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Just some questions......

These are a few questions that have been stirring in my mind for several months.

1.Can one actually receive Christ and not live for Him until years later?
2.Can the Holy Spirit dwell in someone for 5, 10, 15 years and it not change a person?
3.What does it mean when someone says "I have been saved for many years, but NOW I'm ready to get serious about my faith?" or "get serious with God"

Many people state a similar tale.... Raised in Christian home, saved at an early age, lived like a "normal" teen, experimented in college, got married and had some kids, and NOW I want to get real with God. This concept is somewhat disturbing to me. It is disturbing because that is how I was living my life for so long.
Have you ever made a profession of faith? If you have look at your life 5 years after that moment..... are you 5 years more worldly? or 5 years more Christ like? do the same thing for 10 years? 15 years? And so on...
God starts working on or molding His children the moment they become saved. I made a profession of faith when I was 7 years old. At the age of 17 I should have had 10 years of evidence of shedding the world and 10 years of putting on Christ. Well, I was not that at all. I was 10 years more like the world. I looked, talked, and thought worldly. To me that just proves that I was lacking something or I should say someONE and that was Jesus.
But the good news is that God broke my stony heart with His word and I was saved by grace!


B Lines said…
This is my humble opinion and everyone has one, so that doesn't mean it's right or wrong. I believe each of us has to answer your question for themself. Personally, I was saved at 14. I have no doubt, as I vividly recall asking Christ to save me. The following years were not what they should have been or could have been. I needed direction and didn't really get any. The Holy Spirit indwells you the moment you are saved, but if you don't know how to listen for Him, you can go through a time when you are confused, experimenting, uncertain and just floundering your way through. Until you have someone to help you understand, are in a church that 'feeds' you, you may have a period of seeming to be out of sinc with God. I don't believe that means you are lost, I believe it means someone in the faith is not doing their job to mentor a new believer. Does any of that make sense?
Chelle said…
I agree with you, B Lines. Being saved means that you have believed in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus as the payment for your sin. I believe it is fully possible to accept that and confess that any age, regardless of what you may or may not do in the future. Now, I was saved at age 7. I knew that Jesus died for my sins, and I felt the Holy Spirit reveal to me that I had not been saved, and I realized that I needed to be. After praying for forgiveness I felt the purest joy in my heart. So, “accepting” Jesus as your Savior is the first and most important step. “Living” for Jesus is a life-long learning process. At age 7, the weight of sin in your life is different than it is at age 17, 27, etc., etc. You are not tempted with the same kinds of sins as a child as you are when you are grown. So, just because you may grow up to commit certain sins, or realize that you haven’t been serious about serving Him, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you were never saved at all. And, in God’s eyes all acts of sin are equal. So, it’s hard to say that any one sin could discredit your salvation experience. Look at David. He was described as a man after God’s own heart before he committed adultery. Then, look at what he did. He committed murder to hide his adultery, and the list goes on. But…he found forgiveness in the Lord. I don’t think that he wasn’t saved when he did those things. He just stumbled. We all stumble. I don’t think I’ve ever known any one person who continually does right by the Lord day in and day out, without faltering. Boy, I wish we could all do that! And, here’s another thought: God knows your heart. At the moment a person professes their faith in Him, He already knows how their Christian walk will play out. He knows if they will start putting Him first right away, if they will backslide and re-dedicate their life at some point in the future, or if they will take a while to get going in His work for their lives. Would he look at me at age 7 and say, “Well, you will do this______when you are 23, and you won’t be serious about following me during this part of your life, so I’m not going to save you now.” No!

All of this being said, I just want to end on this note: Praise God for His sacrifice, and for His willingness to save children and grown-ups alike, and for allowing a place such as our blogs to discuss these issues that trouble us. Edify one another!!!! Hope this helped, Linda.
Jeff said…
I tend to agree with the previous two commenters. The New Testament is full of instruction regarding those who are not living at the moment for Christ.

It's indeed possible to give your life to Christ and then to be deceived or fall into sin and not experience growth for years. However, it's obviously not optimal.

In fact, the clear expectation of the scriptures is that a person who has been born again will proceed on toward maturity in Christ.

The difference is the result of sin, Satan and a fallen world.

The Holy Spirit will not change an unwilling heart. We must submit to Him. The amazing grace of God is evidenced in our lives by His unwillingness to leave us during our times of sin - whether brief or prolonged. We remain firmly His because of the astounding sufficiency of His sacrifice.

However, I DO believe strongly that there are many people are more "Christianized" than actual Christ-followers. These are folks who are attempting to live the Christian life apart from being born again.

These folks look like passionate Christ followers at times, showing up in all the right places and saying all the right things, but they are living the Christian moral code and not a life of faith and humility and trust in Christ for their righteousness.

Whew... I may have to followup on this as a blog entry of my own.

Great post!!! Thanks for making us all think deeply.
Linda said…
WOW! Thanks guys for the comments. Good stuff! Gets my heart rate up a bit. (in a good way) I understand that God can save anyone at anytime. Age has nothing to do with it. I still believe that if and when that happens the evidence will be there. Perfect life? Absolutely not. But I dont think a child of God will habitually sin. (1 John 3)
Will God not take his child home if they do?
Thanks again guys! I love these discussions.
B Lines said…
I agree that a saved person will not intentionally (habitually) sin if he is in God's will, but it is inevitable that we will sin because we aren't perfect. If we were, why would we even need Jesus after our salvation experience? We all go through periods of spiritual drought. Some longer than others.
I also agree with Jeff that some of us THINK we had a saving experience but in truth didn't. We often discuss in our Sunday School class that we "play church." That is something only the person involved and God can determine.

Great discussion!
LeLe said…
Great comments, everyone! I must say that I do think discipleship is a big part of how we grow as born again believers. If we don't have mentors or someone to look up to or someone to be accountable to, it's very difficult to grow and understand the "personal" in our personal relationship with Jesus. Just my two cents worth. We may have the head knowledge, but we have to learn to move it to the heart and put it into action. That's where a lot of people get stuck...
Chelle said…
Jeff, this comment of yours rocks: "We remain firmly His because of the astounding sufficiency of His sacrifice."

I might use that on my own blog...I'll reference it with "---Jeff..." just to give you props! haha
Chelle said…
Oh, and I'm in agreement that a child of God will not want to intentionally and habitually sin. I also agree that there will be some evidence of Christ in your life. But, that evidence is more apparent during a spiritual high than it is during a spiritual low, or win you give into temptations...kinda like Jeff said about the devil and the fallen world making up the difference. That's JMO. This was a great discussion.
Les said…
Wow, did I show up the party late! I agree with many of the points made during this discussion. I became a Christian when I was about 11 years old. It was on a Wednesday night and I had made the decision to give my life to Christ on the way to church. It was torturous waiting for church services to end so that I could run up to the preacher during the invitation song so that I could repent, confess, and be baptized; I couldn't wait. I was so excited and relieved. I believe I lived as good a Christian life as one could live as an young adolescent child, but things definitely got harder as I became a young adult. As you become more emotionally mature, the temptations seem to mount. I'm proud to say that I resisted many of those temptations, but I'm equally remorseful to say that I didn't resist others. Throughout those rough times though, I never lost my faith. I always genuinely repented of my sins and was determined to try to never commit those sins again. Thankfully, the Lord excels at making the best out of a bad situation. I will forever be thankful and treasure those lessons that He taught during those rough times.

My point of this ridiculously long comment is that I believe the Bible teaches us that even as Christians we'll never be able to live a perfect life. However, during our times of struggle when our Christian life isn't what it should be, God knows just how teach you to lean more on Him, trust more in Him, and follow Him better.
Linda said…
Les, you were always late. (JK)

Can you all do me a favor? I believe most of you have my email address if not get it from Lele. Can you send me some scripture regarding children of God living in sin? You can just send me the book and chapter. If you include the verse I will end up reading the whole chapter anyway, because context is VERY important. I know zilch (sp) about the Bible. Its strange, but true. I have been studying it and I am amazed by the things I have found. So, if any of you have the time please send that to my email address or if you want you can post it here. Its just whatever you want. Thanks and I really appreciate the comments. ><>
LeLe said…
Linda, I thought I'd post on here just for starters in case anyone else was curious. This is just off the top of my head, but the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Jesus used parables to explain the Kingdom to the regular Joes. This is just my interpretation, but I believe it is applicable to both non-believers and those who have "strayed" for a time. The whole story is in Luke 15:11-32 (I'm using ESV). The reason I believe it applies to Christians who have strayed is in verse 27: "And he said to him, 'Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.'[bolding mine]" I'll look for some more verses and email them to you.
dean said…
thought i'd weigh in here a day late and a dollar short...

i struggled with this question for quite a long time. i was raised catholic and stayed there until i was in my late teens.

at 20 i had what i then considered to be a conversion experience, mainly out of a desperate situation wherein i told God that i'd made a mess of my life and i could no longer live it trying to do it my way. and for a while i did make some changes and did my best to live a better life. lacking any type of discipleship or accountability system, that all fell by the wayside.

at age 30, i called myself rededicating my life to Christ, but in the last couple of years as i've made a brutally honest reassessment of those events, i've come to the realization that i was actually saved at 30. whatever i thought had happened when i was 20, there was no evidence of Jesus living in me in the way i conducted my life for the next 10 years. in fact i know some of the things i'd done after i supposedly got saved at 20 were far more vile than the things i was doing before that time.

not saying i was or wasnt saved because of my works, but the lack of works was evidence that i was NOT saved.

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Fireproof my marriage, my thoughts, my actions, my faith, my soul, my eternity!

Linda, the kids, and I all went to see the movie Fireproof last night. If you need a cliff notes, you can read or re-read my previous post "I saw the light".

Needless to say (if you've been reading) the movie hit real close to home. I can honestly say the movie has some great truths in it! It is a wonderful movie! I would encourage anyone to go see it. If you are married, please go with your spouse to see the movie even if you have to drag them! The movie deals with some REAL LIFE issues. I praise the Lord for being able to go such a wonderful movie in a day and time that needs so much of the content that was packed into it.

I pray that you have the opportunity to go see it and you are blessed by it. I know the film is full of truth because I've lived it.

Thank you Lord for your many blessings!

God Bless,