What Christian Conversion Means
By Benjamin H. Liles
I honestly believe a truly authentic and changed person is one who believes Jesus Christ is "The way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6). What it means is that to this man or woman Jesus has called them to a relationship and the result is they are completely changed. Take this into fact there are those who simply think giving Jesus Christ special adoration means He's a religion don't have the full facts.
Let's look at that because I've said on occasion that you don't have to be "cleaned up or figured out to belong to Jesus Christ." Look at some of the people Jesus the Messiah touched and healed in their lives: the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), the woman with an issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48), a Roman Centurion needs healing for his son (Matthew 8:5-13), and a man lowered through a roof to be healed by Him (Luke 5:17-39).
What makes these people more likely to believe isn't the fact they were sick, unable to walk, or were hurt in some way. What made the difference was the fact they are part of a crowd of disenfranchised. When Jesus started His ministry, just as with John the Baptist, He said, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:17). A bit later, Jesus also says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit...Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3-10).
I'm not saying being religious is right or wrong, as it has it's place. But think on this a moment: let's say you were part of a crowd of people who are hard-pressed, worn out, and tired of following legalistic ways. This religion, supposedly, has the answers you need but there's nothing being "changed" within you or even extending outward. This was the environment Jesus came to seek and save. Not so much the leaders who claim they kept God's laws, but those who were "poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those persecuted for righteousness."
A while later in the gospel account we read what Jesus says to validate who He is to John the Baptist, "The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news" (Luke 7:22, Holman Christian Standard). Those who have and experience change are those who have had enough "religion" and desire a relationship, a conversion experience. It's like the woman who had the issue of blood, who said to herself, "If I may but touch the hem of his cloak" (Mark 5:25-34) and she was healed - for her faith!
That's the beautiful part of it all. All it takes is childlike faith, that Jesus, being God's own Son born of a virgin came to take our burdens, to take on our imperfections went to the cross so we would no longer be defeated by those things any longer. Those "things" I just mentioned are also those things, which Christ died in our place to cleanse us from. When you take a cursory look at one of the Old Testament passages we read, "Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried...The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed" (Isaiah 53:4-5, New American Standard).
With that said all I'm getting at is that while we don't have to change when Christ comes into our lives -- to give is a hope and a future -- eventually, we want and desire a change: a conversion experience. We want to stop living life on our own and in our own means and accept God's way through the Son, Jesus. He alone has the power to heal. He alone gives us the Spirit of God when we pray and ask Him to be made manifest in and through us. I want to end this on this note: the reason I wanted to write this today was because of these verses, "When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:14-17).
The reason those believers needed a laying on of hands where we don't so much these days is because of the fact we ought to know those words to pray on our own, and to ask God to give us His Spirit. In fact, we read, "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:26-29, Berean Study, bold for emphasis).
Father, I ask that to those who read these words I have prayed over and ask for You to show Yourself to them that they are given the right to belong to You. For under You, Lord, we are all the same. Yes, some of us may belong to a certain people, to a certain culture, but in You we're all the same for You made us in Your image. In You there is no turning or even darkness for all things from You are a light and a balm to our soul. You refresh us as rivers of water refresh the lives of those who drink from it. Perhaps that's why in Your word refreshing water represents Your Holy Spirit. I ask that You pour out Your Spirit on any who call on You and the Son, Jesus the Messiah, to be theirs. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.