No such thing as a magic wand
By Teresa LeNeave
A great misconception in the body of Christ is, "Do the right thing and all will go well." That's not always true. It wasn't always true for Jesus and it's not always true today. Jesus suffered many things. Christians are not exempt from trouble no more than Jesus was. In fact, Scripture says, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of them all." The Good News is that, "God delivers. Ultimately, all is well." Just doing the right thing is not a cure-all for pain that this world throws at everyone. There will be death. There will be sorrow. There will be heartache. But, God never fails us. He never leaves us. He never walks away and leaves us standing to fight alone.
Asking Christ to lead and guide, direct and forgive our sins is just the first step of a long journey toward heaven. Getting saved is just the beginning. After salvation we are not excused from daily checkups. It is still our responsibility to know and follow Jesus' teachings. We need to know God's promises; his suggestions for a good life; how to treat others; and how to be make wise decisions. We need to know prayer changes things and that faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by his Word. Those are not things we know automatically. No one is zapped with a magic "intelligent" wand when they are saved. Again, the Good News is that Jesus puts his Spirit inside you and he promises to guide you as you walk out your life as a Christian.
Learning to live a successful Christian life is just like learning any other skill. You put some effort into it. You devote your time, talent, finances and faithfulness to it. In school, if you were taught how to work complicated algebra, but never worked another algebra problem again, how long would you remember it? With time, you'd be less and less apt to quickly work an equation. If you were taught to be an electrician, but you never went into the trade; never had any experience in wiring a house, do you think you'd be a good electrician? Of course not. In the natural world, we wouldn't even imagine we could be a skilled worker without practice. Why, then, do we think we can be a Christian, strong and capable, if we get saved and never go to church? Never read the Bible? Never attend teaching classes? Never grow spiritually?
Let it never be said that we, as Christ' body, refused to learn, refused to grow, was determined to stay close-minded to all change; that we got in a rut and stayed there. Maybe that is why there are so many unhappy Christians. Most people come to Christ with a lot of pain in their past. Many have experienced emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, physical abuse. Just getting saved will not wash away the pain. On the other hand, a life of learning and being determined to live closer to Christ will, with time, wash it away. Letting go and learning to forget is a process that is absolutely possible if a person gives their life to Christ and then goes on to draw near to him. Paul is the best example I can think of.
Paul said he focused his energy on one thing. "Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead." He said he pressed toward the mark to receive the prize to which God, through Christ Jesus, called him. Paul, of all people, knew how important it was to forget the past. He had killed Christians for most of his adult life. Now, he was a Christian himself. Can't you just imagine the guilt that tried to torment him daily? Paul knew the secret to successful Christian living. He said, "I'm using my energy to forget the past and press toward the future, the prize."
Then, he added, "I want you to be thus minded" (Phil 3: 12:15). Every morning we stand on the edge of a new day. We have new spiritual decisions to make; new spiritual commitments. Will we, like Paul, press toward the goal or will we float through life expecting nothing, but the normal everyday trials of life itself? Even worse, will you drop out of the race? As a Christian, you deserve more. Put your trust in the only one who's never lost a case. Don't expect a magic wand to change your situation, but let God work in you. Something will change. It will be you or the situation. Good News is: God answers prayer.