He sat by the water as words of another began to penetrate his heart. Surrounded by a whirl wind of emotions, he tried to sort out all of the new information that had been presented. Everything he had ever known had been changed. The customs and traditions that he took part in for the last 40 years of his life had now been considered void, and he struggled within himself to make sence of it all. How could he change his lifestyle of devotion to his Creator after being submerged in the practices and teachings of his ancestors? How could he start anew and relearn a new way of worship after his way had been written on his heart for so long? The words cut deep into his being, and that day, he became a new creature, washed by the blood of the one whom he persecuted, in the very same river he sat beside as the good news of the gospel filled his thoughts. He was no longer a Jew, he had been given a new name, a name that would ultimately save him, he became a Christian.
This scene was very common after the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. There were thousands upon thousands of Jews and Gentiles alike, hearing the powerful words of the Gospel, the story of Jesus, and what his purpose was for mankind. The book of Acts is full of conversion stories, and examples of what was redefined as true worship. Many people were asked to change what has always been right. Think about this for just a moment, the final and absolute truth had been revealed to you, and it is different then what you in your heart have been practicing, what would you do? Some accepted the news of the Gospel and became devoted Christians, some let it roll off their hearts and continued with their pagan practices, others, decided to stay in the comfort zone of the old law, and continued on with what they have always known. We are all creatures of habit, with a strong desire to “be right”, how difficult would it be for you to admit that your religious practices are obsolete, and you need to change? We all experience this today. We get together with friends of different denominations and begin to debate the “practices” of one another’s faith, and try to push our beliefs on the other because we are just certain that we are the ones who are right. We do not even pause for a moment to question our own.
I urge each and every one of you to challenge your religion. I ask you to search your souls and the teachings that you grew up with, or the teachings that you have just recently came to discover, and test them with the Word of God. I suggest you start where Christianity began, in the book of Acts, study the book, and the practices established in the book. Test the order of your worship, and compare it to the way the Christians worshiped in Acts. The book of Acts is the story of the first Christians, and how the apostles, inspired by the Lord, taught them to worship. Are you worshipping in this same manner? The book of Acts also describes how others came to know the Gospel, and their conversion accounts. Acts 2, 8, 9, 16, and 19 are examples of how others put on Christ, compare it to your conversion and ask yourself if yours was similar.
The Bible is our truth and our guide to heaven. All too often we rely too much on those whom we trust the most to tell us what the Bible says, please friends, search it for yourself. Look deep into yourself and question what has always been right in your life. In 1 John 4:1 it states “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” We must put down the commentaries, the words of our favorite preacher, elder, pastor, priest, mom, and dad, and search the scriptures for truths in Christianity. We are also told to “test all things, hold onto what is good.” In 1 Thessalonians 5:21. Test your faith, is it practiced according to the scriptures? If so, hold onto it, if not, you must find it in your heart to let go and start anew it takes strength to do this, but we can ask for this strength from our Creator. Study God’s word, each and every day. Find new truths and compare them with the ones you have been taught and keep your heart open to change if needed. Pay close attention to the different books in the Bible as to who they were being written to, and what they were being written about, in this way, you can keep a clear focus on the lessons being taught, and in doing this, you will be able to appreciate the message more and apply the message better in your life. It is my prayer that this writing has caused you to take a closer look into what you have been practicing. The Word tells us to test the things in our lives. I believe we must constantly test the truths others are trying to teach us. As humans, we are far from perfect, and we often make mistakes unintentionally, consider this fact, and strive to write the truth on your hearts, the truth of the Gospel of Christ, and his plan for us all.