How to change your life.
If heaven is for real, how do we make sure we're going?
Well, it's all about two holidays that go beyond a guy in a red suit and a rabbit bringing a bunch of candy - it involves God and a plan to rescue you so you can go to heaven. It sounds like a superhero movie, but it's way better - keep reading to understand the plan...
As humans, we are all a bunch of sinners and our sin is what separates us from God. Romans 3:23 says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
But, God loves you and He wants you back. He knows how you've messed things up. He knows everything - but He still loves you more than you can fathom. He loves you so much he provided the ultimate sacrifice to ransom you once and for all. He sent his son (that would be Jesus).
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16.
Christmas isn't just a holiday with presents - it's the delivery of the best gift ever. It's actually the beginning of the biggest rescue mission of all time.
Jesus came to show us who God really is, to tell us how much he loves us, no matter how much we've screwed things up. Jesus came to sacrifice himself to make us right with God. He was abused, beaten, nailed to a cross, and hung up to die for our sins. For YOUR sins. (Good Friday is the day Jesus died on the cross.) His death was the only sacrifice you'll ever need. He took all of your sins to the grave with him. Your debt is paid...if you simply accept this gift.
THE HERO DIED.
BUT THAT'S NOT THE END OF THE STORY.
When Jesus rose from the dead three days later (that's Easter Sunday), he left your sins behind and you are a new creation, alive with him forever. (That means when you die, you go spend eternity with Him in heaven.) Pretty good deal, huh?
How you take advantage of this:
A. Admit that you are a sinner (you do things that are against God's plan) and are powerless to make yourself right with him on your own.
"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God." Romans 6:23 (NIV)
B. Believe that when Jesus died on the cross He paid the penalty for YOUR sins.
"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." John 1:12 (NIV)
C. Confess (say) that Jesus is Lord and that He has saved you and has made you right with God.
"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved." Romans 10: 9-10.
IT'S NOT HOW YOU START,
IT'S HOW YOU FINISH THAT COUNTS.
What happens if you do this?
Okay, here's the fine print: It's easy to admit that we are all sinners. The hard part is realizing that you are powerless against it. You have to turn away FROM your sin (that's what it means to repent of your sins) and turn TOWARD God. You aren't going to fix yourself, Jesus will transform you. Your job is to surrender to the process and let him. The way you surrender is to spend time with Jesus. Get to know him.
And this is the way to have eternal life ~ to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. John 17:3
Once you do that the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) will live inside you. He will help you and guide you. He will be that voice that tells you what's right, what's wrong, what to stop doing, and what to strive toward and live for. It might be a big adjustment. You might feel like you're giving up everything you've known. That just might be the case. But, when you do it (submit to the Holy Spirit and let Him guide your life) the joys and rewards will be unmatched by anything we humans can gain on our own. It is something you will never regret.
Are you ready?
If you are ready to accept Jesus Christ as your savior and Lord of your life, say a prayer, and ask Jesus into your life. It can be something like this...
Prayer of Salvation
Dear God, my life is a mess, and I need your help. I am a sinner, and I know I can't fix this on my own. God, I need your forgiveness. Please forgive me for all I've done. I want to live a new way. Your way. I believe that you sent your son, Jesus, to die on a cross to pay for my sins. I believe that just as you raised Jesus from the dead, you will raise me and I will be with you always. Thank you, God, for this gift. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray this. Amen
HOW YOU LIVE SPEAKS SO LOUDLY
I CAN'T HEAR WHAT YOU SAY.
You start your new journey. Life will not be the same. Your life may not be easy but God can do amazing things with your life when you let Him.
Find friends. You absolutely need to get into a group of Christian believers. It is too hard to make this journey on your own with all the temptations and evils here on earth. The evil one will try to stop you. Don't let him. Find a Bible-believing church to attend. One that makes you feel like you are getting something out of it - that you are learning more about God...and feel closer to God. Your church should actively engage in doing the work of God (that means they are teaching the people in the church and that the congregation works to help others both in and outside of the church).
Read the Bible. Reading the Bible is the primary way God speaks to you. Someone once defined it like this...BIBLE: Basic Information Before Leaving Earth. You need to know what it says - first hand. Don't accept what others tell you. YOU need to know - and God will speak to you through it. It might sound strange, but once it happens you'll get it...and you'll understand more and more as you continue reading it.
Pray. That means you talk to God. Ask God to help you understand the Bible (His Word) and what he wants for you. Ask how you can serve Him. Seek God with your heart, your soul, and your mind and you will find Him.
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, declares the Lord." Jeremiah 29:13-14