Yes. It hurts.
Currently, I’m looking at several dear friends in the midst of deep and troubling pain. Two in particular. One of those friends is a Christian with rock-solid faith and theology. The other is not.
So yesterday, after hearing about the deep pain of the non-Christian friend, I found myself deeply considering the subject of pain brought on by just being alive in this world. Brokenness is EVERYWHERE. And so I began to think… I run around with this lofty idealistic view of Jesus and how He really makes a difference in everything. Do I really believe that? And if I do, how exactly DOES Jesus make a difference?
So I made a list.
The good news. Conversion means….
- Conversion to Christ means that God makes you into a whole new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17). Jesus told his religious leader, Nicodemus, it’s called being born again. (John 3:3).
- Conversion to Christ means you can see the Kingdom of God. (John 3:3). This one I believe I may have misinterpreted for most of my life… I’ve always thought Jesus meant when I die, I get to “see” the “Kingdom of God”. But what if Jesus was saying that prior to being born again, I was blind to everything in the Kingdom of God currently, historically and in the future? What if he was telling Nicodemus, “you don’t understand because you don’t know ME? You can’t see anything rightly unless you’re born again.”
- Conversion to Christ means you get a new mind and a new mindset (Romans 12:2). I don’t think the way I used to think and testing (that horrible, nagging, daily grind of pain from living this life in a broken world) has a Godly way of transforming me out of the way I used to think and into thinking according to the will of God.
- Conversion to Christ means I’ve been forgiven of my disobedience to God and I am no longer destined to condemnation. And my mind, which used to be set on selfish ambitions is now set on things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-8). Life-changing adjustment here, folks.
- Conversion to Christ means I’m not a slave to the power of disobedience to God anymore, but I’m free from the power of disobedience. I don’t have to sin anymore, and Jesus has paid the price of my sin so that when God looks upon me he sees a precious child and heir of the King, not a wretched, evil child of wrath. (Galations 4:4-7, Romans 6:7-11, Ephesians 2:3)
- Conversion to Christ means I can get a grip mentally and emotionally on all the crap that happens to me. Through Christ, I can handle it. (Phillipians 4:13) I can now make right decisions, no matter how much it hurts.
- Conversion to Christ means I have a whole new perspective because my nose isn’t pressed firmly and painfully into the tree bark anymore. I can see the whole forest… I can get outside of my pain and suffering to see that, at worst, it’s “light and momentary affliction.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
- Conversion to Christ means I can withstand the pain and heartache of this world. (Matthew 7:24-27). Storms come and rage… the rain falls, the floods come and beat on our houses.. But those who are converted to Christ live in a house that will not fail.
- Conversion to Christ means I am spiritually alive and pleasing to God. (Ephesians 2:1-10). What can spiritually dead people do to please God? NOTHING.
I could go on and on and on and on… this list is not and could never be exhaustive. These are but drops in the bucket to all the Scriptures God has communicated to us about the benefits of genuine Christianity. The benefits are supernaturally endless in their scope and time.
The bad news
Just as all the benefits of being converted to Christ are endlessly wonderful and beneficial, so the antithesis is true. Being outside of Jesus’ love and forgiveness means you’re an orphan. Lost. Worn out. Destitute. Hopeless. Helpless. Independent. Alone. Fearful. Guilty. Shameful. Prideful. Arrogant. Grievous. Disobedient. Dishonorable. Confused. Spiritually dead. An enemy of God.
So what about you?
After all this, I think I’ve answered my own question. What difference does Jesus make? All the difference in the world.
What about you? Is this new information for you? Are you weary of trying to handle the heavy load of life and its pain all by yourself? Take heart, my friend. You were NEVER created by God to carry the burden alone. Please call me and let’s talk about how to turn your life over to the One who wants to show you the Kingdom of God.