Question: How do I open my heart to Christ again? I lost my way a long time ago and I want to find it again. I’m just not sure how.
When we lose our way and make choices we know are not pleasing to God, we instinctively conclude that God must be a million miles away, especially if we have continued in this path for a long time. It feels perfectly logical to assume that the path back to God must involve lots of hoops to jump through. But the gospel offers us a radically different perspective. Jesus once said “If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink….” John 7:37. Notice the only prerequisite Jesus requires: being thirsty. In other words, the way back to God is to simply admit to Jesus how spiritually thirsty you are. That’s it. He continually extends to us this invitation: In your thirst, come to Me.
The fact of the matter is, you are actually much closer to Jesus than you think you are. In the ministry of Jesus, there was one group of people He continually rebuked for being so far removed from his heart. It wasn’t the sinners who had lost their way. Rather, it was the religious leaders. The Pharisees. The good guys who were diligently trying to keep God’s law. They were convinced God was pleased with them because of their hard work and effort, because of how well they obeyed God’s law. But Jesus rebuked them for being truly lost. Their problem? They weren’t thirsty. They weren’t aware of how desperately they needed a Savior. They were trusting in their own goodness and as a result, they completely missed Jesus in the process. (See Luke 18:1-9 for an example)
Jesus died on the cross for sinners, for people who disobey and lose their way….which actually describes all of us at various points in our lives. We often choose self over God. The glorious news of the gospel is that our Savior is always available and is always inviting us to come to Him just as we are–failures, sins and all. He has not left us. He is waiting with open arms, longing to pour out His love and grace.
So my encouragement to you is quite simple: In your thirst, open your heart afresh to Jesus. Rest in His unconditional love for you. Let His Spirit fill you with His Presence and His peace. Realize that His purposes for your life are not thwarted. You are right on schedule. Jesus is with you…always. What an amazing Savior we have.
[This post is a response to a question asked at www.believe.com in their Ask a Pastor section. I was asked to offer a response]