Recognize or Respond
What is the difference between recognize and respond?
A tornado is one of the most destructive forces of nature. Tornadoes inspire both awe and fear. They are at the same time beautiful and terrible. Any one of us would not think twice about seeking cover if a tornado was approaching.
Consider, however, that you are standing on the porch of your house. The weather has that typical tornado look. Your concerns are confirmed as you listen to the radio and, sure enough, there is a tornado warning in your area.
All of the sudden the breeze stops, the air becomes absolutely still, and you can no longer hear the birds chirping. Suddenly, you see a tiny finger begin to poke out of the clouds and descend. This finger touches the ground and quickly churns up everything in its path. You notice that this tornado is approaching your house. Its path is straight as an arrow.
You certainly RECOGNIZE the danger. If you remain on the porch and the tornado continues on its current path, you will die. Recognizing the danger, however, is not enough. Not only must you recognize the danger, you must also RESPOND to the danger by taking cover, which might mean running down to the cellar and hugging the wall.
Many people may recognize who Jesus Christ is. They may even go to church once in a while. However, they sadly stop short of actually responding to Jesus Christ.
The fact of sin and its penalty.
A great pastor once wrote, "You [God] have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find rest in you."1 Sin separates us from God. "Sin is the failure to live as God ordained that we should."2 God created us to fellowship with Him. When we are out of fellowship with God, we are lost and empty - restless.
Romans 3:10 "No one is good, not even one."
Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard." [Falling short is like an arrow missing the target].
Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
God's remedy: Jesus Christ's death on the cross.
Romans 5:8 "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners."
John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."
Believe in Jesus Christ.
To believe is more than simply thinking about something. To believe is to faithfully trust and to embrace. True faith believes, trusts, and acts.
Romans 10:8-10 "Salvation that comes from trusting Christ - which is the message we preach - is already within easy reach. In fact, the Scriptures say, 'The message is close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.' For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved."
Saved from what? Remember the tornado? Saved FROM sin and death. But also saved FOR God.
Knowing Jesus Christ means that you are a child of God.
John 1:12 "... to all who believed him [Jesus] and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God."
Knowing Jesus Christ means that you are a new person.
2 Corinthians 5:17 "What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!"
Knowing Jesus Christ means that you have eternal life ... now.
John 5:24 Jesus said, "I assure you, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but have already passed from death to life."
Turn from sin and ask God's forgiveness.
Acts 3:19 "Now turn from your sins and turn to God, so that you can be cleansed from your sins."
1 John 1:9 "But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from every wrong."
Receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
A gift isn't yours until you first believe it's for you, and then you reach out and take the gift.
John 1:10-13 "But although the world was made through him, the world didn't recognize him when he came. Even in his own land and among his own people, he was not accepted. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn! This is not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan â€“ this rebirth comes from God."
Revelation 3:20 Jesus said, "Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends."
A humble follower of Jesus once said, "For a little benefit great journeys are undertaken, but for everlasting life people will scarcely lift their feet once from the ground."3
Are you ready to respond to Jesus Christ, by receiving him as your Savior and Lord? Then begin by asking Jesus to come into your life.
You may use the following prayer to help you.
Jesus said, "This is the way to have eternal life - to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth" (John 17:3).
Written by:Mark S. WaterhouseQuotations:
- Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430 A.D.)
- Dr. Paul Livermore, "The God of Our Salvation," page 183.
- Thomas a Kempis, "The Imitation of Christ."Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189All rights reserved.