In another thread Tomassi said in part, “I get that the common Christian tact is to say an honest prayer of forgiveness and make a transformation, but how many men say the magic words and still find themselves stuck because church culture still keeps him deliberately blind…”
Yep, I sure hear that truth. I have been hearing it for a long time, some version or variation of that theme, and it like a punch in the gut every time. I cannot think of anything more appalling, more tragic, more heartbreaking than to answer an alter (altar) call or accept Jesus Christ into your heart and…..it feels as if nothing changes. Feels as if.
On the other hand, close encounters of the God-kind in my life have usually been followed by things getting considerably worse. Downright horrifying actually. All in good humor here but CS Lewis said it best, “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”
Comfortable? Not even close, way, way out of my comfort zone.
First off, repentance is simply metanoia, it means to change your mind. Turn your face to the Light. We open the door to our heart and let Jesus Christ in, so He can begin the process of metanoia. It is a process. Something supernatural really does begin to happen, I’ve seen it, I’ve born witness to it. Accepting Jesus Christ transforms lives. But accepting Him is only the beginning of a relationship.
It is not like waving a magic wand or like Santa Claus arriving, although it can certainly feel very profound and supernatural. It can rock your whole world. Or, you can not “feel” anything at all. Or worse, like me, you are suddenly like fresh meat for the enemy and the war for your spirit is now on. Crab bait, that’s what I sometimes call myself.
There’s a cartoon floating around with Jesus trying to get into a church and the entire congregation is pushing the door shut and saying, “Don’t let Him in, He’ll change everything!” That is often how we are as individuals, inviting Jesus Christ in and then slamming the door when He begins to do work within us. Jesus Christ is such a gentleman, He often allows us to do just that, to shut Him out of the parts that we aren’t ready to let go of yet. Not always, but often. He is like a delicate surgeon with our souls, our psyches, gentle and kind. He can just whack you over the head and wake you up, but He doesn’t do that very often. Most of the time He waits patiently for us to invite Him in.
Tomassi says in part, “church culture still keeps him deliberately blind….”
Yes, I hear that too, guilty as charged. So, so many of us churchians don’t have a good discipleship program, we don’t know how to mentor people, we don’t even know how to come alongside those who have just come to Jesus Christ. I have felt that failure profoundly, someone will have a life altering, supernatural, close encounter of the God-kind and I am like, “So…. would you like some coffee?”
However, “churchian culture” can’t do it for anyone, even if we were perfect, which obviously we are not. In our defense, most of us are like survivors clinging to a life raft ourselves. Most churchians are just people with our own set of struggles and issues, our own relationships with Christ to build, our own metanoia going on.
I don’t serve “churcian culture,” and with all good gallows humor and ample battle wounds, I actually have references who would probably testify to that. The thing is, I serve Jesus Christ, I answer to Him.
I love church, I’ve been in dozens of them, but parking oneself in a church does not create a Christian. It really is a matter of the heart and it begins with metanoia, with turning to Jesus Christ on your own and building a relationship with Him.
We are all without excuse. Harsh but true. We can’t blame the culture, we can’t blame the church, and we can’t blame God. It is on you.