Many think that once we repent of our sins initially that that's it. It's a done deal, but believe me, God is very specific in His Word that even though we are saved by grace, we are to be "working out" our salvation with fear and trembling Phillipians 2:12. Also, maybe I'm wrong but I do think there is a reward system in heaven. ALL who believe that Jesus is the Christ shall be saved, but if you read the first three chapters of The Revelation, in Christ's letters to the Churches, you will see that there are additional rewards for those who overcome certain things. For additional info about that, you might want to read Lord I Want to be an Overcomer
In my reading of the Word and studying additional materials, it has become obvious to me that repentance is only the first step. Turning and going in the opposite direction is the second step and submission of your will is the third step. How we respond to submission of our will determines what rewards or responsibilities we might expect to take part of in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Think of it sort of like this: Sometimes people sit down in a chair or walk out in the yard and drop dead in their tracks (you know them, the people who are completely healthy; wham, one minute they are here and the next, gone!); these are the people who when they repent, immediately and completely submit their lives to Christ (you know them, the ones who haved lived lives of utter degradation, filled with sin, and know how filled with sin they are and when they meet Christ, they are transformed, utterly and ultimately forever changed).
Then there are those people who get a little sick, and for some reason, they don't get well as expected, and it drags out and on and it becomes literally living life through their sickness; day in and day out, and for some reason they never get well but die a long, slow, slow death. So it is for some Christians. They only give up their lives an inch at a time until God finally gets through to them, by whatever means, that they must die to themselves completely, pick up their cross and follow Him.
Being a true follower of Christ means that we take Him at His word when He tells us to take up "our cross" (didn't He die when He did that?). We are to be dead, buried and resurrected with Christ. Otherwise, we are not worthy of Him. Matthew 10:38
What in the world does dead, buried and resurrected with Christ mean? That statement used to really puzzle me, but God has finally shown me that true followers of Christ die just like he did when we daily, hourly, minute by minute in this life we are given forsake what we want in lieu of what He wants until we are living a life completely surrendered to His leading. We are buried with Him when He covers us with his atoning blood and experience water baptism and then we are resurrected to new life by the power of the holy spirit.
We are by nature a selfish people, and giving up the ghost of our wants and desires is oh, so hard. But there comes a time when the fight is just too much and the body gives up, quits fighting and surrenders to death; to rest. We are called to rest in Him. Sabbath Rest
That's where my walk is right now, giving up the ghost of my will to the leading of His Spirit. Help me, Lord, to trust you implicitly and give up all things to you. The spirit is willing but my flesh is so weak. What else really is there to trust in but you? Myself, really? Ha. Others? Ha. Ha. Only you are worthy of my trust, and you have always delivered me in beneficial ways. Help me to see that your ways are right and true and truly good.
And worst of all, any work that we do that is not inspired by God is sin, and I'm afraid that a lot of my work for God is just that...my work for God instead of His work in me. Jesus said that he did nothing of his own intiative, but that He only did that which the Father wanted him to do and so are we to live. The Lord led me to read this this week at a blog called The Latter Days:
So what is God after? Our very lives. He is looking for us to present our bodies as living sacrifices. What does it mean to have given God your bodies? It means that He has control of your eyes (what you watch), your ears (what you listen to), your mouth (what you say), your feet (where you go), your hands (what you touch), your mind (what you think), your heart (what you desire)...It means that you truly no longer live for yourself; you have been crucified and Christ lives through you.
In order for this to happen, we cannot be driven by what we like or what we think. Our wills must be subjected to His will so that we can receive the inspiration of what He wants to be done in us and allow His Spirit to perform it through us.
Obedience is better than sacrifice.
This blog was exactly what I needed and the Lord provided it to me to give me hope and encouragement because I know He IS working in me and I AM giving it up...what I see, hear, speak, think, touch and desire...to Him. I am going to cut this out and carry it with me. Maybe you will want to do so, too. I really, truly hope you will go on and read the rest of this excellent post about submitting to God, resting in Him and allowing Him to have your body as a living sacrifice. It is the truth and a message that we all need to hear today.
Lord, I want to die to my will and ask that your will be done in my life today and every day. Cover me with your holinesss, godliness and righteousness. Jesus, Lamb of God, Worthy is your name to be praised above ALL names.
Colossians 3:3) For you are dead; your life is hid with Christ in God:
4) When Christ (who is your life) shall appear, then shall you also appear with Him, in glory.
Hide me Lord, in Your holiness
Every sin I now confess
Praise to You, forgiving Lord
Hide me in Your holiness
Hide me, hide me, hide me Lord
Hide me, hide me
Hide me in Your holiness
Hide me in Your holiness
Hide Me in Your Holiness
9)...seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds,
10)and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him...
I can guarantee this truth: No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. (John 3:5 GW)