We do not separate ourselves. God separates us.
Similarly, we do not control the process of our conversion. Only God can do that.
There are, however, questions that we need to ask ourselves.
Do we need conversion?
Do we desire to be converted?
Yet, there is a question that even supersedes those:
What is it that I need to be converted from, and what do I desire to be converted into?
Do we know?
What do you long for where Christ is concerned?
Not the things that Christ can do for you or give you.
What, where Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God incarnate, The Messiah, Savior, The Good Shepherd, The Lamb of God, do you long for?
When you say “I have accepted Christ”, what are you really accepting?
What do you understand that you are accepting?
What is your goal and purpose for accepting Him?
In accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, where are you looking to go from, and to get to?
Why is there a need for you to accept Him at all???
What is accepting Him supposed to do for “you”?
These questions may seem elementary, but, have you ever analyzed your “Christianity” along these lines?
In Part 1 of this discussion, our reference scripture was taken from Luke 22: 31-32
“And the Lord said, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
When Christ said “When thou art converted”, what was He referring to?
What was Peter supposed to be converted from?
Think about what led to that statement.
They were at supper. Peter was swearing his allegiance to Jesus. Professing his love and loyalty. Why did he need to be converted?
Was he not already a disciple?
Was he not already a follower of Jesus?
Had Jesus not already called him?
Was he not already performing miracles in the name of Jesus Christ?
Was he not already seeing, tasting, and reaping of the goodness of Christ?
So, why did Peter need conversion?
More importantly, what constituted the conversion?
Let us go to John 21.
After Jesus had been crucified and he reappeared to His disciples, Peter had returned to his prior vocation. Keep in mind that Peter had been a fisherman. Catching fish was all he knew. He was comfortable with it. The way of the fisherman was his way. So, after the huge haul of fish was pulled in, Jesus asked him in verse 15 “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these”?
Jesus wasn’t asking him as far as the love of passion or affection was concerned, Jesus was asking “Do you love “you” – following your comforts, your understanding, the things you know and trust more than me? The Me you have seen, the Me you have come to believe in, the Me who you do not fully understand yet, but still believe in…”
“Will you follow that “Me” that you know, but not fully, or will you follow the “you” that you know well”?
To which we know that Peter responded that he loved Jesus.
Then Jesus said “feed my sheep”.
That is what Jesus referenced in Luke 22, He had said “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren”.
Now let us fast forward to the book of Acts, at the event of the Pentecost. Mind you, Peter, after denying Christ, wept bitterly. Then, after the crucifixion, he went back to his old vocation.
Now, at Pentecost, came the Comforter. The gift of the Holy Ghost, and the scripture tells us in Acts 2:14 “But Peter, standing up with the 11, lifted up his voice and said unto them…”. Also, in Acts 3, that same Peter said:
“And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”
This was the same Peter, who had but a short time before denied Christ three times. Then, in the despondence of Christ’s crucifixion, returned to the man he used to be before Jesus called him to discipleship.
Now, here he was, boldly, and accurately, expounding the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ!
What a transformation!
What a conversion!
We believe that the call to conversion means to stop doing things or start doing things. But, conversion means only one thing:
Love Christ more than you love yourself!
Trust Christ more than you trust yourself!
Abandon yourself, and everything that you have held onto as your crutch.
Especially where Christianity is concerned. Acknowledge that the only thing that you know, with certainty, is that Jesus is Lord. That He alone – Him, His Person, His Spirit, His Being- is the only way, truth and life.
Conversion takes us from “Lord, I want to do it your way” to “Lord, do it your way in me”.
From “Lord, I want to do this, that and the other in/for you”, to “Lord, do what you want with me, and through me, however you choose to”.
If you are perplexed right now, then you are on the right track.
The “How” is supposed to be perplexing. Because it is not for us to know the “How”. We are only responsible for believing in the “Who”: Jesus Christ!
The “How” is completely up to Him.
God’s “How” for Abraham was to leave the land he knew for a foreign land.
God’s “How” for Moses was to face the King of Egypt equipped simply with a staff in his hand.
God’s “How” for Paul was to go from Pharisee to Apostle and bring the gentiles into the way of the truth.
Those “Hows” were determined by God.
The job of each person called was simply to answer, believe, and surrender to the instruction of the “How” as dictated by God.
Keep in mind, the “How” of each of these examples used, and all those in the bible was a way that was completely different and contrary to the way that they were used to/familiar/comfortable with.
God wants your “who” for His “Who”.
That is surrender. Not giving up acts. Giving up Control!
Anything else is “trusting in our way, leaning on our own understanding, listening to our voice”.
If we still trust in anything (especially our voices and our understanding) other than His Total All Knowing, Unsearchable, Supremacy, as our “Director”, then we are yet to relinquish our “who”.
If we are still trying to figure out any aspects of “Where do I go from here, what do I do next”, then, we are still trying to figure out our “How”. That means we have not relinquished our “who”.
In Luke 9:23, Jesus says “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
Think about it. Peter denied Christ. In essence he said “I do not know Jesus”. “I have no knowledge of Him whatsoever”.
When we are aske by Jesus to “Deny yourself’, it has nothing to do with abstinence from anything.
He is asking us to tell that “Governing of self” that rules and directs everything that is us “I do not know you”. “I have no knowledge of you, whatsoever”.
The reason, brethren, we cannot govern ourselves is that our “Selves” is susceptible to the temptation of Satan.
Satan can deceive us, Satan CAN NOT DECEIVE CHRIST!
As long as we listen to our “Self” is governing, Satan WILL rule every action eventually. Because the nature of man is a nature that is prone to sin.
The nature of Jesus Christ is NOT prone to sin!
FIRE YOUR GOVERNMENT!
Fire yourself from the governing of you. Then, completely submit the vessel that is “You” to Christ to govern.
HE will direct. He will lead.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.
However, all of this can ONLY happen if we surrender our very selves to Him.
When Peter rose up to speak in the book of Acts, it wasn’t Peter who was speaking. It was Christ in the person of the Holy Ghost speaking through Peter. Peter had been converted.
So, brethren, what are you still holding on to?
What part of your “who” are you insisting on holding on to? Refusing to let go of?
Don’t forget, prior to Peter’s conversion, Jesus told Him that “Satan has asked to sift you like wheat”?
Do you think that your struggle is any less a sifting?
But praise be to Jesus as He continues to pray for us.
However, though we cannot convert ourselves, it is we who have to acknowledge the need for conversion.
Jesus is asking you today. “Do you love me more than these”?
Do you still love “you” more than “Him”?
Now unto him that is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
The handmaid at His Feet.