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Question

I am struggling with my faith. I would like to turn away from my past and live a godly life. I read my bible for couple of days then I stop. I will like to put Jesus first in my life and make him my Lord and Saviour but how do I do that?

Answer

Thank you for your honest question, it is a great joy to have this opportunity to help you along in your journey of faith. The questions you ask are obviously some of the most important you will ever consider, and so I pray that this short answer will go some way to helping you discover the truth for yourself.

Firstly, let me try and summarise a little of the place in which you find yourself. You appear to have a real desire to know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, and you long for Him to be first in your life, but you don’t quite understand how to make this real. You also have a desire to live the changed life that Jesus would call you to live, but you are struggling with it, and can’t seem to find the consistency you desire. Let me first tell you that, if this is genuinely the place you are in, then it is a great place to be in - to be genuinely seeking for truth - but let me try to help you find some clarity in both of these areas.

Firstly, with regard to Jesus being your Lord, the impression I get from your question is that you are trying to make Jesus your Lord and Saviour, and are trying to put Him first in your life, when in reality this isn’t something you try and do, it’s something you simply make a decision over once for all.

There isn’t anything you can do to make yourself a Christian, the Bible says it’s something that God does for us, and He does it in response to simple faith.

I’m sure you’ve had the message of the Gospel explained to you already, but just to be clear let’s remind ourselves. The Bible says that every human being in the world is sinful (Romans 3:23) - we have all fallen short of the standard that God set for us and we sin in thought, word and deed. The Bible says that the consequence of this is that we are spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1), separated from God (Colossians 1:21), and worthy of His just punishment which is eternal death - separated from Him in hell for ever (Romans 6:23).

This is the bad news, but Romans 6:23 goes on to give us some incredible news - what we deserve (the wages) for our sin is death, but…

‘the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 6:23)

God doesn’t say to us that we deserve death: He says there’s something that can be done about our sin, but all it entails is us accepting the free gift that He is offering out to us - a free gift that He Himself has bought for us. You see, as Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God died on a Roman cross 2000 years ago, He was making a way that we could be given this gift of eternal life. Jesus took the punishment that we deserve in our place so that we could be forgiven, and therefore be reconciled to God as His friends. Though Jesus was innocent of any sin, He died as if He had committed every sin that you and I have committed - His love led Him to pay the ultimate price so that we could go free.

So my friend, I’m guessing that you want this gift of eternal life, forgiveness for all your sins, and friendship with God - let me tell you that God only requires two things from you, both found in Acts 20:21:

  • 1. Repentance - this simply means to turn away from your sin, recognising the wickedness you have committed with a desire to no longer live this way. To repent doesn’t mean to have changed your life, it just means a change of direction. We in no way have to clean up our lives before we come to Jesus, He accepts us as we are. If we truly repent then the change will come in time, but it doesn’t happen instantly - what God wants for us is for us to change direction and to simply take the first step on a new road with Him.
  • 2. Faith - to have faith in something means firstly to believe that it’s true, but it’s more than that - it means to commit your life to that truth, and to trust it with everything you have. It doesn’t just mean a head knowledge of all that we’ve talked about above, but it means a real commitment to the truth that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He is the only one who can truly give us life. Faith in Jesus Christ means that you turn to Him with the intention that you will never turn aside from following after Him and clinging onto Him for the salvation that you so desperately need.

As you read through these two things you should recognise something: both these responses to what God has done for you in Jesus are responses that you can make right now, wherever you are as you are reading through this answer.

All it takes is a simple prayer telling God exactly where you’re at - that you do turn away from your sin, that you do commit to living a better life, and that you do believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who paid the price for you to go free. Don’t just tell God that you want to do those things, or are trying to do these things - if you are convinced of the truth of all that we’ve said, then turn to Him right now and just trust Him.

The Bible tells us that the moment we do this a great change is worked in us. The Bible calls it being ‘born again’ (John 3:3) - God changes us on the inside, giving us spiritual life, and adopting us into His family. Once this change has truly taken place, nothing can take us away from Him, we belong to Him for all eternity (John 10:28). If you’ve done these things right now, or recognise you have done them in the past, that is fantastic - welcome to the family - based on that simple testimony of your faith, you can be sure that you belong to God, and can see all of life now from a new perspective. You are now ready to tackle the second part of your question which is entirely dependent on the change that God does inside those who trust Him.

You have said in your question that you are trying to stop sinning, and trying to read your Bible but finding it really hard. First let me say that is quite normal - when a person becomes a Christian they don’t automatically become some kind of super-Christian. God can sometimes do amazing things for people when they are converted, setting them free immediately from all kinds of junk from their past, but that doesn’t happen for everyone all the time, and even for people God does that for, there is still a process of growth into being a mature and stable follower of Jesus. The disciplines of prayer, Bible study, fellowship with other Christians, and service in the church are all part of this. It also takes commitment and perseverance to see the change happen, so I’d urge you to never give up in your pursuit of holiness, but there is also a key truth that relates to this which is found in Romans chapter 6, and I want to draw your attention to it now - take a look at these words:

‘Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.’ (Romans 6:3-11)

These verses are giving us some life-changing truth to cling to. Paul is teaching the church in Rome that once they have become a believer in Christ the old person they were before has died with Him on the cross, and they have been given new life, but not just any new life - a new life that is now free from sin. The shackles that were once all around us binding us to our sin have gone, and we are free to walk away into the holy life God has called us to. Does it take time for us to grow into that freedom? Yes it does, but that doesn’t make the freedom any less real, and Paul is telling us here that one of the biggest battles we must win is to simply believe that this is true. Look at the last verse above - Paul tells us to ‘consider’ ourselves ‘dead to sin’.

You see, if we don’t believe this truth, you can imagine what will happen - we’ll just become resigned to the fact that we sin, and will live in a cycle of defeat, but Paul wants us to know that the victory is ours if we’ll just keep walking in faith, trusting not what we can do against our sin, but trusting the work that God has done, and continues to do inside of us.

So my friend, the next time you find yourself struggling with sin, don’t just try harder to beat it yourself, but look up to Jesus, the One who has already freed you from all sin, and the One who is able to help you to stand under any temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). I am certain that over time the change God has made in the depth of your heart will begin to bear fruit, and you will look back in a few years time and not be able to recognise the person you once were.

As I close, let me urge you again to make sure of your standing before God as His child. Don’t try to do anything to ‘make’ Jesus your Lord and Saviour, simply turn to Him, and once you have done that you can know with certainty that, as the Scripture says ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ Then, as you try to live the life God has called you to, turn your eyes on Jesus, who is the Founder and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) trusting Him to take you right to the end of your race.

I also want to encourage you to take your questions to the leaders of a church that is local to you - I’m sure they would welcome the chance to help you with these issues. If you do not know of a local church near to you, then our church finder may well be able to help you to find one, and I encourage you to do so to help in your journey with God:

http://www.lookingforgod.com/churchfinder

Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix and feel free to ask another question. Our helpful staff are praying for you and waiting to try and answer to you from the Bible, and will be delighted to tell you more about Jesus Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world.

http://www.lookingforgod.com/your-questions

Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:

  • Ephesians 2:1-10
  • Romans 6-8
  • John 3:1-21

*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answers affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at http://www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline


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