Do you feel restless and does your life seem empty? Do you have anxious thoughts and many questions?
In the Bible it’s written that people are like a vapor; visible for a short time, and then gone. Maybe the knowledge that life here on earth is so short creates a longing in you to be sure that life has meaning. You would like to experience that God is a living God, and want to believe in Him. This desire, which is difficult to put in words, may be the first step on the road to conversion.
A new direction
The next step requires action! Someone who repents, turns away from something and to something else.
So far you have gone in one direction. Maybe you know about something that isn’t right in your relationship to other people. You may have said or done something that has destroyed the others’ confidence in you. Maybe you have been unfair or dishonest. When you are converted, you have to go in the exact opposite direction of what you did previously. You must restore confidence, and clean up where your life has been in disarray. Does it feel difficult to have to turn around 180 degrees? It is not the intention that you should do it alone. Someone wants to help you! Jesus has given us a promise: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. In other words, Jesus is saying: “Repent and come to Me, all you who are longing to be able to be happy through and through!”
God creates a longing to repent
The longing you sense to change the course in your life has been created by God. In the Bible the question is asked; “[Do you not know] that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4. The apostle Peter once spoke to the Jews. He made it clear for them that they had sinned when they crucified Jesus. When they heard this, “they were cut to the heart.” Acts 2:37. That’s how it can feel when you know you’ve done something wrong and your conscience reminds you of this. You become sorry, and maybe you feel grief. It is God’s goodness that you become sorrowful! You can actually rejoice when you experience this sorrow. It gives you a longing to be converted and is a confirmation that God has started working in you!
A radical decision
The condition to be able to get rid of these heavy burdens and to get rest, is that you acknowledge your sin.
“Yes, but what is sin?” you may ask. To sin is to act against your conscience and the good laws of life that God has given to us and that we find in the Bible. Jesus emphasizes that the commandments that God gave to Moses still apply, but He adds: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another.” John 13:34. Such a commandment really strikes home when you read more of what Jesus says: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matthew 5:21-22. Jesus puts the spotlight right on people’s heart and mind.
When you are converted, it means you are willing to let the light from Jesus’ word and from His life shine over your own life. You must throw the mind set that you have had until now overboard. It’s nothing to keep holding on to! What you say and do has to have a new starting point. To be converted is a radical decision, without a doubt, because in the words of the Bible, it is “that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:24. The new man’s standard is not what serves me and mine best, but what is of benefit to those around me.
What is your goal in life?
In the Bible, Jesus has many names. “The Good Shepherd” is one of them. The Shepherd makes sure that there are green pastures, He looks after the flock and protects them from danger. When you are converted and choose to let Jesus be your shepherd, you will experience that He has a genuine care for you. He knows what kind of nourishment and guidance you need in order to come to the place where He wants to lead you.