Is The Conversion Experience Real?
The sad part is, I believe there are hundreds of thousands if
not millions of Christians, of all races, in this country and
abroad, who claim Christ but who do not actually know Him.
Worse, I know many “Christians” who do not believe Him, who do
not trust His words as recorded and who do not have a thriving
relationship with him.
As a pastor, I only have the authority over your life that you grant me. I can’t come over and hold a gun to your head and demand you take my advice or do as I say. You give your pastor authority when you submit yourself to his leadership and guidance. So it is with God. God does not force Himself on anybody [Rev 3:20]. God only has the authority in your life that you yourself grant Him. The more of yourself you have out front, the less God can work in you. And vice versa: it’s not hard to recognize God at work in someone’s life versus Church Folk. Mean, nasty, competitive, selfish, vain, trifling, materialistic Church Folk. The Spirit of God is not at work in these people, in their lives or their homes. Regardless of how pious these people are, of what committee they’re the head of or whose cousin they are, These People Are Not Christians. They’re Church Folk. They are a deceived people, living a lie, and doing great damage to the cause of Christ because, for too many uncharted, it is these folk who symbolize Christianity, these horrible people who behave nothing at all like Jesus Christ. They will be judged for this. Not only for their own self-deception, but for the blood on their hands for all those their despicable example have turned away from God.
Is the born-again experience real? It is for me. It is so real, I can’t imagine why people choose to live in bondage, in darkness. I cannot stand being around Church Folk; their counterfeit witness offends me. However, it is also possible I came to know the Lord in simpler times, in the 1970’s, when there were three TV channels and radio had actual standards. These days, most of us submit to an almost 24/7 steady stream of digital brainwashing, the TV on all the time, going straight to the satellite radio in the car, and to live streaming on the internet at work or at school. “Smart” phones jammed into our pockets with wave after wave of entertainment. Young people in particular usually have some form of entertainment blaring at all times. Most of this stuff is simply demonic. Galatians 5 provides two lists of attributes. Compare that list—the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit—to the garbage streaming, night and day, into your life. Which list suits it best? :”Oh, but I listen to Gospel, pastor.” Gospel entertainment is some of the most wretched and demonic mess out there, much of it produced by people who’ve lost their souls, who are caught up in the “star” system of Gospel music.
To have an actual relationship with Christ, you need quiet. You need meditation, reflection, study. Not the narcissistic indulgence of Gospel “stars” or, worse, the secular stuff. Some of us stream so much secular crap that the secular or “worldly” life perspective comes to seem normal and acceptable, and we begin to view principles of Holiness as extreme. This is how deception works: you flood your life, your ears and eyes, with The Lie to the point where The Lie seems normal and Truth seems extreme. And, Sunday, you lift up “Holy” hands and claim to be a Christian.
I’ve said, to anyone who will listen, if you’re serious about being a Christian, you have to make a sacrifice. You have to pick up your cross and follow Christ [Luke 9:23]. You have to turn that mess off—that demonic media from your TV and PC. You need to find some quiet meditation in your life and seek God’s face. Your children, in particular, are so brainwashed by what they perceive as “normal,” that cancelling cable will likely send them into convulsions. They will assume you’ve gone nuts and rebel against you. You have paid for a steady stream of depravity and filth to be beamed into their bedrooms, day and night, for years. Now you suddenly want to be legit with God?
If God does not reign in your home, You Are Not A Christian. If you are tolerating, allowing, paying for cussing and lewd acts to be displayed for your children, You Are Not A Christian. You are wasting your time. Kidding yourself. You are a class A phony and your kids know it. Had I a son, and I saw him texting during morning worship, I’d cancel his cell phone service. I’d never allow my children to watch TV before they learned to read. I would never, ever, surrender my child to this world as most of you have, only to come whining to your pastor about your teenager being out of control. You did this. You paid for it. Why? Because You Are Not A Christian. You are Church Folk, lost in self-deception.
Doubt: It's all part of having faith.
Preaching (Literally) To The Choir
I can only imagine how we could change the nation, if not the
planet, if we could somehow convert Church Folk into Christians.
I am routinely chastised for railing against Church Folk, here,
my fellow ministers saying Church Folk have made their choice,
don’t waste time complaining about them. I disagree: for many if
not most Church Folk, this is all they know, all they’ve ever
known. Jesus said He came to seek and save those who are lost.
[Luke 19:10] Church Folk are lost. Somebody needs to preach to
them. For, if we could convert Church Folk into actual
Christians, we could change the world.
The born-again experience is real. But it is powered by faith. Faith is a lot like riding a bicycle. Intellect fights with your instinct when you're trying to learn to ride a two-wheeler for the first time. The notion of balance is more visceral than intellectual, as intellect tells us without some counterbalance to the two-wheels (such as training wheels), we're likely to pitch over. And, if we pitch over, the concrete will be hard. Similarly, I can't teach anybody how to have faith. You just try. And you pitch over and bust your head on the concrete. But you dust yourself off and you keep looking, you keep trying.
To know God, you truly have to want to know Him bad enough to risk looking foolish. Foolish enough to follow Him, not in name only, not just on Sunday, but to give up everything you have, everything you are, to embrace a standard that pleases God. The bible calls that standard Holiness, and says without it, we can never please God. In and of ourselves, we can never be holy—not on our own. This is why we need Jesus, Who fills in the gaps or “justifies” us, making up for our shortcomings and human failings that we might know God and be deemed righteous in His eyes. Achieving this requires something much harder than all that faking and shaking and wig-tossing. It requires you to put your faith into action, in your life, in your home.
The born-again experience is only as real as you make it.
Christopher J. Priest
6 May 2012
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Related: How To Be Sure You Are Born Again