(Note: A downloadable PDF copy of this lesson is available on the last page.)
Can you explain the change in some people’s lives when they become Christians?
“Men can only reproduce human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven; so don’t be surprised at my statement that you must be born again!”
John 3:6-7, LB
Now if I am doing what I don’t want to, it is plain where the trouble is: sin still has me in its evil grasp.
Romans 7:20, LB
I have spent over forty years counseling people from a biblical perspective. I work with disturbed people. My first serious encounter with a disturbed person was with myself.
I grew up in a church environment. During my late teens, I said to myself, “I don’t need a bunch of rules to run my life, let alone a bunch of rules that keep me from having fun!”
I had some friends who taught me how much fun I could have with alcohol. I hit the bars, the parties, the streets, and the homes of my friends (when the parents were gone!). Mixed in with all this was considerable girl chasing. My mission in life was to entice “religious” young people away from church and into the “good life.” I had been successful with my share of converts at the bar. Those were wonderful fun-filled years, but such a life was also the broad road to destruction.
My way of life came to an abrupt halt. Three of my drinking buddies burned to death in a fiery head-on collision. One of my friends, a brilliant young lady, committed suicide. The heavy-drinking, kindly man who ran the pool room, one of my local hang-outs, slammed his car into a telephone pole one night and was killed instantly. Lastly, I was fired from my job because I returned from lunch drunk one day.
Right after all this happened, Bill, one of my best friends and the heaviest drinker of all, suddenly announced that he had become a Christian. He had wandered into a Christian meeting by accident and stayed to hear the speaker. God’s Holy Spirit touched his heart. He went forward at the end of the meeting and publicly invited Christ to take over his life and heart and to deal with his sin. He told me later, “I felt like I was the only guy the speaker was talking to!”
Virtually overnight, Bill demonstrated that he was finished with my kind of life. He went to church twice on Sunday and every Wednesday. He dated only “Christian” girls. He limited his activities to swimming, hiking, tennis, ice-skating, and skiing. In order to continue my friendship with him, I was forced to accept his way of life.
For a few months I lived on both sides of the fence. Bill and I had long arguments about his faith and his changed life. I argued fervently on behalf of the old way of life—the rollicking nights, the warmth of kindred spirits, and good fellowship in our favorite bars! I could just as well have been talking to the wall. Bill’s change wasn’t temporary. He turned a deaf ear to my fervent, earnest efforts to save him from a restrictive, limited, narrow life.