Are you being prepared for conversion? God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble (Jas 4:6). For those who humble themselves before Almighty God, there is abundant grace. The great problem with people who can solve their own problems is that they can solve their own problems. This is fine when it comes to the lawnmower. It is deadly when it comes to salvation.
When a person thinks he is good before God, it is practically impossible to talk with him about God’s gracious salvation. He sees no need for such talk. His course of self-improvement is far more interesting to him. Any tips you may have on how he can better himself, well, these are welcome; but any suggestion regarding his sin and poor standing before God is not believed.
Coming to the end of yourself is a grace from God. On this trajectory, the person comes to the dead end in every area of her life. She is broken. There is no desire to find the detour leading back to this same spot. Turning around and heading back to the last rest stop of sin is also no longer desired. The pilgrim is exhausted and exasperated with life. This is a real frustration, but there is no longer a desire to fly into the window over and over again.
The voices are still beckoning “one more college try,” but everything seems futile. The marriage has failed. The job market has dried up. The kids are not talking with you. There are no friends to come and keep you company. Sitting in sackcloth and ashes, alone, you glance to the heavens, “What have I done to deserve this?” In truth, you have done everything to deserve this, and it is only mercy that keeps you from Job’s status.
The only thing to do when you come to the end of yourself is to cry. Jesus taught that a person must become like a child when it comes to dealing with Him (Mt 18:3). This is mostly seen in the trust a child exercises when dealing with others, including strangers. Children are small and dependent upon adults to help them. This makes them very vulnerable to the wicked people who can take advantage of them. When they are hurt, they cry without hesitation. Jesus is a stranger to you, but you must become vulnerable. It is ok to cry.
When a person stops at the dead end and hears the wind whisper, “Be still and know that I am God (Ps 46:10),” then she is ready. Previously, when the same message came to her, she was too busy trying to keep her head above water. The psychologist told her, “Think of yourself,” but now she is thinking of someone else. This time it is not thoughts of revenge against those who she believes put her in this position. She is honest this time. It was all self-induced. Her resolution: she cannot save herself this time.
Crying needs to be accompanied with crying out to God (Joel 2:32; Rom 10:13). Alone is never a reality. God is nearer than one thinks. God is Spirit (Jn 4:24), and the Spirit of the Lord is our ever-present help in time of need (Heb 4:16). The voices in your head are ever working against this simple act of faith. To acknowledge God is the breakthrough.
Man in sin does not wish to acknowledge God (Rom 1:18). He will carry on as if God is not present (Ps 14:1; 53:1). It is like the person walking toward you in the opposite direction, and who will not acknowledge you for whatever reason. He knows you are there, but he pretends to be occupied, so he does not have to make eye contact and speak a simple greeting. God is there and you know it. You have always known it, but you refuse to start the conversation. Why?
The problem is wrong information. Your whole life people have been talking to you about God. Everyone in your life has had an opinion about God, and this has made you a theologian. You have formed your own opinion about God, as a result. Most of your opinion is wrong, born of wrong information.
If only you knew how close you were to deliverance. In the jumble of wrong ideas, a smidgen of truth is given to you. You asked for it when you cried out to God. You may be unaware of what you were asking for, but you were asking for the knowledge of the truth. You may not be aware of the river of lies that has always been there, but the evidence has certainly been with you. Lies, lies, lies is what has come your way. The people in your life have promised you good things, and they have all become sour. This has made you sour.
The truth will set you free (Jn 8:32). The knowledge of the truth will be your salvation. Why is it not your salvation already? Because truth has a name, and you have been taught not to trust the name. It is a lie from hell. Trust anything, or trust anyone except His name. We are talking about the true and only nonesuch. But you have trusted and continue to trust the liars with their lies (Jn 8:44). When will you trust the only name under heaven, given among men, where a man must be saved?
You are stuck at the dead end. You must focus. There is only one thing to do here. Listen to the wind, “Be still.” Stop listening to your heart, which is most wicked and deceitful (Jer 17:9) You are not after a feeling. You need the knowledge of the truth (Jn 8:32). Jesus Christ is the truth (Jn 14:6). It is His name that is above every other name (Phil 2:9). He alone is the Savior (Titus 1:3–4; 2:10, 13; 3:4, 6).
You have spent your whole life resisting this fact. You have pushed away those who would help you understand, but finally, even they are welcome to join you because you are tired of the lies and the liars. The blind can only lead the blind into the pit (Mt 15:14). How many times have they led you here? “Enough!” You will have no more. It is time to listen to the fool.
You let the fool speak, and he marvels that you do not resist him. He becomes very excited. He has so much to tell you. You are at the dead end, and you realize this is where the fool has been living for quite a while. He gives you the exact date of his arrival in this place he now calls home. You marvel that he is not embarrassed at his circumstances. He is more than contented in this troubled spot. You detect a peculiar joy in his voice.
The people and the voices return. There is suddenly an intense interest in you from those who have always been there for you. Why the interest? It is because of the fool. You suddenly have the awareness you are in a war zone. People are vying for your soul. What will you do? Which way will you go? Who will you trust?
You know the way back to the city of sin. Your old companions are ready to live it up with you, again. They love your company. They have been your savior so many times you have lost count, but why do you need to be saved again this time? Why has your salvation from this depressive funk never stuck? Is there a permanent salvation? The fool insists on it. You finally ask, “What must I do to be saved?”
First, recognize your plight will never change and you can never change your plight. You are stuck on a circular racetrack that leads to nowhere but here…the dead end. Salvation is about being removed from this endless loop. First, you must stop. The dead end is not a pit stop to keep going around and around. You must resolve to stop, turn off your engine, and wait.
Second, understand you are an offense to the God you pretend is not there. You feel it, but you have always lived in denial of it. If there was a precursor to eternal hell, you have been living it. The voices tell you if you just end it, then you will finally be at rest. The fool tells you it will be far worse and never ending. You only have a small foretaste of the torment…but torment, nonetheless. Can you acknowledge you are a habitual criminal before a just judge? While you wait at the dead end, contemplate your sins (Rom 3:23; 5:12; 6:23; 1 Jn 3:4).
Third, confess you deserve just punishment for your crimes against a holy God. This is your life. It is miserable for you, but it is putrid in God’s evaluation. You have lived in the cesspool all these years. Cry out to Him, but cry with words of confession and repentance for your ocean of sins. How can He possibly forgive you…all of them?
Fourth, listen to God, instead of the voices and the liars. He cancelled the debt of sin, which He paid in full for His elect people. Your ways of deliverance and the ways of others have always led you to this dead end. His promise is to lead you to freedom. He is bringing many sons to glory. Is He calling you? What does He want from you? Listen…because faith comes by hearing. He is making you hear His Word. His Word is true because He is true. Wait and listen.
Fifth, trust Him. The only person you have never trusted in this world of lies is the one person who cannot lie. He cannot lie because He is the truth (Jn 14:6; Rom 3:4). Jesus Christ is calling. He is the one speaking through the fool. The fool talks funny because he is speaking the Word of God to you. The fool has the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16). God has given him the very heart transplant that you need (Ezek 36:26). His new heart speaks of heaven and heavenly things. The fool denounces this world you have cherished so much. He claims it is all vanity (Eccl 1:2). The fool says to you, “trust Christ.”
Sixth, you need the knowledge of Christ in order to trust Christ. This means you need to go to the only book that can teach you about Christ. You have nothing else going for you. Read the book. The book is the Bible. It is God’s written Word of truth. When you hold it, you are holding the last will and testament of the heavenly benefactor. Somebody died and left the children of God unfathomable riches. Open the book and discover what is the inheritance of God’s adopted children. All the spiritual blessings of heaven belong to the heirs of salvation (Rom 8:17; Eph 1:3). Read all about it.
The Son of God was sent from heaven. God the Father decreed from eternity to save some people from their sins and the judgment they deserve (Rev 13:8; 17:8). Jesus Christ came into the world to live without sin (Heb 4:15), and to die on the Cross in payment for sins (1 Pet 1:18–19; 2:24). This is God’s way. Your way has led you to this dead end over and over again. There is no salvation in your ways. It is His salvation that is the way out.
God the Father chose some for salvation (Jn 1:12–13; Rom 9:23; 2 Thess 2:13). Jesus Christ came to die for these chosen ones (Mt 1:21; Rom 5:8; Eph 5:25). The Spirit of God calls these people to come to Christ (Mt 11:28). Is He calling you? He makes people willing to come to Christ (Ps 110:3), by persuading them to trust Christ. He is not forcing you, but He is convincing you of the truth. Learn the truth that is Jesus Christ. What else can you do? He is the only thing you have not investigated. He is your discovery waiting to happen. Your circumstances are sure to change…again, but He is always here at the dead end. He never changes. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8).
When you are ready, having come to the end of yourself, you will find Jesus Christ ready to receive you. He is worthy of your attention. Cry out to Him. He will hear you. He will in no way cast you out if you come to Him (Jn 6:37). He is your only faithful friend (Rev 3:14; 19:11). Get to know Him. Set up an appointment with Him. He is available. Tell Him your troubles and you will discover He already knows. Ask Him what you should do? He will tell you, “At this juncture, the best course is to trust Me.” Trust Him.
David E. Norczyk
Spokane Valley, Washington
May 9, 2021