We, as humans, go through hard things. And I wish I could save everybody. I’ve written this before but I received wise advice, “You don’t have to save anybody or everybody. He already did”.
I personally have made my share of mistakes. And I have a few friends that claim to have made mistakes as well – though you might not guess any of this from looking at our Facebook profiles. So when we realized grace was offered to us, our hearts leapt with excitement. Don’t we all have that emotional rush when we become Christians? And over the months, the years, it begins to fade. There may be some spikes during retreats or really good sermons, but we know by now that living a Christian is not an emotion.
I have heard the argument so many times and know it is not new to this generation. I have had it spoken to me as well as read it in theology books. Here are my own personal thoughts but I would love discussion on it.
Yes yes yes, faith is most important. But if you try to be a Christian without action, you will fail. While you are on your emotional high, I bet you’ll be 10 times more likely to act (even if it will not last). So start it with that attitude. If the attitude fails, you’ll keep acting if you let it become a habit. If you feel like you are in a rut, act. That’s like the number one way to get out of a rut. Do something.
Acts 3:8-10 shows us what happens when Peter heals a beggar.
He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Notice something. He didn’t do very much yet. He wasn’t giving up all of his money. “Walking and jumping and praising God”. Praise is an action, not just an emotion. He once was crippled and is now doing the opposite of what he used to do. Right away. Another key phrase is “with them”. Find a church or a group of people (those words mean the same thing actually) that love God. Really love God. Don’t just go to a church that claims to love God. Look at their actions because that should be the first response to grace.
This is probably one of the most widely used words in our language. Ok I can’t prove that at all. “Cool” would probably beat that.
Alright I googled it and I guess I’m wrong. It’s word 531 in the most commonly used English words. And cool was 729 (and God is 779?).
So let me rephrase. It’s one of the most widely used words in the Christian language. In the NIV Bible translation, it is mentioned 697 times. This word is clearly supposed to have power.
The most important commandments, according to Jesus Christ – GOD HIMSELF! – are 1) Love God with everything you have in your heart, soul and mind. 2) Love each other the way you love yourself. When you love God, you start to love the things of God which leads you to have to love people. The two form hand in hand. The thing is, love is an action.
Step up and love someone. A lot of us think maybe this culture has so much depression that this phrase “Love others the way you love yourself” can’t work. We don’t love ourselves. But that’s emotional. Look at how you take care of yourself. You pay for therapy. You eat when you feel hunger (or boredom, I guess). You comfort yourself or ask others to comfort you.
Can it be self-destructive? Yeah. It can. So you have to learn how to love. You love yourself in the only way you know how to love. When you start to learn about God’s love and know His love, that should begin to change. Be aware of it.
The past sucks. The future is difficult. I hear a lot of people complain when Christians say life is hard for us because compared to Christians in China or Israel, we got it easy. I agree. But do you really think God is going to let us off easy? The Bible promises life is going to be hard for us.
1 Peter 4:12 says “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you”
In John 16:33, Jesus says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world”. He doesn’t say “you might”. If we are living as a Christian should, biblically, lawfully, following the lead of the Holy Spirit, we will face trials. Life will get really hard. Because this is going to be what makes us stand out.
In trials, we will have peace, knowing Jesus has already overcome the world.
In trials, we will rejoice and be glad that God is building us.
In trials, we will still put others before ourselves. They will know we are Christians by our love.
In trials, we will work hard in all that we do no matter where God takes us, knowing He will take care us.
Life is a battlefield. We need grace. And we need to respond to it.
What armor do you sport?