Thursday, January 15, 2004
It all started with an SOS from a counselor who was talking with a young woman after a meeting where I had spoken. Her frustrated counselor just said, "Boy, this one's really hard." Sure enough, Kelly seemed really shut down. I said, "Kelly, do you want to have a relationship with Jesus?" When she said yes, I asked her why. She responded, "Because part of me is missing, and I know it's Him. But if you only knew how many times I have tried to accept Christ, and nothing happens." Well, I was stuck - until the Lord gave me one question for Kelly - and it changed everything. It might change everything for you.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The One Step We Miss."
I asked this young woman, who really wanted to know Jesus but could never seem to get the relationship off the ground, this question: "Have you ever told the Lord you are really sorry for your sin and you're ready to change?" She had said yes to Jesus - but she'd missed an important ingredient in turning to God - saying no to sin.
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Acts 3:19; a road map to belonging to Jesus Christ. Here is what it says: "Repent, then, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord." Now, when you turn to Jesus, you're turning from the sins that He died for. That's repentance. You can't hold Jesus in one hand and the junk that killed Him in the other. You can't turn to the West to watch the sunset without turning your back on the East. You can't face two directions at the same time.
When you start to name the sins of your life - even of the past couple weeks - you realize what it is you need a Savior for. Then you visit the Cross of Jesus to be saved; rescued from that sin. Unfortunately, repentance is the missing page in many a Gospel presentation. We skip over the cancer of sin lightly and we go right to the cure before the person has faced their disease. It could be that the reason that your commitment to Christ has never gotten off the ground is because you never really repented of your sins when you turned to the One who died for them.
There's no real power in your life as a Christian until you let your heart be broken over your sin. When Kelly heard the step she had missed, the tears started coming. She bowed her head and said, "God, I'm sick of the junk." That's when confession began - and, in her case, saving faith.
Could it be that the reality that you've been looking for begins with really being sorry for the sin that is breaking God's heart? It is, after all, that sin that killed His one and only son on the cross. I'm not sure a Savior can mean all that much to you until you see the seriousness of the sin He died to save you from. You want Jesus. You believe in Jesus. Repentance may be the one step you're missing. But you can tell Jesus right now, right where you are, "Lord, I'm so sorry for the sinning I have done. I'm sick of the junk. I'm ready to change. I'm turning to You, Jesus, to forgive me and change me."
If you have not really begun your Jesus-relationship and you want to, I'd like to send you the booklet that I wrote about it called "Yours For Life." Just let me know you want it. You know, today could be your new beginning.