It was about 20 years ago I went to a Harvest Crusade and Greg Laurie was preaching and he said something that really changed my understanding of Christianity. He said “Jesus, like all good fisherman, cleans his fish after he catches them.” You see, up to that point I thought it was up to me to make myself right and then I would be good with God, but God wanted me just the way I was and then he would do the work to make me right. He would slowly, through the power of his Holy Spirit, mold me more and more each day to be like his son.
I didn’t have to make any changes in my life to come to God; he would take me as I was right there. He wanted me as I was. The Bible says “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8). He loves us enough there’s nothing in our lives that will stop him from receiving us right now right where we are at. Once he has us, he’ll start empowering us to make changes in our lives that are going to bring us closer to the image he originally created us to have.
That seems to be where some of us are a little mixed up in today’s Christian culture, just as I was mixed up before that Harvest Crusade 20 years ago about what I needed to do before I could get good with God. There seems to be a lot of us today mixed up about what we need to do after we get good with God. There’s a clear expectation after Jesus catches his fish, he’s going to clean them. Any good fisherman knows when you catch a fish, you need to clean it. I know a lot of people who don’t like to go fishing for that very reason. The process of cleaning fish can get messy.
After we come to know Jesus and he becomes part of our life, there’s going to be real change in our life. As time goes by, there should be a marked difference in each of us that have been touched by the saving knowledge of Christ. Nobody can truly be moved by the all-powerful creator of the universe and not be changed. The Bible says we are not to “conform to the pattern of this world, but he transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). If there’s no change we may want to take a look and see if we have truly received Christ. Have we been transformed?
“examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test?” — 2 Corinthians 13:5.
Lt. Mark Cyr is pastor of The Salvation Army, 661 Colorado St. Carson City, NV 89701. For information, go to carsoncitysalarmy.org.