"Submit yourselves therefore to God. [Do not resist God] Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7
Magnets and steel filings can be used to illustrate what Jesus is saying when He said,
The magnet attracts every single filing and the filing has no power to change how much it is drawn, but if it is attached to something else then it will not go anywhere.
The closer a filing gets to the magnet the more like the magnet it becomes and will itself draw others.
We are much like those steel filings and Jesus is much like that magnet. Because Jesus was lifted up and died on the cross He now draws everyone to Himself. We can see for ourselves that He really does love us, but not all of us will let go of the things around us. Just because we are drawn to Him does not mean that we will surrender to Him.
It is imperative that we surrender (submit) to Jesus and not hold onto anything or anyone other than Him. Let nothing keep us from Jesus!
Steps to Jesus
Have you ever wished that there were a set of steps to follow that would lead you to Jesus and to heaven? OK, here's what YOU have to do:
Do not resist the love of Jesus. (In other words, submit to Jesus, put your trust, your faith in Him. Tell Him that you are OK with Him doing whatever needs to be done in your life to make you His follower and fit for Heaven!)
(See step #1)
Actually, "submitting" is something that you DON'T do. On the other hand "resisting" is something that you DO. But that's it, don't resist Jesus. Do not resist His love. Again, you have to be OK with Him making the changes in you that are for your own good. And when He asks you to do something, obey and don't resist. (You can see this "not resisting" idea in a skit. Click here.)
The Bible says, "Submit yourselves therefore to God [Do not resist God.]. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7. A quote from another book says this same thing in a different way, "The sinner may resist [God's] love, may refuse to be drawn to Christ; but if he does not resist he will be drawn to Jesus." Steps to Christ
But, do not make the mistake of thinking that you can sit back and do nothing! Jesus will begin the process and as He does He will start asking you to do things for Him. If you refuse to do what He is asking then you are actually resisting Him. We either resist God's love, or we do not resist His love.
This same thought is recorded in Matthew 12:30 where Jesus said, "He that is not with me is against me...".
To illustrate this thought, think of a race between two wagons. If you chose not to help push the wagon of Jesus then you are helping the other team. (Are you just sitting, or are you pushing?)
In John 15:5 Jesus said, "Without me you can do nothing..." and He literally means nothing. We cannot even make ourselves "willing" to become like Jesus unless God gives us a willing heart, so if we do not resist God's love He will do everything for us. This is what the Bible calls "God's Grace". This is "Grace" in action. It's an abundant life that we do not deserve, but the kind of life God wants us to have. Jesus said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [ it ] more abundantly." John 10:10
So, do not resist when He prompts you to admit that you are a sinner. Do not resist when He prompts you to ask for help from Him. Do not resist when He prompts you to repent and confess your sins. Do not resist the changes Jesus wants to make in your life. Do not resist and Jesus will do everything!
The fact that you are reading this right now is proof that Jesus is still drawing you, and still loves you, so why not continue to get to know Him? Why not trust Him completely? Why not allow Him to give you a heart like His, kind and loving?
And if you want to become a Christian, but do not know how, just tell Jesus that you are willing for Him to make you into one of His followers. (He will even give you the DEEP desire that you really want, if you ask!)
If you really want to become a follower of Jesus Christ then spend time everyday talking to Him and reading about Him, and do NOT resist when He reminds you to come and talk with Him. This is the most important "step" in not resisting Him. He loves you very, very much and when you love someone you want the absolute best for them. So do not resist His love, just let Jesus make you into the person you really want to be anyway!
There are no 'magic words' to say to become a Christian. Remember, praying is actually talking to God, not just saying words. But if you have never talked to God before, here is a simple prayer you may want to pray. Read it over to yourself first. If you agree then read it again, but this time read it to God from your heart. Make these words your very own, or change them to reflect how YOU feel:
Holy Father in Heaven,
I want to become a Christian. I want to become a real follower of Christ. I believe that Jesus Christ, Your only begotten Son, came to Earth and was born. I believe that He lived among us to show us who You are, and that He allowed Himself to be killed to pay for my sins. I believe that He was raised from the dead. And from what I have already seen, I know that I can trust Jesus with my life.
Right now I accept Jesus as my Savior and as the Lord of my life. Father, I thank You for allowing Jesus to come and to die so that I can live. Please help me where I might be having problems understanding and believing, not only in Your Son, but also in trusting You to do the right thing all the time.
You say in Your Holy Word that if I confess my sins and ask for forgiveness You are faithful and will forgive my sins and remember them no more, that You will not hold my sins against me and that someday You will give me everlasting life. Father, I know that I have sinned against You. I know that I have broken Your laws. I repent of my sins, and I ask for Your forgiveness.
Jesus, I thank You for loving me so much that you willingly came and died for me while I was still a sinner and had not yet accepted You. Thank You for forgiving my sins and for bringing me to a saving knowledge of You. Please bless me and teach me how to pray. Guide me and increase my faith. Make me sure in the knowledge that I can rely on You, no matter what may come.
Please help me not to resist your love for me anymore, while at the same time please help me to resist the Devil. Continue to draw me and make me into the person you want me to be. Please send Your Holy Spirit to guide me, to lead me and counsel me. Send Your holy angels to gather around me and protect me from the Devil and his evil forces, and do not let me be deceived. Help me to grow in wisdom and in knowledge. Teach me how to love You and Your ways. Give me the strength and courage to remember that I cannot change my ways, but that only You can change me. I cannot do it unless You help me. Teach me to hate sin, but to love the sinner just like You do.
Lead me to a good church where I can learn more about You from Your Holy Word, and where I can learn Your will for me, and where I can learn more about You from real Christians. Help me to keep in mind that this church is a place for sinners like me to learn about YOU.
I praise Your holy name! I praise the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ! And I praise You and thank You for Your Holy Spirit! Father, I ask these things in the name of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for hearing me and accepting me as Your child.
If you earnestly prayed for forgiveness and asked God to make you into a follower of Christ then you are now a Christian! And as a Christian, you have obligations. If you find that the Bible tells you to do something and you choose to ignore it then you are resisting Him, not submitting to Him.
You must sincerely "be willing to be made willing". You must be OK with Jesus making changes in your life, be OK for Him to change your ways. Otherwise you did not really mean what you just prayed, but He will even help you to be sincere if you ask. When you feel tempted to sin, immediately ask God for grace and strength to resist the Devil. Get away from the temptation if possible. Sometimes, this means you may have to avoid people or places you use to enjoy.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that you can sit back and do nothing while God does everything for you. That is not submitting to Him.
GO JOIN A CHURCH! The biggest mistake you can make at this point is to accept Christ and then try to "go it alone." (But don't just believe everything they teach just because they are a "church". Listen to what they say and then study for yourself to see if what they teach is really in the Bible.) The writer of Hebrews tells us, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Heb. 10:24, 25 (NLT)
A hot coal will not stay hot for long if taken out of the fire and so it is with the new Christian. You will not stay “on fire” for Christ for very long if you do not join with others who are also “on fire” for Christ.
Ask God to help you find a church that is really “on fire”, one that teaches the truths found in the Bible. Many churches claim to be Bible-based, but may only teach a small portion of what is found in God’s Holy Word. You could spend your entire life searching for the right church and never find it, but if you ask God to guide you then He will. Just remember that He may take you to one church to learn a specific doctrine, and then He may “send” you to another for more learning, but He is still guiding you. Some of us are not ready for the whole truth just yet, and so He may take His time to help us get it right. Ask God for guidance and then trust Him, keeping in mind that if you TRUST Jesus you will do what He asks of you. Otherwise it is not really trust but presumption. (For more information on selecting a church see the section entitled, Why so many churches? )
If you do not resist God's love, here is a condensed list of what the grace of JESUS will do for you:
- Jesus will bring you to the place, and may have already done this, where you will realize and admit the fact that you are a sinner, that you cannot remove your past sins and that you cannot change your own heart and make yourself holy. (You cannot even GIVE your heart to Jesus, but you can ask Him to take it.) Do not resist.*
- Jesus will bring you to the place where you will ask for help. He wants you to say, "Lord, I believe, help me where I am having trouble believing" or to just say, "Lord, save me" like Peter did when he began to sink in the water. It must be your constant desire to be saved and changed, but He will even give you that desire. Ask! Do not resist.*
- Jesus will bring you to the place where you will believe in His love for you, in His desire for your happiness, in His death on the Cross. Do not resist.*
- Jesus will bring you to the place where you will want to be pure like Him and sorry for what you have done wrong. (This is called repentance.) Do not resist.*
- Jesus will bring you to the place where you will not only feel sorry for what you have done, but you will ask Him to let you start over, to forgive your past mistakes. (This is called confessing.) Do not resist.*
- When Jesus forgives you He erases all of your mistakes and gives you a clean record. Do not wait to feel that you are made whole, but say, "I believe it; it is so, not because I feel it, but because God has promised." (This is called trust, and Jesus will even help you to trust Him.) Do not resist.*
- Jesus will bring you to the place where you will want to be baptized, because He asks you to. Do not resist.*
- Knowing that you are a forgiven sinner will make you so happy that you will not be able to keep it from being visible to others. People will want to know what made the difference in you and when they ask you about it then you will have the opportunity to share what Jesus has done in your life. You don't need to know everything about the Gospel of Jesus, just tell them what He has done for you. Do not resist.*
- Jesus will bring you to the place where you will really love God. (This is the First Great Commandment.) Do not resist.*
- Jesus will bring you to the place where you will actually love every person, not just the nice people. This will be a love that will give of self to help others. (This is the Second Great Commandment.) Do not resist.*
- Jesus will bring you to the place where you will want to keep His laws (all of them), not because you feel you have to but because you love Him. (This is called obedience.) Do not resist.*
- When Jesus is ready, He will take you to live with Him and give you life, never ending life, abundant in good things. He will give you life so good you cannot even imagine it. All of this, just because He loves you and wants you to be HAPPY! Do not resist.* (For more on Heaven click here.)
* Do not make the mistake of thinking that there is nothing to do once you have chosen not to resist God's love. After you let Jesus take your heart there's LOTS to do, but HE will give you the strength you need to do the things HE is asking you to do.
Remember that those who don't make any effort, those who just sit waiting for the Holy Spirit to force them to do what Jesus is lovingly asking them to do, are actually resisting His love and "will perish in darkness".
"Many have an idea that they must do some part of the work alone. They have trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sin, but now they seek by their own efforts to live aright. But every such effort must fail. Jesus says, 'Without Me ye can do nothing.' " Steps to Christ, page 69
"...without me ye can do nothing." John 15:5
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. [Do not resist God] Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7
"In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness,and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone." 2 Peter 1:5-7 (NLT)
"You are not able, of yourself, to bring your purposes and desires and inclinations into submission to the will of God; but if you are 'willing to be made willing,' God will accomplish the work for you, even 'casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.' 2 Corinthians 10:5." Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, page 142
"When the mind dwells upon self, it is turned away from Christ, the source of strength and life. Hence it is Satan's constant effort to keep the attention diverted from the Savior and thus prevent the union and communion of the soul with Christ. The pleasures of the world, life's cares and perplexities and sorrows, the faults of others, or your own faults and imperfections--to any or all of these he will seek to divert the mind. Do not be misled by his devices." Steps to Christ, page 71
"We can no more repent without the Spirit of Christ to awaken the conscience than we can be pardoned without Christ." Steps to Christ, page 26
"It is impossible for us, of ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them." Steps to Christ, page 18
"... no man can empty himself of self. We can only consent for Christ to accomplish the work. Then the language of the soul will be, Lord, take my heart; for I cannot give it." Christ's Object Lessons, page 159
"You are not able, of yourself, to bring your purposes and desires and inclinations into submission to the will of God; but if you are "willing to be made willing," God will accomplish the work for you..." Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, page 142
"...the more we know of God, the more intense will be our happiness." The Desire of Ages, page 331
"strength to resist evil is best gained by aggressive service ..." Acts of the Apostles, page 105
"The Lord specifies no conditions except that you hunger for His mercy, desire His counsel, and long for His love. "Ask." The asking, makes it manifest that you realize your necessity; and if you ask in faith you will receive. The Lord has pledged His word, and it cannot fail." Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, page 130
"Seek, and you shall find. God is seeking you, and the very desire you feel to come to Him is but the drawing of His Spirit. Yield to that drawing." Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, page 131
"The child cannot, by any anxiety or power of its own, add to its stature. No more can you, by anxiety or effort of yourself, secure spiritual growth." Steps to Christ, page 68
"Those who make no decided effort, but simply wait for the Holy Spirit to compel them to action, will perish in darkness. You are not to sit still and do nothing in the work of God." Last Day Events, page 196
For an in-depth study of this subject be sure to read the little book, Steps to Christ.