And the buck stops here (part 5)

But true freedom is not the freedom as the world defines it to be. Freedom is not freedom to sleep around, lie and cheat, get drunk, indulge in drugs and generally live for your own desires. This is not freedom - living for yourself does not guarantee long-term happiness for yourself and those around you.

Your freedom to sleep around provides a broken home for others. Lying and cheating can provide you with a black eye at least or a prison sentence (or retribution) at worst. The dangers and evils of drink and drugs are well documented elsewhere. Living for yourself in these ways is a sin and, as the Bible tells us, sin means death, your death.

True freedom is freedom from all of this! Once you accept Jesus as your Messiah, your saviour, then, I'm afraid, you're going to have to turn your back on all of this. That's the bad news ... for some. But the good news is that, once you have made this decision, you won't want to return to these ways! This needs some explaining.

You've heard the stories, surely? The hardened criminal, heart as black as the midnight sky, is tramping through the dimly-lit streets looking for prey. Then suddenly he's zapped by some invisible force. His sins explode into life in front of him like an evil parade, as he's burdened by guilt and shame at the sheer depravity of his soul. Then he gets up as a light, bright and all-revealing, sears through his body and he opens his life to the redemptive power of the cross that burns like coals in a brazier in the cool night air. He is changed in the twinkling of an eye and, driven by the new insistence within his being, he rushes to the local police station to hand himself in to a grinning sergeant.

Well I suppose it can happen like that, though it mostly doesn't. But there is always a change.

This is because, when you ask Jesus to come into your life, that's exactly what God does ... physically. God, the Holy Spirit, begins to finish the work that he'd started on you further back than you'd ever know.

It was the Holy Spirit that sent those Christians to you earlier in your life, or laid you low last month to give you a chance to review your sad life, or put this book into your hand. The Holy Spirit is God working in this world, drawing people to himself, convicting people of their sins, bringing people into a loving relationship with God. It is the Holy Spirit that lives in you, once you make your decision to go God's way.