CONVERTED FROM EVERYTHING TO CHRIST HIMSELF
You may have been regenerated, but maybe even today you need a real, practical conversion from the traditional things, from the religious things, unto the living Christ. A person can only be regenerated once. But in my experience I can testify that I have had a number of conversions. Regeneration is once for all, but conversion, to have some change in your life, is not just once for all.
I was born in Christianity, and I was taught and raised up in Christianity. But when I was nineteen years old, I was regenerated, and that was my first conversion. A real change in life transpired inwardly. Not long after I had been regenerated, I began to meet with a group of Christians who paid much attention to the teachings, to the knowledge of the Bible. I stayed with them for seven and a half years. After those seven and a half years, one day the Lord gave me another conversion, another change. He opened my eyes to see that the Christian life is not a matter of merely dealing with the knowledge of the Bible or with doctrine, but a matter of dealing with Christ as the living One. That brought about a great change in my life. I was so clear that to be a Christian is not a matter of knowledge, not a matter of just studying the Bible in letters, in black and white, but a matter of dealing with the living Christ as your life.
With this realization I then began to serve the Lord. In our experience, many times we get the grace and the deliverance, but after a while we drift away. When you are serving the Lord it is easy to be tempted to pay attention to the work, not to pay attention to the flow of life and to the work that proceeds out of this flow. After I learned how to experience Christ as life and how to deal with this living Christ, the Lord really gave me the burden for the work. I worked diligently, heartily, and even fruitfully. I worked and worked day and night, day after day. But one day the Lord intervened and stopped me from the work. It would have been rather hard for anyone to keep me away from the work, but the Lord intervened and put me into a position where it was absolutely impossible for me to work. This was another conversion experience for me. I absolutely had no ability to work due to a serious illness I contracted. I was kept absolutely away from the work by the Lord for nearly two and a half years. In that time I was converted from the work to the Lord Himself
At the beginning of that time, I was thinking that maybe I was wrong in something, so I did my best to confess whatever I thought was wrong to the Lord. Eventually the Lord showed me that the problem with me was that I paid much more attention to the work than to the Lord Himself I was converted at that time not from sin to God, but from the work to Christ Himself Before that time the work for the Lord was my life. No one could stop me from working for the Lord. You could have taken away many things from me without my being concerned. But I would not have tolerated even a little bit of the Lord’s work being taken from me. Now I still work for the Lord, but the work by itself is not preeminent to me. The most important thing is the living Lord Himself We should labor in the Lord, but our labor should not be something between us and the living Lord.
It may be quite possible that there are many good things between you and the Lord. It is possible to have something in religion, some work, some program, or some activity in Christianity to take the place of Christ in your life. We need a conversion not necessarily from anything sinful or evil, but from good things, from religious things, from substitutes for Christ Himself, which prevent Him from occupying, filling, saturating, permeating, and possessing our entire inward being.
(A Young Man in God's Plan, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)