Emily began writing short stories and poetry as a little girl, entered the blogging world in her early 20's, and recently released her first book, Yielded in His Hands (eLectio Publishing). She enjoys being a stay-at-home momma while still being able to freelance write. Believing she has been forgiven of much, she loves much, and desires to point others to Christ and His redemptive and transforming power. If you would like to connect with Emily or learn more about her book, you can visit her website: www.emilyrosemassey.com
A couple weeks ago I took advantage of the free live-stream access to view Jesus Culture LA 2015 on God.tv. Throughout the day, I would check in and watch some of my favorite worship leaders,Kim Walker-Smith, Kristene DiMarco, and Bryan and Katie Torwalt. One of the morning sessions kicked off with a speaker I had never heard before so I decided to keep streaming.
Jude Fouquier, spent over 25 years as a youth pastor and he definitely connected with the young people gathered at the conference. He threw out quick, funny catch phrases to grab their attention and focused on the foundation scripture:
Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. (1 Cor. 15:34 NKJV)
I have to admit, I somewhat started to lose interest until he said something very profound that shed light on my many questions regarding my “salvation experience.”
“We may be awakened to Jesus, but we may fall back asleep. I believe we go back to sleep because we try to establish our own righteousness.”
His main point was that our eyes need to be opened to righteousness in Christ Jesus and the Cross alone and according to 1 Corinthians 15:34, that can only happen through the knowledge of God.
That’s what happened to me. I fell back asleep because I tried to establish righteousness in my own strength and never pursued a life knowing God. It was just a matter of time that I would become entangled in sin and walk in darkness because I was trying to achieve righteousness through works and failed miserably, as we all will if we try to establish righteousness in our own strength. When you fail continuously, it is just human reaction to eventually throw in the towel.
From the moment I prayed the sinner’s prayer until I finally took up my cross and followed Jesus completely, it was six years.
Six years doing it on my own.
Giving into temptation and allowing sin to overtake me.
A six yearlong nap.
But thank God, in 2008, I had an encounter with the Father’s love that changed my life forever. The Holy Spirit woke me up and I stayed awake this time! These last seven years have been an amazing journey pursuing God, gaining knowledge of Him, and receiving (not achieving) my righteousness through My Righteousness, Jesus Christ.
Over the course of the last few months, my husband and I have been trying to understand how Biblical the sinner’s prayer is, especially when we continually see people saying the prayer and then going back to their old lives…
…just like I did.
I believe the moment we hear the gospel and are given the invitation to make Jesus our Savior AND Lord (we can’t have one without the other), the Holy Spirit is shaking us to wake us up from our slumber from a life in sin, separated from God.
We trust His work by faith and learn to walk in it fully awakened.
I don’t think we should discount the prayer because I believe it is what God can use to wake people up. And it’s something we can use as a tool to allow the person to make a confession (believe in your heart and confess with your mouth) but it is then up to them to keep walking it out and keep seeking to know God.
I think as Christians, especially those in leadership, we have deceived people into thinking that it is the prayer alone (merely reciting words) that secures salvation and causes the new birth. I believe the sinner’s prayer is like the woman’s contractions beginning. The manifestation of the new birth takes time and one must desire to take up their cross in addition to embracing righteousness through Jesus and the work of the Cross.
So many have heard the good news and have asked Jesus to take control, but are currently spiritually snoring like a bear.
So I must ask you, are you awake?
Even if you consider yourself a Christian, are you taking a spiritual nap?
Do you need the Holy Spirit to help you open up your eyes once again?
If so, make yourself available to encounter the Lord. You can’t wake yourself up; you must allow the Holy Spirit to have influence in your life, to guide you. Focus your attention on His voice. Clear out all distractions in your life and start gazing on the Lord.
Be still and know Him.
And never stop pursuing Him! He will keep your heart on fire, fully awakened to His truth and love!
Check out more of my blogs on www.emilyrosemassey.com! Also, visit my website for more information on how to stay connected with me, as well as info about my book Yielded in His Hands- now available on Amazon.com!