Every Day Light
Vertical vs. Horizontal
"... God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions ..." (vv. 4-5)
For reading & meditation:
A Hindu once said in my presence: "A man may change his acts but not his character." He was saying that a change is possible, but not a vertical change; there can be improvement, modification, a change of attitude, but no deep radical change. The Christian church is not without a sprinkling of what yesterday I called "horizontal" conversions. Many historians have called attention to the fact that when Christianity swept through Europe, there were many genuine conversions to Christ but many horizontal ones too - people taking the Name of Christ for political or economic expediency. They were converted horizontally but still in need of a vertical conversion. When I was about fourteen years of age I was "horizontally" converted. I was a mischievous young man, and one day in church I made up my mind to be "a good boy." I tried hard to give up such things as swearing, stealing, and so on, but it didn't last. Although I felt religious, there was no great inward change. On a horizontal level I was converted, but not in relation to God. About a year later, sitting in the same church and under deep conviction of sin, I made a complete and total surrender to God. I was vertically converted. I walked out of that church feeling as if I had been turned inside out. From that moment my life was changed, old habits began to disappear, and my whole being was flooded with light. I tell you with all the conviction of my being, the vertical was much different than the horizontal.
O God, help us not to be converted to the things surrounding Christ - religious rituals for example - but to Christ Himself. For if we don't touch Him we don't touch life, and there will be no deep inward change. In His dear Name we ask it. Amen.
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