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Thinking of God with Larry Sheehy: What is God looking for?
Larry Sheehy mug
Larry Sheehy - photo by Special

    Qualifications are important in life — for school, jobs, marriage, even games. Peter told the earliest disciples of Jesus in Jerusalem that the apostolic replacement for Judas must have been one of Jesus' companions during his entire earthly ministry (Acts 1:21-22). If he hadn't been, he couldn't be counted as an apostle of Christ.
    When people are looking for something important to purchase, a place to vacation, a job or hobby, or a church to join, they usually have qualifications they consider important.
    God also has qualifications he considers necessary for someone to become a Christian. Consider just four brief areas of his concern.
    First, God wants someone who is interested in the truth. If you — unlike Pilate — believe truth is important and knowable, and that truth is objective (i.e., not dependent on personal opinion or circumstances), then you are certainly a candidate for God. His revelation is the only source of objective truth about his will (John 8:31-32; 17:17).
    Second, God wants someone who is broken spiritually, and will admit it. It must have been horrifying for pious, religious Pharisees to hear Jesus tell them that tax-collectors and prostitutes were more prepared for his kingdom than they were (Matthew 21:31). It's not that they were better; they just faced the truth more readily. If you are ready to humbly face the truth about your life and your need for God, he is ready for you to do it.
    Third, God is looking for someone who is ready to count the cost and make the sacrifice. Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matthew 16:24-25). Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Lutheran theologian and anti-Nazi dissident executed by the Third Reich in 1945, said, "Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life." Those that are half-hearted followers make a mockery of God and his love. Demas, who gave up his desire to follow Jesus because he wanted to satisfy his love of the world, renounced his commitment and deserted the apostle Paul (2 Timothy 4:10).
    Lastly, God is looking for someone who has a penitent heart. This means that you are ready change, drop or forsake anything that puts you at odds with God. There can't be any rationalizing: "I know what the Bible says, but..."
     This isn't everything that the Bible tells us about God's will about salvation. But if you are interested in the truth, willing to admit your sinful condition, willing to sacrifice and willing to change your life, God will accept you as one his disciples. "Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2b).

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