As you begin to process this idea of returning to God, you will draw near to God and experience His presence, seeing Jesus in a much clearer way. This is partly because you are drawing near, but even more so because you are older now, and you see everything a little differently than you did five or ten years ago. Many times as you draw near to God, He will give you a fresh vision of Jesus. You will discover dimensions of His character and His wisdom that you didn’t see before.
It’s easy to have an “upward” vision of who God is; on His throne, looking out over all creation, seeing you from a distance. But you must also get an “inward” vision. Then He can show you who you really are and what you were put here to do. Once you combine your “upward” vision of God with your “inward” vision you can get an “outward” vision for what God has placed you on earth to do—His plan for your life.
Saul (who would later become Paul) was a very religious man, but he was not born again. He had not been converted. Did you know you can be very religious and not be born again? Religion breeds criticism and cynicism. If you find yourself pointing out everything wrong or all the negatives each time you walk into church, then chances are you have an active religious life . . . but a very famished spiritual life.
True conversion is more than walking to an altar to pray a prayer. It’s understanding who Jesus really is, His unconditional love for you and accepting the work on the cross that He did for you that brings true conversion. That’s why the Bible teaches new birth. You must be born again. Not just say a prayer or come to church, but have an encounter with truth that changes you from the inside out.
The same is true for your life. When you begin to get a true vision of who Jesus really is then you can begin to see Him and walk in faith. It was Peter who found himself at this point and had to make a decision: Is He really who He says He is, or is this just a religious belief? He took that step of faith and stepped out on the water and walked! The job of the enemy is to get your eyes off Jesus and onto the conditions around you, because as long as you are looking at Jesus, the enemy knows you can do the impossible.
Think About It
Which of the following areas of your life do you feel like needs the most improvement right now? Your prayer life, thought life, Bible reading and study, relationships, giving, or church attendance?
What can you start or stop doing to make the improvements you want to see?