“Onward, Christian soldiers! Marching as to war, with the word of Jesus going on before!” Everyone sets aside their hymnals and services are closed with a prayer.
It is the end of the final Holy Day service for the Days of Unleavened Bread. You definitely feel like a soldier “marching as to war”—ready to tackle any problem thrown your way.
Leading up to Passover, you diligently examined yourself. You learned lessons about the nature of sin from deleavening your home.
Then you renewed your commitment to God by taking the symbols of bread and wine. You spent a week eating bread without leavening, and meditated on leading a sin-free life.
You are excited for another year in God’s Way. While there will undoubtedly be trials and tribulations, you feel better prepared than ever to take them on.
Time passes. Days turn into weeks. You examine yourself once again. When you do, you still see sins you thought you had left behind. Frustrated, you think, Why can’t I overcome this?
You may even wonder, How converted am I, really? Day after day you find yourself spiritually listless and lethargic. Your spiritual life lacks zip, zest and drive, and you notice your zeal is flagging. It seems like you are just going through the motions.
Confused, you think, What happened? Where did I go wrong?
You desperately desire to move out of the spiritual doldrums. You want to get out of your current rut and move forward. But how can you do this?
By supercharging your conversion!
“Except You Be Converted”
Oxford Dictionaries defines the word “supercharge” as to “supply with extra energy or power.” The term “supercharger” is also used in the automotive world. Put simply, it is a device that gives an engine more power. Yet for mechanical engineers to have designed such devices, they must have had a clear understanding of how the engine worked in the first place.
Conversion is no different. To “supercharge” it, you must first understand exactly what it is and how it works.
Start with the basics: being converted is crucial to receiving eternal life. Notice Christ’s words, “Except you be converted…you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3).
The word translated here as “converted” means “turn.” Conversion represents a turning around of an individual. Previously a person lived according to what he thought was right. He did what everyone else did (Eph. 2:1-2).
Upon God’s calling, though, he does an about-face from his previous way of life to walk in obedience to God’s truth (Gal. 5:7). This represents a complete change, a total turning around of his life.
God actually commands conversion: “Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…” (Acts 3:19).
A person first repents—he thinks differently about the way he has been living. He reconsiders his path. Then he becomes converted—he turns from his previous ways and determines never to return.
Upon repentance and conversion, his sins are blotted out, meaning forgiven. As part of this process, after repentance he is baptized in obedience to God’s command, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
Baptism is the outward manifestation of his commitment—his turnaround.
Once a person has repented and been baptized, he receives God’s Spirit. In one sense, this conversion occurs all at once. He is now a Christian: “But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Rom. 8:9).
Yet this is just his initial conversion—the process does not stop there.
Receiving God’s Spirit does not mean a Christian will never sin again. The apostle Paul made this clear by using his own life as an example: “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I” (Rom. 7:14-15).
In the same passage, Paul continues: “If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do” (vs. 16-19).
Even as an apostle of Jesus Christ, Paul sinned after conversion. The pull of sin was so strong, he described it as a law working within himself, influencing him to do things he did not want to do (vs. 21, 23).
Overcoming human nature was not easy for Paul nor will it be for you. It is a lifelong battle. You must daily go to war with yourself.
And Paul was not the only one! The Bible is full of examples of God’s servants who struggled against sin—Moses, David, Abraham, Peter and Jacob, to name a few. Even Jesus Christ, though He never sinned, had to resist until the end of His life (Heb. 12:2-4).
The road to salvation is never easy: “Enter you in at the strait [narrow] gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in there at. Because strait [narrow] is the gate, and narrow [difficult] is the way, which leads unto life [eternal life], and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:13-14).
Sin is still present within a Christian even after he receives God’s Spirit. He must continue to overcome: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (I John 1:8). Anyone who says they have no sin in his life is a liar. The good news is, if we confess our sins to God and look to Him for guidance, He is more than willing to forgive and help us (vs. 9).
A Christian must grow spiritually (II Pet. 3:18) all the way to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13). In this life, we are not perfect, but we must constantly strive to become more so (Matt. 5:48).
Conversion is an ongoing process through which a Christian develops more of God’s character. He becomes more and more like God in the way he thinks and acts. He turns from his old ways. While there will be occasional setbacks, he steadily advances.
The apostle Paul likened this process to a foot race: “Know you not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain” (I Cor. 9:24).
Realize that the path to the finish line is rutted, bumpy and rocky. Yes, there will be times of growth, but there will also be times when it is extremely challenging.
Remembering that Christianity is a difficult path is the first step to supercharging your conversion. Even a four-wheel drive vehicle with 400-plus horsepower must slowly make its way along muddy, hilly roads. Similarly, when you reinvigorate your zeal toward God’s Way, you must realize that it will generally be slow going—and involve patient, steady growth.
During this process, it is crucial to keep the ultimate goal in mind. Often, we can become overly focused on a particular trial and fail to remember that we are in training to rule in the God Family. Keeping this in mind will help ensure steady progress forward.
Communicate with God
One of the most important things in life is communication. Every day you speak with family, friends and a host of others. You can see, hear and touch them—they are flesh and blood. You need them, so naturally you stay in contact.
As much as you need them, you need God more. Much more! However, it is much easier to lose contact with Him because you cannot experience Him through any of your physical senses. Often He may not feel as real to us as He should.
Because of this, we can sometimes take the Creator for granted, going about our day carelessly forgetting Him. We must be careful not to let this happen. Though God is not flesh and blood, He is very real and holds our lives in His hands (Acts 17:28).
When you are not progressing spiritually, ask yourself, “Am I as close to God as I should be?” If you find yourself letting down spiritually, increase your prayer life and talk to Him more often. Remember, the “effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (Jms. 5:16). This active communication with God will supercharge your conversion.
Just as you regularly speak to the people you care most about, more conversation with God will build closer bonds with Him—your Father and friend. As you go about your day, think about Him. Talk to Him. Tell Him how your day is going. Thank Him for His blessings. Discuss your needs with Him. He wants to hear from you. Tell Him how you feel and ask Him for what you need: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matt. 7:7).
When you feel spiritually low, you need more of God’s Spirit—the Spirit of power (II Tim. 1:7). Just as you charge your cellphone or any other electrical device by plugging it into a power source, you need to plug into His Spirit. It will re-energize you spiritually.
God will willingly give it to you. All you have to do is ask: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” (Luke 11:13).
But communication is a two-way street. Not only do you have to talk to God, you also have to listen to Him and do what He says. One way God speaks is through His Word—the Bible.
Through Bible study, a Christian learns where he needs to improve: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
When you study the Bible intently, prayerfully asking God for guidance and understanding, He will not only show where you can improve, but also how to do it. Consider: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine [instruction], for reproof [conviction], for correction [straightening up], for instruction [education] in righteousness” (II Tim. 3:16). The result of studying and applying God’s Word is that you will grow spiritually (vs. 17).
Many boost their studies by expanding on subjects learned through the Church’s literature or covered in sermons. An in-depth study on topics such as faith, love or serving others will provide further insight and help make these subjects more a part of who you are.
Another way to re-energize your spiritual condition is through fasting—going without food and water for at least 24 hours. This brings your human frailties in much closer perspective. It helps you more fully understand your need for and total dependence on God for life and health. Fasting will humble you (Psa. 35:13). When coupled with prayer, Bible study, and meditation, it will bring you closer to God. By drawing nearer to Him, He will then draw nearer to you and help propel you to the next level (Jms. 4:8).
Keep Yourself Unspotted
A Christian is outnumbered by people not living in accordance with God’s will. He can be surrounded by family, co-workers, neighbors, acquaintances and others who live in disobedience to God.
Having once been part of that world, he has been called out of it to live God’s way of life (Eph. 2:1-2). Once called out, a Christian must be sure to stay out. While still having to live in this world, he must keep himself separate from its ways. He must not allow it to influence him, but instead must remain unspotted (Jms. 1:27).
If you feel yourself becoming jaded because of those around you, it could be that you are too close to them. Keeping bad company will corrupt your conduct (I Cor. 15:33). Combat this by developing closer friendships with brethren. Strive to speak and get together more often. You will find that fellowshipping more often with fellow soldiers in Christ will revive you spiritually. This will help you “sharpen” each other (Prov. 27:17).
Look for opportunities to serve brethren. And especially look out for those who have limited financial resources. These include the elderly, widows, children of single parents, and the poor. They are the ones often overlooked. Serving them is so important to God that He refers to helping them as an aspect of “pure religion” (Jms. 1:27). Your conversion receives an injection of energy when you serve others and avoid fraternizing with those in the world.
Another challenge Christians face is that this world has many attractions—most of which are not good. Mankind, cut off from God, is totally wicked (I John 5:19). You must be careful not to get caught up in its ways. When you turn on the television, go on the Internet, listen to the radio, or read newspapers and magazines, be careful what you watch, hear and read. Make sure it has a positive effect on you. Guard the doors of your mind (Prov. 4:23). Whatever you let in will influence you (Prov. 6:27-28).
While living in this world, take the approach of King David: “…I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Psa. 84:10).
Modern life is busy. There are family and friends, a job, taking care of pets, household chores, hobbies, places to go…the list could go on. The “cares of this life” can crowd out our spiritual lives if we let them. Schedule a specific amount of time to spend with God and His Word on a daily basis.
God summarizes this world as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2:15-17). Regularly remind yourself that all these things will pass away. Neither love them nor allow yourself to get caught up in them.
Support the Work
A Christian is not only called for salvation. He also has a job to do, a vocation (Eph. 4:1). His work is supporting the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom of God. In fact, doing the Work is tied to salvation (Luke 19:20-26).
Your work includes supporting God’s Work through prayers, tithes and offerings. This involves praying for God’s ministry and for Him to open doors for the Work (II Thes. 3:1). It also involves being generous with finances. In fact, there is a direct correlation between how much our hearts are in God’s Work and our willingness to give: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:21).
If you find yourself spiritually lax, examine how well you are supporting God’s Work. Are you diligently praying for those at Headquarters and the ministry? Are you as generous with your offerings as you can be? Are you enthusiastically supporting fundraising efforts?
God promises if you generously give to His Work, He will generously give you blessings (II Cor. 9:6-7). If you want to supercharge your conversation, diligently support God’s Work with all your might (Ecc. 9:10).
After you have examined all these areas, you will undoubtedly see some in which you can improve. God will correct you when you need it. He will do this by bringing things to your mind during or after prayer, Bible study, or meditation. God’s ministry has also been tasked to wisely and lovingly correct you when needed, and occasionally fellow Christians may bring things to your attention by being their brother’s keeper.
When you are corrected, do not get discouraged. Take it, apply it, and learn from it no matter how difficult it may be. See it as coming from a loving Father who cares for you, wants you to be closer to Him, and desires the best for you (Heb. 12:5-10). Applying the correction you have been given will yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness (12:11) and build you up spiritually.
There are times in every Christian’s life when he will feel as though he is not making any progress spiritually. If you ever feel that way, do not quit. Even when times are tough, never give up! God promises He will never give up on you (13:5). Press toward the goal of building His character in your life (Phil. 3:14).
Remember, God is the Master Potter and you are His clay (Isa. 64:8). He is fashioning and molding you into something beautiful. He has started a good work in you. It will take time, but He will finish it if you let Him (Phil. 1:6).
If you ever find that you are not growing spiritually, refocus your mind on the end goal. Determine to spend more time in prayer, Bible study, meditation and fasting. Separate yourself from the influences of this evil world. Make plans to support God’s Work more diligently.
Doing so will re-energize your spiritual life. More of God’s Spirit will flow through you and you will find yourself radiant, happy and refreshed. You will have supercharged your conversion!