Weekly Devotionals – 19th October 2020

Growing up in church, I invariably heard this story repeatedly: “I was born in a Christian home. I go to church, but mostly because my parents wanted me to.” Many young people choose to leave the church when they are capable of making their own decisions. For years, this was puzzling to me. I used to assume that youngsters leave the church because the churches that they go to are boring and dull. I thought that churches would do a better job of retaining young people if they were more relevant and exciting.
 
In retrospect, the real reason may have nothing to do with the church, but because those who leave the Christian faith have not found the path of eternal life in Jesus yet.
 
Many who leave or have left the faith have not encountered God in a life-transforming way. Yes, they experienced religion, community, bible teaching and the likes; but they did not encounter Jesus, the Saviour. I recall feeling bored and disinterested with the church as a young boy. I did not delight in the activities of the church. I would rather be elsewhere doing something else if I had the choice.
 
And then, one day, God opened my eyes to see the real path of life – the Gospel. Isn’t it peculiar that we can hear the Good News a thousand times, but nothing sticks in our hearts? When it finally does, it is amazing! How amazing it is that God would love sinful, wicked people like us; and even send His Son to die for our sins.
 
Our world and our lives change in an instant when the Holy Spirit touches us. A sense of awe for God follows. The splendour of His Name hits. The holiness of God quakes. And before you realise it, you are undone. A new path replaces your former way of life – a path of righteous living where your nature is changed, and your desires are renewed.
 
That is why the Psalmist says “You have made known to me the path of life.” This pathway is not the obvious road of ordinary living which most people pursue. It is a narrow way of true love and light. The Psalm continues, “In your presence there is fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” If more believers encounter the presence of God, they will find and experience deep abiding joy.
 
Many people have never experienced God because they would rather hold on to their current life. They do not want God to interrupt with what they have going on. They desire to hang on to their worldly desires. I want to warn us of the dangers of that. Jesus came to earth to rid us of that fleshly life.
 
Hebrews tells us that if we hear God’s voice, we must not harden our hearts. God wants to lead us to a better way. The very thing He lived and died for was to reserve for himself people of righteousness. It is incredibly dangerous to live carnal lives for it does not please God. We have to turn from our sin and place complete hope in Jesus. We are to give Jesus our full surrender and nothing less. 
 
Wherever you are, stop everything that you are doing for the next few moments and seek God. Plead for His mercy, ask for His forgiveness and seek His love. Pray and ask God for the visitation of the Holy Spirit, His abiding joy, and pray for Christ to reveal Himself to you. When you truly encounter the Holy One, a new way will be shown to you to follow. May we walk in this new life of Christ! Amen and amen.