Dr. Billy Holland: God searches for those who drift away
Dr. William F. "Billy" Holland Jr. is an ordained minister, community chaplain and author of the "Living on Purpose" faith column. He lives in central Kentucky with his wife, Cheryl.
No matter where we come from or how we have been taught, we are responsible for what we think, what we say and how we act. As optimism and pessimism are learned behaviors, we know that our conduct and worldviews can be changed and controlled if this is our desire.
Our spiritual understanding about who God is and who we are in Him must become more than a hope or a chance of fate. Having a personal relationship with Him is based on knowing that we have been purchased with the blood that Jesus shed on the cross and receiving His grace that transforms us.
Everyone is allowed to decide whatever they want to believe but this does not mean that God approves. When it comes to God’s truth, there is our version and His perfection and the decisions we make reveal the type of person we are.
We are responsible as to the level we choose to surrender our will to God. There is a legend that talks about an older member of a tribe that is teaching his grandson about the meanings of life.
He said, “There is a fight going on inside of me. It is a terrible conflict between a wolf and a sheep. The wolf is evil and is filled with darkness, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, depression, lies and pride.
"The sheep demonstrates goodness and fairness and his light shines bright with joy, peace, love, hope serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.
"My grandson, this same battle for control is going on inside of you and me and in every other person.”
The grandson thought about this and after a few moments asked his grandfather, “who will win?” The wise man replied ...“the one you feed.”
I was talking with a friend the other day about the Christian life and I asked him how he came to know the Lord.
He said when he was a child, he went to a Sunday School class where they would listen to Bible stories and sing songs. Sometimes the teacher would ask if anyone would like to receive Jesus as their Savior and if someone raised their hand, they would be led in a prayer to ask Christ into their heart.
These are truly great programs and have been used to help build foundations of faith in the lives of many. However, even though he went through this process, he was not saved that day.
As a child he did not understand what Jesus dying on the cross really meant and was just going through the motions. Sadly, he grew up without living for God and it was not until over 40 years later he had a genuine life-changing encounter with Jesus and his spiritual eyes were opened to what true salvation means.
People can be led to an altar and repeat the sinners prayer, but it is only an emotional experience until God draws and convicts us by his power and transforms our spirit.
When a person is convinced they are spiritually secure, yet they have no desire for God, they have become spiritually lukewarm or maybe they have never received Christ.
If we are truly saved, the Spirit of God within us will relentlessly pursue us until we return to our first love. This subject is much too important than to just assume that everything will be all right.
We are miserable without God’s peace and joy, and I encourage you to call upon him today. He loves you but will never make you love Him.
Those who are born again and accept Christ as their Lord may backslide for a season, but as the great shepherd, God promises that he will find those sheep who have wandered away and always bring them back into the fold.
Without being pursued by his endless love and mercy, we would drift out to sea and never return.
If you are running from God and trying to avoid him, the Holy Spirit is pleading with you this very moment to be born again or rededicate your life to the one who died to save you.
"If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” Romans 10:9-10.