I don’t remember where I first heard the question, “Have you made the decision for Christ?” But I remember it being a question that stayed with me long after I was asked. In light of the spiritual quest I’ve been on for the past 20+ years, I revisit this question.
And, I ask it of you: Have you made the decision for Christ?
This question will be the focal point of our discussion this evening (2/16/2017) during the Metaphysical Bible Hangout. I encourage you to come with fresh ears to hear this question in a new way and to consider the mystical implications of what it means to answer “yes” to this age-old question.
We will be working with Chapter 3: The Great Decision in Eric Butterworth’s Discover the Power Within You.
A New Way to Think About an Old Question
In many ways, answering this question will be the most important decision you ever make. Invariably, there will be people that read this post for whom the words Jesus or Christ will be off-putting. To you, I say, “Don’t let the words keep you from the principle.”
The word Christ is not a last name but a spiritual principle that is true of all people. If words like force, genius or potential feel better for you, use them.
The point is to make a decision to reach for a higher ideal in our daily living.
“We have been so conditioned by the religion about Jesus” that we can barely discern the religion of Jesus from the pages of the Gospels. In answering this age-old question, we must clarify the perspective from which we responding.
We will approach this question from the position of one who follows the religion of Jesus — one who knows that “Christianity is not an end in itself…it is a way of living” (Butterworth).
The Decision Requires a Commitment to Inner Change
The decision to follow the religion of Jesus, the decision for Christ, requires an inner change. As Butterworth says, “…religion that does not promote transformation is no religion at all.”
Many are they who have made a confession of faith but comparatively few have actually committed to the painstaking work to change from within. “There is a higher standard of excellence and of right than that of contemporary fashion” (Butterworth).
Many years ago, I was riding with Rev. Mary after a meeting of the Education Subcommittee for UFBL. In a previous setting, she’d spoken of the loneliness of leadership. While we were sitting at the light just off the Palmetto Expressway, I asked her how she dealt with the loneliness.
I do not remember the specifics of how she responded but I walked away from that conversation with the understanding that to make the commitment to inner change means learning to care at a level that most people think is just unreasonable.
Inner change is the hardest work you will undertake. At some point, you will hit bedrock — the point at which it seems you can advance no further. Most people give up attempting inner change long before they hit bedrock. The rest give up when they hit bedrock.
Only the one who has made the decision for Christ persists.
You Can Make It Because You Are Divine
“…the greatest mistake is in believing that we are ‘only human.’ Our humanity is but the degree to which we have given expression to our divinity. We are human in expression but divine in creation and limitless in potentiality” (Butterworth).
When we falter, we may feel that the divine standard is too lofty. It may seem to be more than we can possibly attain. Add to it that few people around you have made the same choice for inner excellence and you may feel, “Why should I lose any sleep over this? Everyone makes mistakes.” Or, “No one cares about this. Why do I care about this?”
Butterworth writes: “The Christ standard is not a restraint. It is an inherent potential, it the law of [your] higher self. It is the ascending urge within [you] that keeps [you] unsatisfied with what [you are] and [do] and drives [you] on to higher goals of living and being.”
Let me encourage you to continue reaching for the higher ideal. To unlock those higher dimensions within you will not be easy but you can do it. You can move beyond limitations that at first seemed insurmountable. You can make it because you are divine.
Where Does Confession Fit Into the Decision?
The decision for Christ is NOT the same thing as confessing Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Many confess; few make the decision.
“The Christ in you is you at the point of God. It is your ‘hope of glory’ for it is your true root in Divine Mind. However, you must become conscious of this root of your being, you must make the decision to act as though you are a spiritual being in potential” (Butterworth).
Making the decision for Christ means learning to act as if you are the spiritual being you were designed to be. “Jesus did not affirm ‘I am the resurrection and the life’ because he knew he was greater than death. He became victorious over death because he affirmed ‘I am the resurrection and the life’” (Butterworth).
Before one becomes a doctor, she must act as if she is so. As she behaves like a doctor, there comes a point where she crosses the threshold of acting as if and simply becomes.
Ask any doctor when she knew she was a doctor, the answer will vary. One may have felt it long before she went to medical school, whereas another may say she felt it when she graduated medical school. Still another may answer that it did not happen until she passed the state boards. And another may not have felt like a doctor until she spent several years in active medical practice.
The threshold of being differs from person to person, but the science of acting as if is an indispensable part of the process. And, so it is with our spiritual journey. We become what we act as if.
The Decision Requires Rebirth
Yes, you must be born again but not in the way that this concept is conventionally thought of. For many people, being born again means confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior. As we have seen, confession does not mean transformation. And, making the decision means transformation.
Butterworth uses an analogy of the caterpillar and butterfly to explain what rebirth really is:
Consider the lowly caterpillar. It is self-evident that the caterpillar and the butterfly live in entirely different worlds, and no one would ever say that a caterpillar is a butterfly or that a butterfly is a caterpillar. And yet we know that the caterpillar and the butterfly are simply different levels of expression of one entity. The caterpillar can fly, but not as a caterpillar — only as a butterfly. He has the potential, but something has to happen to him. You can do the things Jesus did, but not as the [person] you are now. Only when you are ‘born anew’ into a higher state of consciousness.
At our present level of consciousness, Jesus’ accomplishments look miraculous and beyond duplication. When you make the decision for Christ and begin the arduous work of changing from within, you recognize that everything he did unfolded according to immutable spiritual law. And, you — because you, too, are divine — can do these things and greater.
But you must be reborn. In order for the caterpillar to become a butterfly, it had to stop concentrating on being a caterpillar and give its full and undivided attention to becoming a butterfly. Some species of caterpillar spend the winter in their cocoon, transforming over several months, but most accomplish their metamorphosis in a few weeks.
No one can say how long it will take you to be reborn. But what we can say is that it will require your undivided attention. You must commit.
Do I Have to Make a Decision?
A non-decision is still a decision.
“Many people find comfort and strength and inspiration in the emotional acceptance of Jesus as their ‘personal savior’…[This article] is not to infer here that the Fundamentalist or evangelical Christian is wrong. He is laying hold of Jesus at a very vital and helpful point. But our thesis here is that this is not the high level of consciousness that Jesus had in mind when He said, ‘Follow me’” (Butterworth).
In other words, come up a little higher.