Don’t you wish that life had an instructions manual sometimes?
I mean, sheesh. Wouldn’t that be incredible.
Or a trouble-shooters guide.
Yeah. Definitely would be amazing.
But I’ve received some questions about something that is quite the doosey.
Wait for it….
What do you do after you accept Jesus into your heart?
Yeahhh, and I thought tonight was just going to be a “light” blog post.
First of all, I want to start off by saying that I, truthfully, don’t feel quite qualified to be speaking on such an important topic. Mainly because, a) I’m still figuring it out on my own journey, and b) I’m just a broken vessel myself.
But I’m just going to write, because that’s kinda what I do, and I just let the HS speak through the keys. So here goes:
Number 1) It is a relationship.
Think about your friends. What do those relationships look like? You hang out. Make time for each other. Talk about stuff. You share your clothes or accessories, maybe. Long story short: you have to put in time if you want to grow your relationship.
Same after you accept Jesus into your heart. You’ve gotta grow the relationship.
Okay, yeah but how do I do that? I’ve never prayed a day in my life, and frankly it just seems weird talking to the sky.
Right. Here’s what I do. I keep a journal. And I just write out all of my feelings, all of my fears, all of my hopes, anxieties, joys, things I’m thankful for — as though I were talking to my best friend. And then, at the end, I put “Dear God” at the top. And then I just sit. In quiet. It’s not like I’m waiting for the sky to open up, or for me to get struck by a bolt of Heavenly lightening, but I just sit quietly. It’s amazing how overcome with peace I can be.
Spending time with Jesus can also be done in little things. Like choosing to listen to Christian Pandora when I’m working out. Or if there’s a Christian Podcast available to listen to while I’m cooking. Believe me, I love Top 40s as much as the next shmuck, but sometimes you’ve just gotta make the conscious decision to give some time to The relationship.
And you know what? The more you do, the easier it gets. Easier may not be the right word. The more I choose to spend time with Him, the more I want to. It becomes like second nature. And that feeling of genuine peace and joy I feel as a result becomes almost addictive.
So there’s that.
Alright. Trying to keep this short and sweet. Back to the question: What do you do?
Number 2) Redeemed vs. Restored
This is a biggie. And touches on something that can be confusing and discouraging.
When you accept Jesus, you are redeemed.
Redeemed: we hear it all the time in Church, – Jesus, our Redeemer, we have redemption, we’ve been redeemed —
Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.
Okay, okay. But what does it actually mean?
Tell me, Webster:
Redeem: To buy back. To release from blame or debt. To free from captivity by payment of ransom.
To free from captivity by payment of ransom.
Captivity. Hmm, sound familiar? Anorexia sure felt like captivity. Addiction sure feels like captivity — whether that be to gossiping, lying, cheating, stealing, vanity, — all these areas of our lives, we are slaves to. And I’m gonna be real with you: we are supposed to pay for those things.
But guess what. We don’t have to, because it has already been paid for.
That payment of ransom — for all the shit that we’ve done in the past, and that we will do in the future — that payment of ransom was Jesus on the Cross.
He redeemed us. He paid our debt so that we don’t have to. Because He loves us that much. And that’s what you said “yes” to when you accepted Him into your heart. You accepted His redemption.
But here’s where the tricky part comes in.
Redeemed does not mean restored.
To restore, we have to still put in work. We have to let that redemption help to shape our decisions and actions.
That’s why, just because you accept Jesus into your heart doesn’t mean that all temptations will simply vanish into thin air. Nope. Sorry. I wish it did. Oh, how I wish it did. But sadly, that’s not the case.
We’ve still got to put in the work.
Restoration is a journey. And Jesus, living in your heart, will help you and strengthen you along the way, but you’ve got to put in the work.
So you accepted Jesus into your heart: you’ve officially been redeemed.
Picture a horse race: you’ve taken off out of the starting gate. The rest of the race is your restoration process.
And yes, it is a process. And it will look different for every single person. For me, it was (and is) staying in recovery, loving others, loving God, and learning to love myself.
So to recap:
#1) It is a relationship. One that takes work. And putting in time. And as you do it, the more second nature that will become.
And #2) Working on your Post-Redemption Restoration. Which is a journey that you will be on for the rest of your life.
But then again, what do I know? I’m just journeying along myself. So take this with a grain of salt, from a broken vessel.
Having Him in my heart has given me strength when I’ve been at my weakest, has encouraged me when I’ve felt defeated, granted me peace in the storms, but most of all, He has helped me to see my true worth and value as coming from Him. And in my recovery, He is slowly, day by day, helping me to learn to love myself.
19 responses to “Now What?”
Amen and so true! Thanks for sharing so sweetly and succinctly! 🙂
Thanks Jade! I appreciate it!
Pretty darn good considering you began by saying, “First of all, I want to start off by saying that I, truthfully, don’t feel quite qualified to be speaking on such an important topic.”
Awesome explanation, my friend. I agree with the writing suggestion. For me, while I was in prison, I wrote a daily devotional book called “TODAY IS….A Gift From God.” Of course there is always the hope someone may actually buy it, but that wasn’t why it was written. On the back it says it is “A record of the relationship which developed God and the author following a nearly successful suicide attempt and subsequent 4 year incarceration in federal prison.” And that’s what it was. A journal tracking the growth of my relationship with God.
So for those reading, and asking the questions, take this lady’s advice. There may not have been an instruction manual a few paragraphs ago, but if you go back to the beginning of this blog, there is one now.
Another remarkably well-written, uplifting, encouraging, and God-glorifying post.
thank you Tony. I appreciate that 🙂 wow, sounds like you’ve really come to know the love and power of God. Sounds like a powerful book.
I agree: Well written.
I would add one thing: Trust Him, just as you did to come to Him.
Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing (John 15) we can do all things in Him (Philippians 4:13). Perhaps the difference between people who haven’t given their lives to Jesus and those of us who have is, we learn that when we come to Him.
what a great point! Trust is KEY. thanks for that reminder 🙂
I don’t think I’m even close to an expert either but it’s stronger for me when I treat it as a relationship just as I would with my family or friends, so I definitely get where you’re coming from.
Thanks Lauren. Luckily we don’t have to have it all figured out:) thanks for stopping by! Xx
Great post! And yes I would love a life instruction manual! Xo
Thanks! I know! How awesome would that be!?
You’re right, it is about our relationship with God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the lovely Spirit of Wisdom- The Holy Spirit.
The Apostle John goes on to tell us that this is really what eternal life is all about- it is knowing God intimately.
“And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), Whom You have sent.” John 17:3
What a beautiful verse. Thank you for sharing that, and for stopping by!
My not accepting the coincidence of our cosmos and how the power of prayer has helped me through some very personal conflicts– my faith (though no longer of any organized religion) has remained a major backbone of my everyday life. Nice post.
Thank you so much! There is definitely power in prayer:) thanks for stopping by!
This is absolutely beautiful! I’m so glad I found your blog!
thank you so much Dionne! I appreciate that 🙂
I love this 🙂 I really like your explanation for those who haven’t prayed before. I know a few friends who journal their prayers, and it helps them. I like looking back on my journals and seeing how God answered me. And I really enjoyed your explanation for the difference between redeemed and restored. Well done!
Hey TR! thanks so much 🙂 yeah I love looking back too. it’s really powerful to see Him working. thanks for reading! hope you’re having a great week so far! xox
I’ve been busy working on posts for both blogs. 🙂 The toxic church experience is 4 parts total, and I have week 2 and 3 ready. And I’ve been working on scheduling blogs so I can get a little ahead, and know what to write about. How’s your week going? I wish you well!