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“You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9

You and I are not integrated, unified, whole persons.  Our hearts are multi-divided.  There is a board room in every heart.  Big table.  Leather chairs.   Coffee.  Bottled water.  Whiteboard.  A committee sits around the table.  There is the social self, the private self, the work self, the sexual self, the recreational self, the religious self, and others.  The committee is arguing and debating and voting.  Constantly agitated and upset.  Rarely can they come to a unanimous, wholehearted decision.  We tell ourselves we’re this way because we’re so busy with so many responsibilities.  The truth is, we’re just divided, unfocused, hesitant, unfree.

That kind of person can “accept Jesus” in either of two ways.   One way is to invite him onto the committee.  Give him a vote too.  But then he becomes just one more complication.  The other way to “accept Jesus” is to say to him, “My life isn’t working.  Please come in and fire my committee, every last one of them.  I hand myself over to you.  Please run my whole life for me.”   That is not complication; that is salvation.

“Accepting Jesus” is not just adding Jesus.   It is also subtracting the idols.


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11 thoughts on “#9: What does it mean to “accept Jesus”?”

  1. Mike Simmons says:

    Just sent this to many family and friends; so thankful for the reality that truly accepting Jesus removes all the idols so we can do what we were created for…to enjoy God forever. Thank you Ray for your commitment to Gospel.

  2. Jeff Stovall says:

    What a convicting but clear picture of “myself”. Thanks Ray!

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Ray Ortlund


Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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