Mr. Spencer:

First of all, I should tell you that in your "No True Christian is Proud" article, you misquoted the lyrics to amazing grace, where you said, "How precious was that pride to me," rather than "how precious was that grace to me". That was very confusing; had me scratching my head until I saw the real words!

Next; how do I believe? How do I repent? How come I don't feel like I've become better after trying these, and why am I not producing good works? I've been a Christian for 9 months, and here are some things that have frustrated me:

1. I try to be obedient (John 14:23), but it makes me feel guilty and

incomplete oftentimes. 2. I don't know how to be obedient; for instance, should I correct others when they sin (Ezekiel 3:19), or is there a beam in my eye that needs removing first (Matthew 7:5)? Whenever I try to correct others for sin, I feel self-righteous and judgmental (which they also accuse me of). Plus I don't do it out of love; I do it out of fear. But when I don't do it, I feel guilty for not doing my Christian duty.

3. What comes first; striving to be obedient to God's commands (While discovering how I fall short), or justifying faith? C.S. Lewis wrote that for some, this faith comes in a blinding flash (St Paul, John Bunyan), and for others it's a process over time, and that it comes through trying your very hardest to be obedient to God, and failing miserably...then realizing your spiritual poverty, turning humbly in desparation to God for His mercy. His reasoning is that until you discover firsthand your wretchedness, you will never depend upon God fully, trusting only in Christ's righteousness for your salvation. Other Christians lead me to think that it's wrong to try to be obedient to God without first aquiring this faith, because it's "trying to earn" your salvation through works. And that's exactly how it feels when I try to obey; but how else to aquire this faith?

4. (The worst): I experience times where I'm just going through the motions of reading the Bible and praying, and have no real desire to know God.

Lee

  Lee,

The process of coming to Christ is just that--a process, a journey.

On the other hand, we speak of being born again as an instantaneous act. So how do we reconcile these two thoughts. John Bunyan (_Pilgrim's Progress_) described salvation as something that began in the mind of God and included His wooing of sinners, their acceptance of Him and reconciliation with Him, and their eventual life of bliss in heaven. So there is a timeline of salvation. Somewhere along that timeline, the sinner wakes up to what God is doing--he "gets it!" We can all that moment the born again experience.

I can never tell exactly where someone is along that timeline. Their conscience begins to be awakened to God. They begin to look toward Him. They may even see Him, but not yet _know_ Him.

Henrietta C. Mears said something like this: "You walk along the road with Jesus and at some point He stops you, looks into your eyes and says 'I am God.'" And you get it fully.

I hope you will continue to question as you now are. Here are some more thoughts along these lines:

(read the first two articles)

Also, if you have not already, read the rest of the articles this page:

I would consel you not to drive yourself crazy trying to figure out everything right away. Walk with Jesus and let the Holy Spirit lead you into all truth. Rejoice in your salvation. Be glad that you are heaven bound. Be glad you have the deposit of the Holy Spirit within you right now as a guarantee of the good things to come.

These words from the hymn "Great is They Faithfulness" will be a source of joy to you:

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Let me know if I can answer any specific questions.

Jim