I recently realized what it means that "Christ Saves". What it means to truly be a Christian.
I have always felt that it's not exactly about what Church you go to or what denomination you belong to. It's not exactly about whether or not you read the Bible or don't read the Bible. To some extent I have felt for a long time that it doesn't exactly have to do with whether or not you are a 'good' or 'bad' person either, because, the Bible and Christ say over and over that all it takes is belief in Christ, to truly be saved. We are all sinners- whether we are 'good' or 'bad' in this light then, is really irrelivant.
Going to Church and reading the Bible, calling yourself a Christian, doesn't make you a Christian. It's about something deeper, something more transformative.
Now I finally know that it's not, primarily, about any of these things.
I've heard so many times that it's about surrendering your will to Christ, and letting Him guide you. About submitting to Him.
And it is! I thought I got it, but now I think I get it in a whole new way!
A Christian, is led by Christ.
You see, when you truly accept Christ into your life as your savior, He is the one that saves you. You don't save yourself. Trying to be a good person, trying to please God of your own vilition - is all in vain. Christ does the work. When you truly, honestly and fully invite Him into your heart and life, He changes you from the inside out. You do none of the work. Trying to do it yourself just hinders Him further. When you honestly let Him lead you, He changes you into a loving, Christ-like person. You can't do it! Your job is to just let Him lead you. Your job is to LET GO and let Him lead.
A Christian, is led by Christ alone.
I am not saying it isn't work to fight against everything inside of you that goes against what Christ is trying to do to change you. That's where it is work. Submission is work. The work isn't in trying to be Christ like, it's in letting go of your own desires. Letting go of self, so that Christ can truly lead you. It's letting go of the wheel, and letting Christ take it - without trying to still be a back-seat driver!
Once you do this, if you have truly let Christ drive you, you are automatically (but slowly) changed into a person that embodies Him. God changes your heart for you, if you allow Him to, and what follows is loving others unconditionally, being selfless, letting go of the desires of the world and being filled with Godly desires. A consequence of letting Christ into your life is that you become a good person, but being a good person doesn't mean that you have truly let Christ in your life. A consequence of letting Christ save you, is that His desires become your desires by default. Not by your own attempt to force them to be. You go to Church because Christ compells you to, not because you think you should. You read the Bible to learn more about how to surrender further to Christ, to know Him more intimately, because He compells you to, not out of obligation to the Church.
I am not saying that going to church and reading the bible out of obligation once in a while is a bad thing- indeed we are all going to find times when it seems like work.
What it comes down to is; is it you who is trying to lead your life and fill your desires with what you think God wants? Or are you letting Christ lead your life and letting Him fill your heart and desires with what He wants? Even if it goes against your own?
I have been very liberated by this thought. I realize I am no longer responsible for making the right or the wrong decision, instead I am responsible for letting Christ into my heart and letting Him lead. I know that if I truly do that, I won't be the one making the decisions. I will only be the one deciding to submit, so that the right decision is made.
Now, daily I remind myself to let go, to stop trying to control my life and my 'holiness' and to daily- surrender it to Christ. I will stop 'trying' to be a good Christian, and instead just be filled with you Christ, so that you can be through me Lord.
Lord, your will be done, not mine.