Should Versus Want

A few days ago a friend of mine named Ricky approached me and shared about what God had done in his life.  It seems that Ricky had entered into a true relationship with God through Jesus Christ over the past year or so.  He experienced true salvation and a change had taken place in his life. This was very encouraging news to me.  As Ricky continued sharing, one thing that he said really stood out in my mind and that is the subject of today’s column.

Ricky told me that many years ago when he was young, he had “accepted Christ” and made a profession of faith. But that profession of faith had not really brought a change in his life. Many folks do that here in Dodge County. They “walk the aisle” and come forward at the altar call when they are young and then are baptized and become part of a church. Yet, often there is no evidence or fruit of real salvation.  Anyway, Ricky made that early profession of faith but it was only an outward profession not really an inward profession.  There was an outward action but no inward change.

Hence Ricky began a life of “should Christianity.”  He would go to church, because well you should go to church. He would sit through the church service, but his mind would be far from what was taking place. Ricky would go through some of the other motions of Christianity because that is what you “should do.”   The “should christian” follows the outward acts of Christianity even though his heart is actually far from God. There are a lot of “should christians” in the “Bible belt” where Christianity is part of the culture. Folks, “should christians” are not true believers because their hearts have never really been renewed.

Things changed, though, in Ricky’s life when he experienced true salvation. Now that Ricky is truly saved, he no longer does things because he should do them; he does them because he wants to do them. Ricky now goes to church because he wants to go to church; not because he should go to church. He now reads the Bible because he wants to read it; not because he should read it. Ricky has moved from being a “should christian” to being a true Christian.  He has become a new creation in Christ Jesus. He has been given a new heart and new desires.

We read the following in Psalm 119:16 – “I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your Word.”  Friends, that is the heart of a person who has a true relationship with God. The true believer delights in the decrees of God; the Word of God. The true Christian delights in going to church and fellowshipping with God’s people. The true Christian has an inward longing for the things of God. The true believer follows God because he wants to do that. God is the delight and joy of the true believer. It is not just an outward action; it is an inward change and desire.

When I got saved many years ago nobody had to tell me that I should go to church. I automatically wanted to go to church. In fact, I would attend any Christian meeting that I heard about. I longed for God and thirsted to know more about Him. God had changed me on the inside. Such is what happens with every true Christian.

So Manna readers, how about you? Are you just a “should christian?”  Or have you become a new creation in Christ Jesus and now delight in the things of God? Examine your lives closely. Amen!

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