 Peter 2:2). Do your best to feed yourself every day on God’s Word. Let’s face it, the more you eat, the quicker you will grow, and the less vulnerable you will be along the way when you encounter life’s difficulties. Speed up the process of your spiritual growth, and save yourself some pain. Commit to reading God’s Word every day. Try to put your Bible before anything else for a while. Each day, find somewhere quiet, and thoroughly soak your soul in the Word of God.
- Commit to the Exploration of God: There may be times when you read through the pages of scripture with great enthusiasm, and there may be other times when it will seem dry or maybe even boring. But food is good for you whether you enjoy it or not. When you were very little, you probably ate dessert with a ton of enthusiasm. But vegetables were another issue entirely! Even so, as you matured, you were taught to discipline yourself to eat the vegetables, and eventually you started to like many of them. You came to realize that they could benefit you, even though they weren’t all that exciting at first. Understand that the spiritual life is sometimes like that, and commit yourselves to a disciplined diet, trusting that God will develop a joy and love for truth in His Word.
- Search for Answers to Your Questions: Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions, after all there are a ton of questions in the Christian life. It doesn’t mean you are less faithful when you want a clearer understanding of the truth. God honors your exploration with a deeper understanding of him. Questions bring us to the truth, and God is not afraid of that. He IS the truth. Take the plunge and bring God your doubts.
- Connect with God through Prayer: It’s often said that God always answers prayer. Sometimes He’ll say ‘yes’, and sometimes He’ll say ‘no’. Sometimes he’ll simply say ‘not yet’. Would you like your prayers to be heard by God? Try praying with faith that God will answer you (Hebrews 11:6). Trust that he cares enough about your life to respond. Start looking for his response in the events of your life. Try praying with clean hands and a pure heart (Psalm 24:3-4). Look at your own life and try to determine where your own sin is standing in the way of God’s Will for you. Try praying with genuine heart-felt prayers, rather than repetitive, meaningless words (Matthew 6:7). God knows your heart and wants you to cry out to him honestly. Try making sure that you are praying to the God that is revealed in scripture (Exodus 20:3-6). Study the Word and don’t accept the view of God that is held by the world. Know that God is not only loving and merciful, but also just and holy. Understand His Will for your life, and His holy nature.
Change Your Friends (It’s a Matter of Fellowship)
We were designed for community; we are social animals. This characteristic of our humanity reflects the triune nature of the God who created us. God is inherently a communal being and we were also designed to be part of a community. You will never live the abundant life that God created you to live unless you connect with other like-minded believers!
- Commit to a Community: Pray about where you should fellowship. Make sure that the place where you are going to bring your friends and develop new friends is a place that is not afraid to speak the truth. That’s what a good church family wants to be. A place that identifies sin, and is not afraid to talk about it. A place that is filled with leaders who demonstrate the love of God and try to live holy lives that honor our Father. Then, commit to a ministry that can help you grow and love other Christians. Don’t become a spiritual butterfly. Set down roots. If you are always moving from church family to church family, how will anyone ever know you well enough to know your needs? Scripture says that ‘shepherds’ will have to give account to Him that has entrusted you into their care (Hebrews 13:17), so make yourself known to those who are more spiritually mature.
- Make New Friends: Recognize that one evidence that you have been truly saved is that you will have a love for other Christians (1 john 3:14). You are going to want to hang out with them. You’ll come together for the breaking of bread (the Lord’s Supper), the teaching of the Word, and for fellowship. As Christians, you share the same inspirations, illuminations, inclinations, temptations, aspirations, motivations and perspirations. We are all working together for the same thing: the furtherance of the Kingdom of God. This is why you go to church in the first place; not because you have to, but because you want to.
- Bring Your Old Friends to the Foot of the Cross: Joy is always overflowing. If you truly are saved, you will know the greatest joy of all, and you will also be unable to contain that joy around others. It won’t be long before you will want to let your old friends in on the greatest news of all time. Can you imagine living in eternity with God in heaven and knowing that some of your friends are eternally separated from God just because you didn’t share the good news with them? Don’t waste another life, and don’t waste another day. Bring your friends to church and take the time to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them before it is too late.
- Take Care of Your Friends, Old and New: Christians don’t bash their friends. Christians don’t bash other Christians. All too often we see Christians treating their own friends in terrible ways that are hurtful and unkind. When we do that, we demonstrate that our God has no power to change us. Don’t let that happen to you. Most often, it is simply a matter of what we say. Scripture says that there is life and death in the power of the tongue. We can kill things or bring things to life with our words. Scripture also reveals that God literally hates those who cause division in the Christian community (Proverbs 6:16). Don’t be someone that God hates and curses. Take good care of your friends and your relationships. It matters to God.
Change Your World (It’s a Matter of Ministry and Mission)
We were not designed to sit and bake in the local church. Instead, God has designed us as active, transformational creatures, here for a reason and a purpose. It just so happens that our mission here on planet earth is to join His Mission here on planet earth! We were designed to be His partner. We were designed to be His Co-worker. His Mission is, in fact, our Commission. Although He certainly does not need our help, He has blessed us with the opportunity to join the cause, and He has given us with just enough talent to get the job done. Our work with God on planet earth is called ministry, and our joint cause to reveal God to a lost and needy world is called the Great Commission.
- Share Jesus with the World: The world is sleeping peacefully in its ignorance and darkness. And there’s only one way they can ever know God. There’s only one door that will lead them out of this darkness. For those who don’t know God, judgment day will be a day of sorrow and terror. The world needs to know the truth and the good news of Jesus Christ. We are called to spread that good news. Charles Spurgeon once asked, “Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that.” Our love of God should motivate us to reach a lost world for Jesus Christ. If we don’t sense the urgency, we are not really part of God’s plan to change the world.
- Be Loving with the Lost: Don’t beat them with the Gospel like a bull in a china shop. Don’t always focus on pushing others to a ‘decision’. Salvation doesn’t come when someone simply says, ‘yeah, I’ve decided’, but when someone truly understands their need and decides to turn away from sin and toward God. And this decision to ‘repent’ is actually a gift of God (2 Timothy 2:25). Scripture says that no one can come to God unless God first ‘draws’ them. Our job is to pray for the lost, thanking God in advance for their changed lives. Then, live a life of example before them, demonstrating the love and transformational power of God. Love those you want to save and pray for an opportunity to share the truth with them. Listen for their questions and then be prepared to share (1 Timothy 4:2).
- Serve as Christ Served: Never lose sight of the fact that the world is in pain and darkness. Keep your eyes on the lost and those who you might think of as ‘ungodly’. These children matter to God. They should matter to you. Serve your fellow Christians, and serve those who are far from God. It’s great to serve within the walls of the church, but God does not see these walls. He is calling us to serve in His world. Are you ready to answer this call? Is your heart soft and are your hands tough? Step out in faith and find a way to serve!
Do You Get It?
We were designed to be transformed and be transforming. We were designed to be changed and to join the Great Commission work of changing the world around us. It begins with a personal journey of transformation as we change our hearts through worship and our lives through discipleship. As we grow in our relationship with God, we will naturally find ourselves involved in the work of changing the lives of our friends through fellowship and the world around us through ministry and missions. It is a life of transformation that begins in our hearts and ends in the grand expanse of planet Earth.