“The Bible was written in tears, and to tears it yields its best treasures.”
— A. W. Tozer
Christians are often asking themselves what it takes to convert non-Christians. As Christian people, we are interested in this because our Lord tells us it is intrinsic to our purpose—to evangelise and propagate knowledge of the Gospel, in order that its life-saving and life-giving message can be received into the hearts of nonbelievers. It is inherent to the great commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
The longer we are in the Kingdom, the more we may possibly forget, however, the pre-requisite circumstances needed in order for nonbelievers to clamour for faith.
We may forget that the true convert to Christ has, in that moment recognised, then, and for all time hopefully, their sin and their need of God—that Christ made a way for their sins to be forgiven. Most likely their felt need of God has highlighted their sin and their inability, when they are honest, to live truly without grace. Most true converts learn these things in tears. It was their most life-changing experience.
Tears and the Moment of True Conversion
What leads up to the moment of repentance—to turn back from the old life, and turn to God—is tears; desperation; a vanquished spirit. No one comes to God lightly; but if they do, there is generally no true conversion—where the Holy Spirit finds seating in the heart.
Generally people come to God because life hasn’t worked their own way.
Others come to faith in God because of familial introduction. Their family lives this way. Their conversion may be more intellectual, and considered thoughtfully over a longer time period.
But the moment of true conversion is a moment of true transformation in the heart.
When people come before God, to receive him into their hearts, they have never done anything so serious. The old life has finished, and the new life—the God-anointed life—has now only just begun. And even upon recommitment this is the same. Parts of the old life—even when inhabited by the Spirit of God—are buried, and what is exhumed, in the Spirit of Renewal, through tears, is a brand-new representative compartment of our beings.
God renews whole beings as well as significant parts of us.
Sowing In Tears, Reaping In Joy
A principle I have found so relevant in my life is the phenomenon of sowing my laments before God, via the intimacy of heartfelt and disconsolate prayer, of a night-time, in order to receive the joy of the Holy Spirit come sunrise. This joy is beyond the circumstance—how we feel, within ourselves, is lighter and significantly more hopeful.
It is incredible how consistently God honours the faithfulness of coming before him in the sanctity of prayer. The Spirit of God hears us; every cry, whimper, pathetic moan, and rock bottom gulp.
The Word of God is a home and safe refuge for the tearful.
The Word of God encourages us because the pious writers of this holy document experienced the same desperation, anguish, grief, anger, and fear that we do.
The Bible has unequalled relevance as a very human document, but it is 100% God-inspired, God-breathed. God speaks to us through the Bible in ways that the desperate, lonely, grief-stricken, and fearful find deeply meaningful.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.