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Miranda Writes: Spiritual Physical, Part 5




by Omar Miranda



Welcome back. We’ve been spending the past several weeks talking about the importance of making sure that we live our lives totally surrendered to the lordship of Jesus Christ. As Christians we are excited that Jesus died to give us salvation, but many times as we continue in our relationship with Him, we can become complacent and lazy and forget that Jesus is not only our Savior but our Lord as well.

Our time together discussing this important subject is almost done. This is the second-to-last week we’ll be talking about this. This week we’ll be looking at what the apostle Paul has to say about our salvation experience and why it doesn’t make sense for us to continue responding to the world the way we used to. We’ll also look at what the apostle John and—most important—Jesus Christ Himself tell us about being a true Christian and passing the spiritual physical.

The apostle Paul—who used to be a serious sinner, psycho, and murderer—wrote to the Christians in Corinth: “Anyone who belongs to Christ s a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).* Have you ever seen a butterfly chewing on leaves? Of course not! Why? Because butterflies don’t eat leaves; they slurp on flower nectar. They’re no longer caterpillars. When they were caterpillars, they dug leaves; they were also slow, fat, earthbound creatures, but now they are sleek, beautiful, heaven-bound butterflies! Butterflies don’t eat the same stuff, they don’t like the same stuff, they don’t even look the same—they’re totally different creatures!

When you became a Christian, everything about you changed! Everything is new! You’re not the same person you used to be. Let me put it another way: you don’t have to be the same person you used to be. Here’s the real question: Can people tell that you’re a Christian? I’m not talking about people you know; I’m talking about people you don’t know. I mean, do you like the same sinful stuff you used to like before you were a Christian? Do you think the same, act the same, talk the same, watch the same stuff, listen to the same music, and dress the same (I’m talking about sinful, worldly things here)? I hope not. If you do, then the Bible says that if you’re consistently acting like a non-Christian, then you’re not a Christian! I know it’s pretty harsh, but it’s true.

The apostle John in 1 John 2:15—again writing about love—writes: “Don’t love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you cannot love the Father.” We can’t love both God and the world (the stuff that is opposed to God and His ways). We have to make a choice. Choosing to accept God is an either-or proposition. Either you choose God or you choose the world; you can’t choose both. Do you love God more, or do you love the world more? Would your friends and family agree with you? If you love the world more, what steps do you need to take to make a change toward God?

The apostle John wrote to Christians in the book of Revelation. He had been purposely marooned on the island of Patmos by the enemies of the early church. In the beginning of the book, John writes to seven different churches. Let’s look at one of the churches called Laodicea and see what we can learn from it. The letter is found in Revelation 3:14-22. Jesus Christ is telling John what to write on His behalf: “I am the one called Amen! I am the faithful and true witness and the source of God’s creation. Listen to what I say. I know everything you have done, and you are not cold or hot. I wish you were either one or the other. But since you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth. You claim to be rich and successful and to have everything you need. But you don’t know how bad off you are. You are pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. Buy your gold from me. It has been refined in a fire, and it will make you rich. Buy white clothes from me. Wear them and you can cover up your shameful nakedness. Buy medicine for your eyes, so that you will be able to see. I correct and punish everyone I love. So make up your minds to turn away from your sins. Listen! I am standing and knocking at your door. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and we will eat together. Everyone who wins the victory will sit with me on my throne, just as I won the victory and sat with my Father on his throne. If you have ears, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.”

God wants us to be either for Him or against Him. That’s right, God knows your every thought. Listen, if you don’t want to worship Him, go on! Leave Him alone! Don’t ride the fence and be indecisive. When you do, it makes Him sick! Jesus would rather you choose to be either super on-fire and excited for Him or totally cold and dead inside not wanting anything to do with Him. I know, it’s a harsh statement, isn’t it? But people holding the hand of Jesus with one hand and the hand of the devil with the other are absolutely some of the most miserable people in the world—second only to people who are bitter and unforgiving. (Trust me, I used to be both!) And the truth is that they make other people miserable—both Christians and non-Christians! No one wants to be like them, no one wants to be around them. They are unhappy people who lack excitement and spiritual power to do anything spiritually worthwhile for God, themselves, or others. They’re absolutely spiritually worthless!

Sadly, we can think we’re rich with all the world has to offer, but we don’t realize that if we haven’t got God, then we haven’t got anything, because, really, it’ll all burn up! The only thing that’s permanent is God and our relationship with Him. If you need to make a change in your life, do it today—do it now! Don’t wait another minute.

Jesus goes on to describe the kind of relationship we should have with Him and with the world. Again, it’s an either-or proposition. He says in Matthew 7:13, 14: “Go in through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow. A lot of people go through that gate. But the gate to life is very narrow. The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it.” We have read and heard this passage so many times, but we tend to overlook the fact that not only is the gate narrow, but the road is narrow as well. You can’t call yourself a Christian and live any way that you like. Remember, the old you is dead and your body is not your own, so honor God with the choices you make in life! Which gate and road are you taking? The easy, wide one or the small, narrow one? If you’re on the wrong road, remember, God accepts U-turns, but that means that you’ve got to ask Him for forgiveness and turn—aka repent—from doing those things, saying those things, thinking those things, watching those things, and do something different. Tell Him you’re sorry for crucifying Him all over again and ask Him to give you both the motivation and the power to do the things that make Him happy. I promise—you can have peace with Him today . . . right now. Don’t wait another second!

Next week we’ll finish up our time together talking about this crucial subject. We’ll discuss how a Christian can live as an enemy of the cross of Christ. We’ll also take a look at the fact that Jesus wants young people to be example-setters for Him, showing others how to live like real Christians in every area of their lives.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

*Scripture quotations in this article are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes





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