“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.“
(Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)
In 2011, I made a decision to give up trying to control every aspect of my life after realizing my way was not working out the way I had planned. I was exhausted. In my brokenness, I surrendered and submitted my will to His will. I could no longer live in a state of constant chaos and confusion so I made a choice. I could either end my life, or start a new life in Christ. I chose to live. I did not know then that choosing to live and follow Christ would give me an eternal life filled with joy and peace. When we follow God’s Way—Jesus—we reap the benefits and blessings. When we choose to follow the world, rather than the Word, we reap the consequences—chaos and confusion.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
(Romans 12:2, NIV)
Jesus made a choice too. He chose to suffer and die on the cross for humanity to be given the gift of salvation. We were given a second chance at life; eternal life. When Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews, encountered Jesus, his worldview changed dramatically (as did mine). The Bible tells us that when Jesus was asked by Nicodemus, “How can someone be born when they are old?” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.” We are born physically into the world and then make a choice to follow Jesus and invite the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. Eternal life starts the moment you surrender your physical life to Jesus.
When Jesus was being crucified, there were two thieves being crucified with him. The one to his left was the unrepentant thief who mocked Jesus when he said, “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” The sinner on His right said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus responded to the repentant thief and said, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Now, we all know that when Jesus died on the cross He did not go to paradise. He died, was buried and resurrected on the third day. So, I’ve asked myself, what was Jesus declaring to the repentant thief that day? I believe He was telling the sinner, the moment you accept Jesus as your Messiah and King, and choose to be a follower, you will live in His Kingdom. Paradise.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”
(John 3:16-2, NIV)