How did you come to Christ? Did someone tell you to repent and believe? From the very first sermon on the day of Pentecost, repentance was central to the apostles’ message and teaching. I came to Christ during a time in the early 1970s when many young people were giving their lives to Jesus. They came with lots of baggage...and I happened to be one of those with lots of baggage! And believe me, I had plenty of things to repent of, but that wasn't my first thought. However, when I recently read this Old Testament passage, I identified with it so much, I knew I had to share it. Let's listen to the passage:
All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the Wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord. (Exodus 17:1)
The "Wilderness of Sin," referred to in this passage, is an area between Elim, a place of wells and date palms where Israel camped, and Mount Sinai. Sin in this context, does not refer to morality; but to a wilderness area with a similar name but different spelling. Let's listen to the passage again: "All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the Wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord." When I came to Christ in 1971, I didn’t know that I had to repent. In that moment, I just knew that I had to follow Jesus from then on and that I would never be the same. All along the way, the Holy Spirit began to help me to see the various things I needed to leave behind. One of those things was smoking cigarettes. I knew it was harmful for me and I had tried to quit on many occasions without success. One night, I was sitting outside praying when I heard these words in my head: "Dave, if you want to go further with Me, you're going to have to quit smoking." To be clear, I'm not saying that to quit smoking is God's word for anyone else; I'm just saying that's what happened to me. From that moment however, I never smoked cigarettes again. God supernaturally delivered me from that addiction. Over the years, God has addressed other areas in my life that He wanted me to leave behind and I'm sure there will be more along the way. My journey with Jesus has included leaving the wilderness of sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord. How about you today? Has God been nudging you to leave a few things behind in the wilderness of sin, like he did with me?
If so, ask Him to help you do it. God is faithful and if He tells you to do it, you may be certain that He will help you do it. His powerful, loving, and relentless grace is sufficient to save you and to help you...and that's very Good News!