1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
What a challenge the Bible presents to the believer, to be like Christ. That was certainly part of the reluctance I had back in 1989 “to ask the Lord into my heart”. I had little idea of what that meant, but I did know it would involve changes in my life and lifestyle that were diametrically opposed to my [sinful] personal desires. So in March of that year, when I finally accepted that there was a God, and Heaven and Hell were real (a process that took years of research and resistance), I still refused to ask Him into my life. How fearful, how stubborn I was (we are), even in the face of the acknowledgement of eternal damnation, to turn from sin to Christ. What does that say about the hardness of our own hearts and Satan’s influence, that we would trade freedom in sin for a few fleeting moments on this earth, over everlasting freedom in Christ! Even if we were not totally sure (in March of 1989 I was totally sure), it was all real. Even if maybe we could be good enough to enter Heaven on our own works. To take that chance, to roll the dice on our eternal state, how truly crazy are we? And, in retrospect, how much of a sacrifice does following Christ really put on us when we place our burdens on His shoulders, when we have the Holy Spirit leading us through life, when we have the peace which transcends all understanding on this earth and recognize that we are already (even before we get there) citizens of another place of eternal joy?
It took me a month… I had to “get some stuff at work done”. I had to clean up some things in my life…. not sins, but just stuff….before I “accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior”. Boy, if He just wanted to be my Savior, things could have gone much faster, but the Lord part… it took a month of believing it (the Bible) was all true, before I took a trip to Bond park in Cary, walked up on a hill, got down on my knees and asked the God of the universe, Who loved me with an everlasting love from eternity past to eternity future, to come into my heart and save my soul.
A month….. how crazy is that!