My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In my last column on discipleship (The Compass, June 7), I touched on the truth that Jesus is standing patiently at the door of our hearts, waiting for each of us to let him in. And although Jesus will never force his way into our lives, the sooner we invite him in, the sooner our lives will be better.
You see, the key to a fulfilled and happy life is to surrender your life into the hands of God who is deeply in love with you. Surrender to God and he will do all things for you.
After I say these words to many people, the most common response is, “I am not worthy. I have done some really bad things in my life. Yes, I have confessed them, but God simply cannot love me after what I have done.”
This response is a total lie. It is because we are sinners that we need God, that we need his help. He loves each one of us, no matter what we have done, no matter how grievous our offenses against him and others have been. He still loves you and died on the cross to express that love. His arms stretched on the cross during the crucifixion show how much he loves you.
People also resist the idea of surrendering to God because it means giving up control. In our culture that places such a great emphasis on individualism and self-reliance, the idea of surrendering control to someone else, even God, can feel very unsettling.
So many of us have been going through life, carving our own path, and trying to piece it all together in the midst of trials and struggles. But I have to ask, how’s that working out for you? If you’re anything like me, I’m guessing that going through life on your own is not working out so well.
But it seems that some people have to try everything once themselves. They pay little attention to the wisdom of others who may have traveled those roads before them. While experience is important, you do not have to keep experiencing evil in order for you to be convinced of its devastating effects on your life and on the lives of others. Save yourself a lot of trouble, confusion and brokenness by simply turning to your love, savior and best friend, Jesus.
When you do, you will begin to recognize that life is not about following your own will and satisfying your every desire. Life is about living from the source of all life, God himself. In many ways, your life and my life are on loan to us, to be used for the sake of the glory of God. We do best when our lives are connected strongly to our creator and to the Son of God, Jesus.
So I encourage you to take some time in silence, now or in a church or in your room or in another quiet place, and ask Jesus to “come into” the home of your soul. Surrender your life into his hands. Turn it all over to him. Give him your gifts, your talents, your accomplishments and your failures. Ask him to be your Lord and best friend.
Let him know you want to know him better. Speak to him as you would any good friend. Tell him you are tired of trying to do this life all alone. Just begin to say his holy name, out loud or in a whisper, with great respect and love: “JESUS … JESUS … JESUS, come into my life. Make yourself real to me so that I can know and trust that you are real, not just a historical figure. Help me to experience that you are alive today and I can have a conversation with you at any time.”
Just keep asking and he will answer your prayer. You will begin to find relief as Jesus becomes more real to you. And you will be amazed as you see how much he loves you.
Follow Bishop Ricken on Twitter at @BpDavidRicken.