Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

You Can't Change; No, You Can't (Part 4)

[Re: The video in Part 1.]

One reason that Sen. Obama evokes the type of enthusiasm depicted by the video in the link above is that, in contrast to our current President, Obama is genuinely a great public speaker. To move people to action with words is a great talent. Many of you reading this post would probably like to see improvement in your own skill in speech-making or in positive persuasion in private conversation.

When we think of our own speech in general, we see that there is much that we regret: not only in terms of skill, but also in terms of content. We have all spoken words of complaint when we should have focused on speaking words of thanksgiving. We have all spoken to others out of personal anger or frustration when we should have spoken words aimed at encouraging others to improve. We have all spoken to people in such a way to have our own desires met when we should have spoken for the the benefit of those we love. We have all spoken in pride rather than humility.

Sometimes when we make such errors in our speech, we catch ourselves and say, "I didn't really mean that!" But if we are honest, in the moment that we speak we do mean what we say- as Jesus said of Man, "Out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45 NIV). The "errors" in our speech mentioned above are really sins- sins against God and against others- and these sins point to the condition of our heart. Naturally in this world each heart- the seat of our desires- is corrupted, and we need our heart to be changed. Speaking of the physical body, when one needs a new heart, he or she comes to be under the mercy of others: even with all the advances of medical technology, we will never read of a doctor performing heart replacement surgery on himself. Spiritually, we, who in our natural state constantly desire things against God's Law, cannot change our own hearts. We need a new heart from God.

Speaking of the ministry of Jesus, the prophet Ezekiel said, "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God" (Ezekiel 11:19-20 NIV). Our sins, mentioned above, earned God's condemnation. Jesus died as a payment for these sins, taking God's condemnation upon Himself on the Cross. Jesus rose from the grave, demonstrating that He has conquered sin and death, and He is now seated at the right hand of God. Jesus will grant a new heart to His people- a people who will turn from their sins and trust in Him. We cannot do this for ourselves; we cannot make this most fundamental change that we need. We need a Savior; we need Jesus. I urge you, dear reader, to call out to Jesus today for His mercy.

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