When Converting to Christianity Leaves You Thirsty

10:42 AM

Christians are mistakenly taught that the pinnacle to our salvation is the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our savior. Don’t be misled by me, the point in which God opens up your eyes and you make the commitment to faith in Christ is arguably the most important moment in your life. However, the flame of Christianity does not burn out there.

“Everything is made to center upon the initial act of 'accepting' Christ . . . and we are not expected thereafter to crave any further revelation of God to our souls. We have been snared in the coils of a spurious logic which insists that if we have found Him, we need no more seek Him.” (A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, pg 16).

God chooses us, opens our eyes, and transforms us. Yet, as John Piper once said in his 1984 sermon, Going Hard After the Holy God, “true grace creates desire for more grace.”

In the third chapter of Paul’s letter to the Philippians, the Apostle discusses this thirst for knowing Christ. Paul addresses a theme that most Christians today are familiar with: humbleness. We worship God, giving glory to Jesus, and putting no confidence in ourselves (vs 3).

However, Paul seems to take a turn in his letter that seems questionable to this theme. In verse 4 he says, “Though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more” which seems very arrogant. Paul did just say in Philippians 2:3 that it is important to consider others before yourself. And he has noted throughout his letters that becoming perfect under the Law of Moses is impossible. The Apostle argues that all attempts at works-based righteousness only hinders one’s worship of God. (Hard Sayings of the Bible, 647). Yet, Paul continues to list off all the reasons he has more reason to be confident:

·      circumcised on the eighth day, 
·      of the people of Israel, 
·      of the tribe of Benjamin,
·      a Hebrew of Hebrews;
·      as to the law, a Pharisee; 
·      as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; 
·      as to righteousness under the law, blameless. (The translation does not mean sinless but rather one who has an outward obedience to the Law of Moses)

As Paul continues, he claims that even with all these good things to be confident, he counts all that he has gained as loss for the sake of Christ (vs 7).  This is due to his assurance of the “surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (vs 8).  None of the great things he has done or the suffering he has endured compares to the value of knowing Jesus.
Consider all that we have: the good things we have achieved and the sufferings we have experienced… we count all these loss in comparison to knowing Jesus Christ. So seek after the living God. Make yourself less, so that He becomes more. Please do not lose hope when the mountain top high of conversion is over. In the same way, do not become angry with God when you feel spiritually dry. Instead, know that we are required to seek after Him every day. We were made to thirst after the living water: Jesus Christ.

NOTE: Paul’s letter in Philippians 3 is addressing opponents who may be Christian or non-Christians. It isn’t clear to the reader. These “dogs” could be Judaizes who insist on the Law of Moses. Here the term “mutilated” could be in reference to the Jews who believe that salvation is through the physical circumcision. Or, it could be addressing the church composed of Gentiles with a pagan past. Here the term “mutilated” could be commenting on the pagan rite of self-inflicted physical torture (Lev 21:5; 1 King 18:28). Regardless of which party is addressed, the “dogs” here are not saved through the Law of Moses or are believers of the true Gospel of Christ.  (Ref Study Bible, 2113) Paul wants his people to note that “we are the circumcision” (vs 3) because true salvation comes from the circumcision of the heart and not due to the physical sign.

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Regina is a junior at a small college in the middle of nowhere. She dreams of moving to California, painting, writing letters, thrifting, and cuddling with a dog.

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