Have you ever thought of accepting Jesus but you want to be a better person before you commit to Him? Even though I had been baptized when I was nine, several times I've wanted to be religiously pure without actually going to Jesus. We can get baptized with water and not be born of the Spirit. 
Currently, I am reading 12 Things to Try While You're Still Mortal by Roy Ice. In chapter four I caught a good presentation on this subject.
We think we have to wait until we're over our sins before we can present ourselves to God. So we give in to the latest trend sweeping the nation and begin the painful process of denying ourselves things that we are told God despises.
But it has never fully worked for you, has it?“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.  Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation” (Matt. 12:43-45 NIV).
Notice that Jesus clarifies the man's house is swept clean and put in order. His life is healthy. He gave up all of those bad habits. He's not the slob he used to be. There are no skeletons in his closet. You can't find a pile of dust hidden under the rug. He has become the church's role model of what joining "us" can do for a mess like you. 
. . .
Now he's taken his testimony on the road to a church near you. Many of your friends are convinced that if they do what he did, they'll get what he's got. And they are absolutely correct . . . but Jesus warned about the vulnerability of this condition.
Jesus . . . points out that the man was possessed before, but he's not possessed now.
. . . Getting to heaven is not based on maintaining good behavior. It's about keeping good company—the Holy Spirit. You can be stronger than your cravings, but you will never be stronger than Satan. If you try to be religious first and spiritual second, you'll never succeed at being both. Satan will keep you so discouraged  by your lack of perfection that you'll never come to God. You're trying to enter heaven by carving your own doggy door through two hundred-feet-thick walls. Don't forget. You have a free ticket if you want it.
God doesn't need you to be perfect. He needs you to be present. He needs you to be connected to him at all times. How else can he protect you from a devil that hates you?
It is important to rid ourselves of the false idea that we need to be this perfect person God "wants." We gain righteousness through Christ, not through any set of accomplishments.
Don't forget. You have a free ticket if you want it.


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