Such a challenge to change would seem overwhelming for most of us. The Good news is that there is a new relationship and power; ours for free if we trust Jesus and make up our mind to be committed.
1 John 4:4 says, Greater is the One who is in you than anything that is in this world.
Paul says (2 Corinthians 5:17), if anyone knows and trusts Jesus, he or she is a new person – the old is finished – a whole new life has come.
Jesus said – Look, now I am always with you.
As well as this, you will find new relationships with others who believe, who will strengthen and encourage you. That’s why the Church, with all its weaknesses, is so important. Being a loner is just too vulnerable. You need other Christians (eg. Mentor, pastor, older Christian, professional counsellors) and we all need you and your unique abilities, experiences and insights.
Because the Christian life is about love and communication, it’s hard to do it without lots of friendship with others who believe the same.
In fact a sociologist, Rodney Stark (in a book Religion, Deviance and Social control) studied peoples’ problems with bad habits (or deviances as the Uni people call them – addictions to violence, drugs, sex, etc). They found that the only thing that consistently transformed people was a real faith experience AND a fellowship in a faith community. Billions of dollars spent had made little difference to people with self-destructive habits.
They found that having a faith experience had better results, but still not enough. They found that those who found faith AND became part of a community of faith (church) had a remarkable record for being transformed – leaving the destructive lifestyles behind.
It doesn’t mean you have to despise those who have been your mates before, but if they have a lifestyle that undermines your new values, it’s hard to see how you can rearrange your life without support. In fact, once you have trusted Jesus, you have spiritually become part of the church, and your special brothers and sisters are there. Of course, like any family there are some weird ones in the Jesus family. But of course, the Good News is that we are truly loved and we need to love even the odd ones.
Like bible translations, there are a huge variety of churches. Do some hunting, but remember, if you find the perfect church it won’t be perfect once you go there.
Seriously, there are big churches, churches with beautiful rituals for those who like that. There are churches with emphasis on youth. There are excitement type churches. There are deeply thinking churches, and there are churches that are very involved in social care and standing up for the poor. When someone tells me they can’t find a church… I just wonder.
Fellowship is life enhancing. Find your lost faith mates. Share the dream. Share the love, and share the adventure of walking with Jesus.
So that when this LOVE COMES, it STAYS and GROWS through JESUS.