Calvin called the Basic Gospel broadcast, hoping we could help him sort out his life. In the course of the conversation, he described spiritual death to a “T”. Of all the problems he shared, the one that was most troubling to him was a sense of emptiness in his heart. He had tried everything imaginable to fill that void, but nothing worked. He turned to drugs and alcohol to mask the underlying pain and emptiness, but these substances weren’t helping. He wanted to change. He had asked God over and over to make his life different, but all his prayers seemed to go unanswered. His struggle to change led him to a point of desperation.
He was a blistered soul, tired and weary. He told me, “I’ve tried to do the right things. I pray for God’s help night and day, but I keep going back to my old ways. Is there hope?”
Calvin wanted change in his life. God had something else in mind for him. God’s priority for Calvin was life itself. It is life first and then change. Calvin was spiritually dead. There was only one solution. Spiritual life. That life comes through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Life first and then change. That’s the process God works in our lives. So many of us short-circuit the process. We leave new life out of the equation and focus merely on the change we hope and pray God can bring to our lives. In other words, we view Christianity as a self-improvement program as if God were there to help us better our lives.
I viewed Christianity this way. Like so many, I cried out to God time and time against for his help, but nothing changed. If anything, my feeble efforts made matters worse. I didn’t know I needed life because I didn’t know I was spiritually dead.
Death is the problem.
The gospel offers us life.