Ricky came by with the coffee pot and asked if I would like some more. “No thanks, I’m good,” I responded.
Ricky asked Stan and he nodded. “Interesting choice of words,” Stan said after Ricky poured him some coffee and left.
“In what way?” I responded.
“I used them a lot before I became serious about my relationship with God. I was a Christian, but looking back I can see clearly that I was what’s called a ‘nominal Christian’.”
“Yeah,” Stan replied. “I had accepted God’s free and gracious provision of life with Him eternally when my time here is done, but that was about all.”
Continuing, he added, “People would ask me if I wanted to attend a Bible study, be involved in a fellowship or prayer group, go to a church conference, things like that, and I would always respond, ‘No thanks, I’m good’.”
“You had no interest in moving beyond conversion, is that what you’re saying?”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “I thought I had all of the God-stuff I needed, definitely all that I wanted, and I wasn’t interested in any more.”
“Wow,” I said, “that’s quite a self-indictment.”
“Yeah,” Stan responded, “but it’s all true. It’s like I had my ticket to glory and I thought that was all I needed.”
“And it wasn’t?” I asked.
“All I needed to get into God’s eternal presence when I’m done here,” Stan replied, “but certainly not all God intended for me in being a disciple, working out the salvation that had been worked in by the finished work of the cross, and moving toward spiritual maturity.”
“Thankfully,” Stan said, “God wasn’t satisfied with where I was with Him and He opened my eyes to see that I shouldn’t be either.”
“How’d He do that?” I ask.
“Through the indwelling Holy Spirit,” Stan replied. “You know, He’s in us to help draw us closer to God, and that’s what He did. I can’t really describe exactly what happened, all I know is that gradually and with increasing intensity I wanted to know God. I wanted all He had and has for me.”
“Kind of like the Holy Spirit purposefully made you dissatisfied with where you were in your knowledge of and relationship with Jesus and God the Father. Is that it?”
“Good way to put it,” Stan replied. “That’s like how Jesus described the eternal life of knowing Him and His Father after I had been granted God’s provision for life eternally with Him when my time here is done.”
Bible verses to consider:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16.
And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3.
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever, that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for providing the way to you for eternal purposes and on this side of eternity. Thank you for those who bought me to the truth so I could accept it. Thank you, too, for wanting an ever-deepening personal relationship with me while I wait for the train. I confess that way too often I do not pursue the relationship you want and have for me. I do that because I prefer to do what I want to do apart from you. Please forgive the foolishness of that approach to working out the salvation you worked in through the cross of Christ. Please help me in following every step of your lead into the deepest possible personal relationship with you so I seek and claim all you have for me. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious provision of life with Him eternally when your time here is completed? If no, why? If you do have the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing in moving beyond conversion to transformation, sanctification, and greater Christian maturity? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense that your, “No, I’m good,” is less than what God has for you and you want to change, how are you going to do that?