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Christ Loves


How to Be Saved

As I write this article one thought occurred to me which could add a spice of humour. It reminds me of a "How to" website to which one can submit articles and which can supposedly even pay you for your article if it is useful or popular enough. Well, nothing can be more useful and popular than point by point instructions how to save oneís soul, find salvation, and spend the rest of their life in happiness and bliss. So I presume that should be worth as much as life itself and I guess I could earn unimagined wealth from these simple instructions. But the procedure is free, and Iím not the one doing the saving, so it is my simple gift to you (not the actual saving but the impartation of simple instructions).

But there are those who have tried (and, unfortunately, succeeded) in getting rich off this very valuable piece of information. It is one of the greatest sins to do so and they will be punished accordingly (or so much more severely, as the bible says < ). In any case, their actions are why the joke has gone around that Je$u$ $ave$. But such a misinformed reputation is, as usual, the product of peopleís wrong doing than anything to do with God or Jesus.

In any case, I will spell it out here. Perhaps itís a bit odd that Iíve waited so long to post such "instructions" among the growing number of my sermons, but a teacher of everything does not have to start from the most rudimentary, kindergarten level, do they? The bible compares the walk with Jesus like the walk along a very thin path, where it is always easy to be tempted off the razor thin path to either the left or to the right. And this is because of our own nature and our prone to decay or sin. One of the ingredients required to be completely saved is to give up our own will entirely, which is in direct conflict with our personal ambitions (pride) and natural instincts (for survival). But the power of the living Spirit of Jesus is so strong that it can help us overcome all our tribulations, if we surrender ourselves and let that Spirit work within us. And that all gets down to a matter of personal choice and character.

In the bible Paul speaks of the need to be born again every day. To surrender ourselves fully to the will of Jesus and put to death all our earthly desires and ambitions. In exchange we get the unmistakably living, powerful, nurturing and exhilarating Spirit of Jesus. But even with such a prize, from my own personal experience, I can tell you that human nature, pride and temptation (the love of the world and things which lead us to sin and fall from our grace in Jesus) can easily draw us away from this free gift. As you might learn from the journey of my life as explained in my testimony.  In Mathew 13:1, Jesus also explains the three ways how one might fall from this grace.

But the initial gift is free, which is why the bible says that God loved us first. Like a father loves its child. Did the baby, from the moment it was born, perform any acts to deserve such a deep love? No. The apostles often compare the love of a God towards us like a the love a parent feels towards its child. Full, deep and unlimited, yet undeserving love, which also calls for occasional discipline, out of love. If a child eats only cotton candy it will get sick and eventually die. In a parentís wisdom, they deny the child from eating only such food, and may have to discipline them to keep them away from such things. From the perspective of the childís mind, the parent may seem cruel, but out of love and wisdom, the parent does it anyway, even though it might hurt them because the child will think badly about them and give them less love. This precisely explains my experience of how God acts in my life. And I have to consider myself rather thick as a result, because it can sometimes take me years to finally understand why I was punished or denied of what I wanted at some points in my life.

Anyway, to get back to the simple point method of how to be saved, the initial gift is free. But how we react to it is up to us or depends on our character. If our character is weak and we have a tendency to fall away towards all or any of the dimensions of temptation, we can ask Jesus and God for help to overcome, but we have to ask, and the will has to be there. In any case the initial gift is free.

Okay, I feel I should not mention drugs in amongst this all important subject as I feel I should not swear in the same sentence (or paragraph - or swear at all) that I mention "God" or "Jesus", but it does serve as an illustration nevertheless. I allowed myself to try coke once, and only once, mostly because it scared the bejesus out of me. I fully understand itís addiction, especially among those who feel empty inside and lack the nurturing and free Spirit of Jesus, so I vowed myself never to touch the stuff again. But in that super high that I felt that one time I tried it (it only lasted a few seconds and I think it was laced with speed), I would have to compare that high with the euphoria I felt when I first asked and accepted Jesus into my heart. Except the euphoria I felt from Jesus was everlasting, at least until I fell from that initial grace (after which it was differing degrees of a lower Ďdosesí). Iíd say the physical high was almost entirely the same, but that I felt something living in me as well. So there was that added element. I felt Jesusís presence and abounding and unlimited love live directly within me, strongest in my chest area, but surrounding all of me. That day I must have looked like a walking lightbulb. And it is unquestionable and unmistakable. For anyone who has had a strong dose of cocaine, I doubt someone would be able to convince them of the same high with a placebo pill alone. But that is my testimony and it is up to you if you want to try it yourself.

And as explained in my testimony above, perhaps the best time to ask for this is when one is absolutely desperate. Because it is at times like this when oneís heart is most open to such things. Jesus says that it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (which can extend into this present life, because the kingdom of heaven is a matter of the living spirits of good and extends both into heaven and onto this earth, where it is able to live) than for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle. This is because the rich man has everything they need, or at least feel they do. They are therefore distracted by all the bells, whistles and pleasures around them, and do not feel a need to submit their hearts to God or open their souls to salvation. Unfortunately, in todayís world, many common people in the rich west can be compared to the rich and wealthy, even kings of the past, because they basically have everything at their fingertips. What king in the days of old could have ever dreamed of all the present forms of entertainment and pleasure at their fingertips? Sure, they were wealthy and powerful enough to have their own hired jester, or a whole courtyard full of them, but what entertainment can a crowd of jesters offer compared to the simplest of special effects movies today? And you can see the consequences of so many Ďkings and rich peopleí: a society which has drifted away from God, with great material wealth, but which is not happier as a result of it. Our society is full of crime and troubled and depressed souls. But that is another reason why I feel we are in or entering the "final days", when there will be "no faith yet great wealth and prosperity". We still have a (perhaps little) ways to go <link to prophesy>, but you can see the chain of reaction.

On the other hand, I have a friend who went to the poorest community in Africa and was brought to tears when she saw how much joy the people and little children were filled with, even though they did not even have boots and were forced to walk in the wet muddy Ďstreetsí barefoot. But they were in a ripe state of heart to call on Godís free and eternal spirit.

So if you are interested in tasting from this free gift, I hope you will be in the right state of heart. Otherwise, if you feel you have everything you need or already have a face full of coke like Al Pacino at the end of Scarface, you might not experience this free gift to enough measure.

I was desperately depressed and my heart fertile for the change. The experience was so overpowering that I could not possibly forget it, and ever since then I have been trying to get back to that. Even now I am struggling with the decision to let go and fully submit myself, which I should have done that first day when I asked for the Spirit and was flying high as a kite. But I was embarrassed at the prospect of preaching, for the Spirit that lived within me wanted to burst out of my soul and start spreading the good word. I felt it like a bubble on the edge of my tongue, welling up from within my chest, but before it could get out I closed my lips, because I was embarrassed and afraid of the prospect of being ridiculed by my family and all those around me. I therefore immediately failed according to one of the three ways mentioned by Jesus above (Mathew 13:1) : I had no roots and fell away due to persecution. Heck, I wasnít even persecuted but only in my mind, which shows how shallow or non-existent my roots were.

But God is full of grace and love, and therefore patience, and I feel he is waiting for me, working on me according to my capacity, as he works on all of us. I hope you will be more fortunate and manage to stay the course, and that you will not be so susceptible to pride as I have been during my long walk with Jesus.

Anyway, as my testimony explains above, I only had to utter the words. Based on my limited understanding of the bible at the time. And I believe God made me depressed during that time on purpose, because he wanted me to come around. He knew what I had, by that time, read of the bible (I started reading it back then) and I guess he decided it was time to move things forward. This is how I often find that he works in my life: between extremes of discipline and punishment, to the euphoria one can feel after a completely broken and tender heart.

And the words I remember uttering were something like: "Dear Jesus, please come into my heart and fill me with your Spirit."

Now the apostles also extensively talk about the need for the "laying on of hands", which, in my understanding, is when someone who is holy and filled with the Spirit puts their hand on you, the Spirit therefore given the opportunity to transfer to you. Come to think about it, I did not feel this euphoria until the next day after I uttered the simple words above. Perhaps sometime during that day I came into contact, by Godís providence, with someone who had the Spirit. I do not recall this at all.

But even Jesus, for the purpose of "fulfilling the books" and "to make all things complete" went to John the Baptist to be baptised, at which point the heavens ripped open, there was a great light, etc. etc. So I cannot say with certainty whether this procedure is also necessary. Personally, I believe that God is omniscient and everywhere, as is Jesus, and it is not a problem for them to fill my heart at my time of need, as it is not a problem for them to be with me always, assuming I do not dive into lust and sin and hence shun away that life-giving Spirit.

But if you want to be doubly certain, you might consider trying to find yourself a holy priest, or at least a holy believer (which could be easier to find). Personally I feel I can see such people, because they radiate a light, and from their eyes. Then again, by believing, I really do "see the light". Both in understanding and the visual spiritual light I see emanating from such people. If you are a lifelong sinner clouded in darkness, perhaps you do not see this light. In the least though, you should be able to see the light reflecting off of such peopleís teeth, because anyone who is filled with the Spirit is usually full of such joy that they show their teeth often. You can ask them if they are a believer and if they know about this "laying on of hands". Hopefully they will not be embarrassed as I first was, or at least know where they can direct you.

Or you can just try it yourself, just by asking and without the laying on of hands (as I did) - in your own privacy and solitude.

Well, thatís pretty well all the instructions I can offer. Sure would be neat if I could become materially wealthy by offering such simple yet invaluable advice, but when you are filled with the Spirit, material possessions really lose their value. They say that money cannot buy happiness, but I say that, when you are fully filled with this sort of happiness, you do not need the money. It becomes an irrelevant item. I believe that most people strive for it as they do because they believe it will lead to their happiness. Or at least to enough distractions that perhaps they can forget about their implanted need to find happiness. Which is basically our calling to God. Except that the world is so full of deceptions and temptations that many are steered away from the path leading towards their own happiness. How many people do you know who appear to have everything prescribed for them to experience a fully happy life, yet are not? Something is missing from their lives and they do not even know what. I do not find it difficult to find such people.

Anyway, I hope this will work out for you. It certainly has for me. And if you do get to experience the euphoria, I strongly suggest that you read the rest of these pages, or pick up the bible and start actively studying. Because, as the bible explains (quoted at the end of this page), there is a war on this earth, and the war is not between men but between the spirits of the air. There is a war waging on battleground earth for the souls of men (in the bible --although this can get lost in some of the translations--, it clearly explains that man=male and female [GE 1:27 and %:1]), and if you do feel the initial euphoria, you can bet that temptations and deception will soon follow. When I was first filled (before my big fill) it did not take long to fall away, and my thoughts soon began to be filled with doubt. I started thinking that I must have been delirious and that it was some silly experience. I was about to return to my old ways for good, but decided, at the last instance, that I will read the bible one last time before plunging back. But when I read through a few passages of the bible again the magic ways of Godís Word entered my mind, cleared things up for me, and I experienced the Spirit again. The bible compares the Word of God to food and says we need it regularly. When I was filled with the Spirit again, I "saw the light" again and understood how the devil was playing with my mind and trying to "win me back". Since then I vowed never let myself be steered or to fall like that, and to never again come to a final decision away from the Word without first forcing myself to read it again. This has worked ever since.

So if you do attain that first, unmistakable euphoria, enjoy it, try to follow the Spirit within you (it will definitely be counseling you), try not to be embarrassed like I was, and if you succeed fully in that, you will have left your ploughshare, possibly your family and all those around you, quite possibly given up all your earthly possessions, and from that day forward do whatever the Spirit tells you to do, and live the rest of your life in total euphoria. But if you are a weak mortal like I am, Iíd advise you read the bible regularly and fill your thirsty soul with a bit of the Spirit that way, and struggle against your temptations and own pride, and try to submit your will etc. The bible says it will be a struggle, but I know the alternative. It is not a problem for me to return back to my old ways, like a dog returning to its vomit, as the bible puts it. But I only need to remember how empty I felt when I used to live without Jesus. What a lack of purpose and meaning I felt in my life. The daily insecurities when meeting people. The constant struggle to "keep things up", to put on a face and enter the bleak and cold world. It is my unwillingness to return to those cold and dark days that keeps me striving in the opposite direction, no matter how many struggles I have to go through. But when you think about it, all these struggles could be considered simple tricks of the mind. What am I struggling about anyway? I know exactly: my willingness to fully let go of my pride and surrender myself in full to Jesus. Not any easy thing, at least for me. I hope this struggle will be much less for you.

If you are struggling like me, perhaps you could read the previous free counseling pages to read how all the other believers struggle out there. And my advice to them. Or you can ask me for my advice. Or you can read about obedience < and the certain things which harm your relationship with God (itís called sinning, and there are certain things which can draw away the Spirit from you). Or read some of my other pages, like Saved by Jesus, Body and Spirit or Ambition, to help you make it a sincere matter of the heart and not just words. Iíve already written a few other articles on this subject but have not posted them yet. I must still reread and finalise them, but I guess it is a difficult subject to explain if Iím still struggling with it myself, wouldnít it?

In any case, I find the struggle worthwhile and I regularly thank God for every positive blessing in my life, and the constant satisfaction I feel within me. Without that, I am sure I would end up like Al Pacino at the end of the film.

As a final synopsis, Iíll list the basic instructions in point form.

How to Be Saved by Jesus:

  • Ask him (I assume that out loud is better) to come into your heart, fill it with his Spirit, and to show you his way. For this it is by far better to ask with a true, contrite and sincere heart, but this is not a necessary requirement. For the grace is unbound.

  • You might consider finding some gospel believers who could lay their hands on you and baptise you into the Spirit.

  • Once you are saved and filled with the unmistakable Spirit of Jesus and salvation, try to listen to everything the Spirit tells you. Leave behind your ploughshare if led and follow wherever the Spirit leads you. Your faith will be tested from time to time, and you can expect persecution and tribulation, but the Spirit will always be bountiful and help you overcome all obstacles. And it will not always be trials and tribulations, but also wonderful periods of absolute bliss. If you have great wealth, perhaps the Spirit will guide you to put it to good use. Perhaps you will keep your wealth. Who knows. Just listen to the Spirit and do whatever it says. You are not saved by your acts < , so donít give up your money on purpose but rather do whatever the Spirit tells you to do (not just some preacher).

  • If you are a mere weak mortal like myself and cannot leave the ploughshare and surrender yourself fully, then equip yourself in other ways by reading the bible regularly (or some good Christian reading), surround yourself with good and sincere Christians as a support group (also not necessarily easy to find), and continually strive to see greater wisdom and seek an ever holier life. Learn what you should not do and try your best, if you are not able to surrender yourself fully. If your faith is wavering, pray, pray, and pray again. God loves you and is there for you, as much as you let him be there for you.

EPH 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. [11] Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. [12] For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. [13] Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. [14] Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, [15] and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. [16] In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. [17] Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. [18] And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

 

 


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