It’s supposed to be easy to install the new operating system on my Android phone. But when I read the instructions, I froze up, because I couldn’t understand all the special terms and acronyms. Even knowing that OTA means “over the air” made no difference. I felt stupid and backed away.
Too often, Christians say things like “accept Jesus by faith,” a quote from my last post, forgetting that those words might sound like secret code-talk. People don’t understand, feel stupid and back away. Worse, many have a distorted idea of what those words mean and back away. If I don’t install a new operating system on my phone it’s no big deal. But failing to “install God’s new operating system” in your soul is tragic. It’s a life or death thing.
So, what does it mean to “accept Jesus by faith?”
Your car breaks down in the middle of Montana, shudders to a stop and emits a brackish smell. You get out and open the hood, looking down at the engine and trying to figure out what is wrong and how to fix it. You don’t realize it, but you only have a short time to fix it before a deadly storm blows in from the west. You reach down and fiddle with the thingamawidget and tap on the fuse box. Along comes a guy in a van, who stops to help. After assessing your situation, he says,
“There is no way you are going to be able to fix that on your own. But if you would like, I’ll be glad to take you with me into the next town.”
What do you do? You might say, “That’s ok, I appreciate it, but I think I can get it…” To which he replies,
“You don’t want to be out here much longer; there’s a really bad storm coming.”
You have two choices: you can continue to take care of your problem by yourself, or you can “accept his offer by faith.” If you trust him, and truly believe he can save you from the coming storm, that he really has your best interest in mind, then you abandon your own efforts to get yourself going and surrender to whatever it is that he will do. You climb in, and let him take over.
“Accepting Jesus by faith” is the same kind of decision. There is something desperately broken with human life as we know it. Most of us try one thing and another to fix it, or at least to make the best of it. Jesus comes along and says,
“You will never get that fixed on your own. But if you will trust Me, I’ll take you with Me and take you to the only One Who can fix what is broken. You don’t want to stay out here, though, because before long it will be too late.”
What do you do? If you accept His offer, you trust Him, so to speak. Jesus then brings you to The Father (John 14:6), Who forgives you completely (Romans 8:1), receives you in a loving and sustaining way (John 1:12), and gives you His Holy Spirit to fill your soul (Acts 2:38; John 14:16). This Spirit is life, a kind of life we cannot imagine without experiencing it, and it lasts eternally (John 7:37-38). It truly is a new operating system.
What will you do?