As a Christian we are told to read the Bible and to MEDITATE on what is written. When you meditate on truth it is transformative and your mind can experience revival. Amen.
About a year ago I re-committed to doing devotional time every day. I started in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) and when I completed the last book and entered into Acts I actually found myself feeling bummed! I missed reading the Gospels almost immediately. Reading about Jesus and FROM Jesus. After he was raised from the dead and taken up to sit at the right hand of the Father, his physical body was gone. I cannot even imagine being a disciple of Christ at that time! Actually walking along side of him, touching him and hugging him. How they must have grieved! I just had his WORDS to meditate on and I missed him!
Jesus, however, did not leave us. He has been physically removed for a little while BUT is still alive. God in his infinite wisdom knew the hole people would feel and should feel. He sent the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, to dwell in us. My words, “to get us through until we can be with Jesus again.”
So now what? As Jesus explained to his disciples, we go out into the world and spread the Gospel. Jesus knew the plan and knew he had to let go of his disciples hands so they could develop in their own personal faith AND so that the Comforter (Holy Spirit) could come.
Lent is around the corner, and as we are observing and reflecting on who Christ was and what he did, we should also be asking ourselves is Christ ALL we NEED? Once we fully surrender to Christ we can begin to give up what the Holy Spirit is trying to specifically prune out of our life. We can NOT do this successfully in our own strength. In John 15:1-4 Jesus says “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.“
It is amazing that we can come to God as our imperfect self and HE ACCEPTS us BECAUSE of Jesus. He has set up the PERFECT chain of command. FIRST believe & trust Jesus and from that place of surrender, and in the strength given by the Holy Spirit, our actions will outpour his good and perfect will. Our personalities will begin to transform because of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
During your surrender fear will begin to shed. Courage and boldness will move in. Yes it takes courage and boldness to be a Christian. It takes courage and boldness to speak of words that have become Taboo in our culture such as Sin, Hell, and Jesus as the ONLY way to God. It takes courage and boldness to go against a culture, which says “do what makes you feel good” or “do what makes you happy” or that says “truth is whatever you say it is.”
Let us look at it this way. How would you feel if someone stole and took credit for that something you created? Not only that, but what you created had a specific purpose and they were USING IT FOR THE WRONG PURPOSE?! You would be enraged, jealous AND justified in your feelings! The same is with God. He is justified in his anger and jealousy. He is the Creator of our lives and in our ignorance we say our life is our own and we will do what we want with them! Sin is ANYTHING that keeps us from a relationship with God. Sin is anything that displeases him. It also grieves God deeply seeing his creation living a cheated life.
Trying to create a life of our OWN is the opposite of progress. We will not be without sin until we are perfected in Heaven. Until then we surrender. As the Holy Spirit convicts, we obey, and remove those things that are putting a wedge in our relationship with Jesus, therefore the Creator’s purpose for us the created. Yes, we still have to live in this world, to work our jobs, be in relationship with others BUT our hearts, mindset, and actions change. Romans 12:12 says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is GOOD and ACCEPTABLE and PERFECT.”
The unforgivable sin (result being Hell) is adamant refusal and denial of the Holy Spirit and omitting Christ from the picture. Without Christ our faith is in vain. Without Christ we would just have another RELIGION. Jesus sets himself apart from EVERY OTHER “god” and “prophet” not only because of his miracles and him telling us, but because of his death AND resurrection. THIS IS THE POINT. This is why Christianity is different, this is why we proclaim victory over death, this is why we know we have a home in heaven.
Oswald Chambers in the book My Utmost For His Highest, says it like this, “Very few of us have any understanding of the reason why Jesus Christ died. If sympathy is all that human beings need, then the Cross of Christ is a farce, there was no need for it. What the world needs is not “a little bit of love,” but a surgical operation. When you are face to face with a soul in difficulty spiritually remind yourself of Jesus Christ on the Cross. If that soul can get to God on any other line, then the Cross of Jesus is unnecessary. IF YOU CAN HELP OTHERS BY YOUR SYMPATHY OR UNDERSTANDING, YOU ARE A TRAITOR TO CHRIST.” My translation; if we water down or remove Christ what we are trying to offer is a Band-Aid. Anything we offer is temporary and will NEVER fix the root issue; it will never satisfy someone’s soul.
Christians, there is a case for our faith and a case for Christ. This is not an argument with who is right and who is wrong but life and death. We believe in the evidence of Christ and we have experienced the POWER of the Holy Spirit and we love the world SO MUCH we proclaim this to the ends of the earth so that others shall be saved too.
Jesus will be returning in all his glory and power SOMEDAY whether you are here or already in the grave. As we join together in sharing Jesus to others are we presenting him as SAVIOR or just some nice person to imitate? Are we actually misleading others and ourselves? Some of us are fearful. We are fearful of rejection from those we love. We are fearful of offending others. When THEY actually should be offended if we DID NOT share and profess what we believe. A belief that includes hell.
If you are NOT a Christian or you are wanting to understand what true Christianity is Jesus is the perfect and only starting point. Remove from your mind any judgement, bias, religious legalism, or bad experience from those who said they were Christians. Get to know Jesus and he will do the rest. Focus everything on him because when you get overwhelmed with what you can or cannot do as a Christian, Jesus will meet you where you are at. He will be so personal to you and your story. He knows what you need and what will make you happy because his father created you. In John 4:13-14 Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” Jesus will satisfy and sustain. What once overwhelmed you, or previously kept you from being a Christian, will feel inconsequential.