I would be sure to warn my congregation that "believing" in God is not enough to have eternal life. Yes, you heard correctly. I believe there has to be a change of will and a change of walk in your life to experience salvation.
James 2:19 states that the devils believe and tremble. We know where they will spend eternity so believing canít be enough. I would like to use my life as an example of what I mean and then quote some scriptures that I believe validate my statement.
About 40 years ago I went to the altar for salvation and was baptized. I had always believed in God. I also believed God sent His Son to earth to be born of a virgin. I believed that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and that He arose to sit at the right hand of the Father. I believed all these things happened. As I grew into adulthood, I thought I was living a Christian life. I was active in church as a song leader, a Sunday school teacher, and even preached a message or two. By the outward appearance I was living a Christian life, doing all the things that Christians were supposed to do. But within, I was very unsure about myself and my faith. I was never concerned nor felt compassion for the needs of the people.
As I look back I can see that I only had a head knowledge, an intellectual relationship with God. Not a love or heart relationship. I was also still in control of my life. I only accepted God in my life on my terms and for what He could do for me, not what I could do for Him. I was afraid that if I allowed God to control my life that He would ask me to do something I wasnít willing to do or give up something I wasnít willing to give up.(Ask not what God can do for you; Ask what you can do for God.)
I have spent a lifetime searching this world trying to find peace and fulfillment in my life. I have never been sure that when I died that I would go to heaven. My life wasnít worth living for myself anymore. One evening
about a year and a half ago , I got down on my knees and started praying. I gave my life to Jesus and surrendered my will and my heart to Him. My life was changed from that moment on. I felt a tremendous load lifted from me. At this time I also felt peace and joy from within that I had never felt before.
I think it is important for us to examine our lives and truly see if we are following Godís will and walking in the Spirit. I donít believe we can do one without the other and they should be apparent in our lives if we call ourselves Christians. Matt. 7:21 says not everyone shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father. Ep.6:6 says we should be as servants of Christ doing the will of God from the heart. So if we truly believe in God we must allow Him to have control of our life and will. When we do that then we will also change our walk. I John 2:6 says that if He abideth in us we ought also to walk even as He walked. Gal. 5:16,25 says to walk in the Spirit and we shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Also if we live in the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit.
In conclusion , let me try to tie this all together. I believe that we are living in critical times today in our society and our nation. I believe that as a whole our country and people are falling farther and farther away from the will of God. It is so important that we as Christians seek Godís will for ourselves so we can know what God would have us doing in these last days. The only way that we can know Godís will is to seek Him in prayer through the Holy Spirit and allow the Spirit to guide us in our walk. Through this study in the book of Acts, I am coming to realize just how important and crucial the Holy Spirit is in our Christian life. We must open our hearts to the Holy Spirit and listen as He tells us what Godís will is for our lives, and then we must obey Him.
God tells us in Jer. 29:11-14, "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray I will listen to you. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me. I will be found by you," says the Lord.
God is not hard to find when we earnestly seek Him. He wants to reveal His plan to us for our life. Our heartís desire ought to be seeking Godís will and His plan for us. If we humble ourselves before God and our motives and intents are pure, God will reveal to us, through the Holy Spirit, His will and plan for us. Then it is our decision to choose whether to follow His plan or our own. What will be you decision? There are souls at stake.
(Please read The Spiritís Voice)