20 Years a Christian: Strange New World

Becoming a Christian is a lot like the movie, “The Matrix.” When Neo is propositioned by Morpheus, he is given a red pill, and a blue pill. The red pill shows him the real world that was hidden from him that was invisible. If Neo was to take the blue pill, he goes back to the world in which he came out of, his life would stay the same, and nothing would change. Life as he knew it keeps on going.

Every Christian is given a choice, similar to Neo in the Matrix. Once you understand salvation, and come to Jesus, you are given a choice to follow Him, or… go back to life as you knew before. Hell, is everyone’s default state. All sinners go to hell when they die. What true belief in Jesus Christ as you spotless lamb of God that takes away your sin was hope of eternal life. It was God’s only hope and offer. Nothing else would be a better offering than God’s one and only Son.

When I got red-pilled

When I got, “red pilled” with the Holy Spirit, I knew I couldn’t go back to what I knew before. I knew abortion was murder, homosexuality was wrong, the Roman Catholic Church and it’s Catechism was at odds with the Holy Bible, and I was in deep trouble. But when I got saved, my whole worldview changed in an instant. There was a clear defined line of what was good and bad.

Salvation is simple. It is a work that the Holy Spirit that opens the person’s eyes. You repent of your sin and put your faith alone in Christ alone for forgiveness of that sin. But what happens to that new convert is when his or her eyes are opened, the whole world in which they live is now turned upside down. Things they liked and cared about are now frowned upon or put on a shelf. Places they went to for fun now doesn’t hold any meaning to them. Television viewing became less and less. After my wife got saved, we stopped watching it all together, and even cancelled the satellite service and our home phone. We were more interested in YouTube and learning new things, especially when it came to spiritual things.

But it wasn’t the good and bad that was flipped on it’s axis. Before I got saved I hated to read; after, I couldn’t stop. No matter what I was doing (watching television, listening to music, going to the bathroom) I was reading something about Jesus. Whether it was a book on evangelism, or The Bible. It drove my wife, Lisa, crazy.

When the Holy Spirit opens your eyes, you realize that there really is a spiritual war going on around you that you didn’t see before. Even though we can’t see angels and demons, we can see the effects of them, and the damage inflicted. Buildings are not torn to rubble or tanks blown up, but you can see the devastation of someone’s life not following the Lord, or a weak brother in the faith leaving said faith to pursue self and the flesh. C.S. Lewis’ book, “The Screwtape Letters,” or Frank Peretti’s. “This Present Darkness” gives an eerie version of the things we cannot see. Fiction or not, we know there is a war going on around us. The new Christian is aware, and his or her eyes are opened more every day.

Despite what our friends or family say from our B.C. (Before Christ) days, that we are weird and crazy, and they may even think you hate them or don’t like being around them. That’s not true, at least for me. I may not have shown it, but I actually loved them more. It just grieved me because I had the cure they needed; they didn’t see themselves as sick. I wanted to see them in Heaven on day; they wanted to see me at the bar. But, like Neo in the Matrix, if he had parents and friends, there’s no way he would be able to describe anything he experienced after taking the red pill. He couldn’t. They would have to experience it for themselves. This new life is strange for the Christian; this new Christian is strange for their B.C. relationships.

My new world

Though becoming saved is simple, that it is faith alone in Christ alone for salvation, there are things that you don’t know After getting saved, the following day (Monday) I took Wayne’s advice to get a Bible at a local Christian Bookstore. Sounds easy enough, but it wasn’t. I found a place in the mall on the other side of Des Moines, which was pretty close to where I worked. So after the job was over, I headed over to purchase what I had hoped would help me in my newfound faith, and give me some direction as to what I was to do.

I asked the girl behind the counter for The Bible and she pointed to a wall of books the length of the store. Walking over I looked and saw: KJV, NKJV, NIV, NASB, and list went on and on. After several trips to the counter I finally told her, “Listen, I just got ‘saved’ yesterday and I have no idea what I am doing. All I know is that I’m starving and need the Bible.”

Another problem I had was I couldn’t understand a word of the Bible I had read a week before in a hotel room. I can’t find one, can’t read one, and how is this going to work out. I got out to my truck in the mall parking lot and started reading it, and understood every word. How is this possible? The Holy Spirit was teaching me at the speed of light.

I was a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. Even though I spent several years in an out-of-state college in another time zone, when I became a new believer I had never felt so alone. My whole world was different. It was turned upside down. Everywhere I went was strange to me. It was like looking at my life from the outside and seeing it completely differently from someone else’s perspective. Maybe that was the case with me. I was seeing the world through God’s eyes, and not my own.

If a person gets run over by a logging truck, there is significant damage. Broken bones, missing limbs, and a body that is crushed. Not only that, but the psychological damage if a person happens to live. So which is bigger, a logging truck or God? Do you honestly believe that if you got hit with the gospel, understood it, received it, and your eyes are opened — that nothing would be changed in you? To be truly born-again, and not be changed physically, mentally, or spiritually by the Creator would be laughable, or impossible. The person would never have received Him in the first place.

“Be honest. He knows more than you could imagine.”

Before Neo enters the room where Morpheus will offer the red or blue pill, Trinity stops him and says, “Let me give you once piece of advice. Be honest. He knows more than you could imagine.” That’s key coming to Jesus and receiving Him as Lord and Savior. God knows when you’re full of crap; and He knows when you’re being honest. He knew I was serious when I stood in the middle of the road that Saturday night; and He led me to Wayne the next day. Just be honest, because you can’t fool an all knowing, all powerful, God who is everywhere and loves you enough to die in your place. Like I said before, I just wanted to know Him.

But, as Christians who share our faith, like Wayne, we need to be honest with those who want to come to Christ and tell them that their lives will (and should) be different. He gives you a new heart with new desires (2 Corinthians 5:17); to put off the old man and accept the new. We should disciple them, help them find a good Bible-believing and teaching church. Those around them will see them in a whole new light, and to expect it. But one thing is sure, no matter how bad things got — I never regretted taking the red pill.

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