Christians Love Sin

Wait a second, we have been forgiven of all our sin and the Bible tells us to “love the sinner, but hate the sin,” right? Well of course, so why do you say that “Christians love sin?” Let me start off by saying that the Bible actually does not have a verse in it that says to “love the sinner but hate the sin.” St. Augustine has a quote that is similar, but not exactly that; and Gandhi quotes this, but it is actually not in this context. It’s funny, so much of what we hear and see in the world becomes gospel because many of us haven’t actually studied these things out for ourselves. But I digress, on to the point.

Before I became a Christian I was a wild and crazy sinner. The way I lived my life, I knew I was wrong for much of it, but I did “what seemed right to a man” (Proverbs 14:12) and darkness and destruction was the result. By the time I was 31 years old I was on the ground begging God to forgive me and help me change. Something supernatural happened, the presence of God came into my house that night and I was forever changed. I knew that Jesus Christ was Lord. I knew that He loved me at my worst. I knew that I was forgiven. The best part of all for me, was that I knew that I was a new creation. I listened to an audio bible that I had, day and night for several weeks before I stepped foot in a church. I was so happy to know God, all I wanted was to do work for the Kingdom and tell people about Jesus.

Sin was the last thing on my mind. But then I found myself around Christians.

I remember it clear as day, I was excitedly talking to an older man and telling him about my conversion and about all the awesome things God was doing in my life. He was happy for me, but I remember like yesterday, he said “you’ll come back to reality soon.” It was such a hit to my joy. What do you mean I will come back to reality soon? Well, after finding a church and getting around a bunch of men who had been Christians for much longer than me, I quickly found out what he was talking about. So many of these guys “struggle with sin” and many of them looked at me as weird when I told them I no longer did. That I was a saint, and I am free from sin. That I wasn’t perfect but God isn’t focused on my sin, so why should I be? I just wanted to know Him and His will for my life, I don’t have time to even think about sin and even when I do, I thank Him for His forgiveness and I move on. I remember some old guy getting absolutely MAD at the things I was saying. “What are you saying, you are perfect and not a sinner?” The Bible says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”   (1 John 1:8) The verse he read is in the bible, albeit he was using this verse in a way that is out of context. John isn’t saying we will always have sin, he is making the point that if we see no need for salvation, for the blood of Jesus, because we have never sinned- than we are deceiving ourselves.

The simple fact that I believed the good news, that I was a new creation in Christ, that I had been set free from sin and had become a slave of righteousness, that I was hidden in Christ, that I was predestined to be holy and blameless and above reproach. All of these statements come from the same Bible that this man was reading, but because of what he had learned his whole life and his experience, because it didn’t measure up to what he believed the Bible says and his experience, he found a verse in the same Bible that basically gives him excuse to settle where he was at and to believe the lie that he was still a sinner. So many denominations and streams in the Body of Christ, because of their systematic view of God and humanity and their experience have caused them to believe the lie that we are still sinners. When I read the New Testament, I see that Paul writes to the saints. He never once writes to the sinners. And though sometimes when he is writing a letter to them, it is to correct some of the things they are teaching and/or doing, such as sinning, but he doesn’t say they are no longer saints. He goes out of his way to remind them of what Jesus Christ has done for them. He reminds them that they are clean, so why would they live as though they are still dirty?

Being a Christian doesn’t mean we are perfect, we worship the one who is. And because of all that Jesus Christ did by living as a man, dying on the cross and raising from the dead, we have been made new creations. I believe this is what we should be focusing on. The fact that we are new creations and that Jesus Christ has made a covenant that we take part in by faith. If at our absolute worst Christ was willing to die for us… why do we still focus so much on sin rather than focusing on the fact we are made new?

Jesus says “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.” (Matthew 12: 33) Do you see what I see? He tells us to “make the tree good… and its fruit will be good.” In other words, when we focus on the fruit, whether it is good or bad… we judge them according to what we see, we are told to live by faith and not by sight. I believe we should be telling people that they have been made good trees, which is what produces good fruit.

So many Christians are known for what they are against, not actually what they are for.

So you might see a Christian who is “against abortion,” and telling people that “abortion is murder.” Okay, so what? I am not for abortion at all, I think it is horrible but does telling people that they are murderers and that God hates them for what they are doing actually change anything? I remember a few years ago I knew a Christian man who would do the whole sign holding thing on the corner, standing in front of PP and he was so consumed with anger about all the bad things going on in the world. I couldn’t get him to see the error of his thinking, but I did help him change his perspective a bit. I told him, rather than telling these scared and hurting women that they are murderers and whatnot, do you think you could tell them that “God loves them and their baby.” Maybe a sign that tells them how loved they are, maybe offering to give them a hug, maybe talking to them and finding out about why they are so scared, maybe that is a better way to prevent abortion rather than being an accuser and telling them how evil they are. (He did this for a few weeks and then moved on to another topic that consumed him and caused him much anger).

I look at the life of Jesus and how he would call things that weren’t as though they were, in fact he called Peter a rock before he denied him three times. The entire pattern of God throughout the Bible, when He comes to establish a relationship with people, he gives them a new name. We are told that David is “a man after God’s heart” and look at his life? Many Christians today would look at David and say, “you aren’t saved, look at all the things you are doing.” But that is not the reality. I don’t say these things to minimize sin and its consequences. I say these things because I don’t believe sin is our biggest issue, or at least I don’t think correcting people’s behavior is the solution. If we focus on the exterior problems we will never get to the root, which is that people believe that they are sinners, and if they believe that they are a sinner, what will they do? They will sin. In the church, we need to tell people that they are new creations. That they are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, they have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, how much more can they live victorious and full of peace and joy now. I am not saying that because a Christian believes in Jesus, that they will never have the urge to sin, or they don’t sin. I am simply shifting the focus to Jesus and who we are in Him. Whatever we focus on will get bigger, so when we focus on the “new man” we will start to manifest the things of a new creation. The fruit of the spirit will be more present in our lives.

Christians need to be more known for what we are for, not what we are against. We need to actually be teaching believers that they are more than conquerors, that they are overcomers. We need to speak life into people and encourage them that they are capable of reigning over the old man that didn’t know God. The very fact that they believe the gospel is proof that they are capable because the Holy Spirit lives in them. The world around us needs to know the joy of what it means to walk around as a new creation. The bible says “all of creation is groaning for it.”

An encounter with holiness

Today I meet a family of believers at the coffee shop and it absolutely blessed me. I was having my morning coffee and studying a book called “Kinship by Covenant” which is a pretty heavy theological book that dives into the heart of what I believe the Bible is about, “God’s Covenant Journey with Humanity.” A man came up and asked about the book  and I quickly found out this grown man struggles with some mental handicap that has left him reliant upon his elderly parents.

Life is hard, and harder for some, but that that didn’t stop this guy from being a shining light and full of kindness and peace. He made my day, and I was able to share with them what I am studying and a bit of my journey with them. The mother knew of the author of the book, as they were Catholic and we were able to share a few nuggets of truth of our journey in God with each other, it was quite refreshing.

As I reflect on my day, I think about this interaction. She mentioned the narrow path of “holiness” like it was some sort of attribute that we were trying to obtain, and at first I thought maybe she didn’t realize her freedom in Christ, but now I credit her. I understand her desire to be like her Savior, it must be so hard to do what she does. A thankless job day in and out. Looking back I see a woman who has given up her life to care for the sick. I see holiness in that, and at the time I thought God wanted me to pray for her son which didn’t end up happening. I blessed them, we talked and they quickly had to leave for an appointment. Actually I kind of felt bad about this but that faded as I realize it must be nice to have a normal conversation and not feel like they “need prayer” of course I talked to the mother and she asked if I would keep him in my prayers. (moms are like that)

There was so much to learn from this encounter, first of all this man who suffers is suffering well. He has faith in Jesus and he makes the best of it. He shines light, he makes people smile, he interacts with strangers and makes their day. This was on my mind most of the day, and one that encouraged me to suffer with my issues better, but later I realized this woman is the one who God wanted me to pay attention to just as much. As somebody with physical ailments and parents who have had to deal with that, now my own family, I can only imagine how hard it is for the mentally handicapped and parents who just want what is best for their kids. Sometimes we think of the one “suffering” as having such a hard time, but how about the ones who have laid their life down, that is an aspect of God’s nature that is hard to comprehend. This woman looks like Jesus to me and I hope to run into them again.

Matthew 25:34-36 NKJV … ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: [35] for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; [36] I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ …

Calming the Storm

Choosing to believe the best about people isn’t always our first thought, but it is a choice we are able to make. Sometimes we have to fight to believe this, as their actions are not always reflective of “their best” and it is not always easy, but understanding who we are in Christ and how He sees us is crucial as to having the ability to see “good” in people during the middle of the “bad.”

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27 

If you think the Lord is looking at your bad all the time, it is almost impossible to see the good in others when they are bad, but if you get a glimpse of the Father’s love for you in the midst of your bad 

you can start to do the same in how you see them in their bad. 

Consider.. Jesus was calm during the storm and said “peace be still,” and it was. We too can calm the storms in others lives and their behaviors as well when we choose to keep the peace. Something to think about as we learn to walk as overcomers and more than conquerors. If you believe this, I think it can happen. If you don’t believe it, I don’t think it will ever happen. The question is, how bad do we want to calm the storm in other people, even when it hurts? 

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” Mark 4:39-40 

I know I appreciate when friends and family are willing to wait out the storm and bring peace when I forget who I am… we all need it at times. God bless you 

Influencing Your Enemies

Let’s get this clear, people who don’t agree with you aren’t really your enemy. I think sometimes it is easy to see them that way because we become so attached to our stance that if anybody comes between that, they are going to pay. We sure do make them our enemy, but this should not be the case. I see countless Christians, both liberals and conservatives that have so much to say and they have valid points, but they do not know how to actually influence those who don’t agree with them. Letting emotion and fear fuel their conversations, the same people who we want to influence and change their mind, we end up attacking and cutting their ears off.  

As followers of Jesus we have to be smarter about how we engage with people. Relationship has to always be the foundation in our conversations, and you don’t build healthy relationships when you attack people.

I haven’t been following Jesus nearly as long as many of the people I see who say some outright nasty things about those they don’t agree with. I understand we are human and being perfect is not the point, I am not casting judgment like I haven’t done it myself in the past, I am just saying we can do better. Ultimately we want to be a people of influence do we not? Think about how when you come into a discussion with somebody who you know sits with the exact opposite position as you in what they believe. Do you not have your guard up? Think about that, then imagine them painting with a broad brush with logical fallacies, and they make you out to be a monster because of what you believe.  

“If you support Trump you are a racist,” or “I don’t know how you could really be a Christian and support Hillary?”

In any one of these statements, do you want to follow and agree with those who attack you like that? These were two comments that I heard a lot of in the past year, both in public and in private from Christians speaking about one another. I am not even talking about those who don’t believe and have no desire to live up to the words of Christ, I am talking about born again Jesus loving Christians. It’s okay, we can forgive each other and we will. But how can we be more influential in the future? We start by earning the favor and trust from people who don’t agree with us. I have been called “spiritless” by Christians simply because I want to help them use wisdom and see the error in attacking the people who they are trying to sway. That is fine, I am okay with it. It just shows we have a long way to go.

Look at a few men in the Bible who earned favor from their enemies. Joseph was a slave in Egypt, falsely accused of rape, sent to prison then became the right hand man for Pharaoh . Do you think Joseph got where he got by acting like a fool? Was the favor of the Lord upon Him because he did what was right, even when he was punished for it? (Genesis 39:2-5, 21-23; 41:38-41) This was long before the law of Moses, but Joseph knew what was right. He did not want to sin against God. (Genesis 39:8)

[2] The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. [3] And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. [4] So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority.”
Genesis 39:2-4 

How about Daniel, a captive in Babylon? He obeyed God and then he found favor from the king. (Daniel 1:8-21) He was given favor because of his desire to be obedient to God and the Lord used him to do mighty things, and though we are already blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3) we have been blessed, so that we may be a blessing. This isn’t a matter of being saved or not, this is a matter of going forward and doing the works of the Kingdom. This is what we have been made a new creation for, so that we may be a blessing to a world that desperately needs Jesus. Powerful people, emotionally intelligent people, people who have the Kingdom of God in them are full of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)

Here is another angle for you to consider. I haven’t always been a Christian, and I have lots of people I love who don’t follow Jesus and I know many of them see Christians who don’t provide them any hope, and this sort of behavior is one of the reasons.

When we aren’t displaying the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control.. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23) they will not want what we have to offer.

We believe that Jesus came to set the captives free. Sinners followed Him around for days without food, and He said to the religious “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32) So often we act in ways that sinners are absolutely repelled by us, and not just because we are Christians and believe in a foolish message of being saved by grace. Often times because we are no different than them, why would they want what we have when we say evil things to them? The entire sermon on the mount speaks about this stuff, but we forget when it comes to politics. We have our eyes fixed on natural things, so much that we blatantly disregard what we know is right because we want to prove a point and we have let our stance become an idol in our life.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having passion. There is nothing wrong with standing up for what is right, this is godly and what we are called to do. But that doesn’t mean doing it in a way that brings condemnation, shame or guilt to those who disagree with you. Not only is this wrong, it is just plain foolish. See Christ in you, when you operate from your heavenly identity actually opens doors and earns favor because Jesus is actually attractive. So though the world doesn’t want to hear our message, when they actually see it on display through the fruit of the Spirit, they are confronted with the fact that “something is different about this person.” Sometimes they know, and sometimes they do not, but if you are building relationships and you have a vision to actually change things, you might just get an opportunity to change their minds. This is why Christianity is different than other religions because we know it is the love and goodness of God which brings people to repentance, not brute force. If God wanted to use brute force He would do it Himself, but that is not who He is. He is a gentleman  who died by the hands of sinners and He said “forgive them.” This is the Way.  


The Election is Happening, Now What? 

And somebody is going to be the new President of the United States of America. Praise God, right? We can move on from the last 8 years of … SCREECH! 

This article has nothing to do with personal opinions of any candidate current or former. I have no agenda, I don’t care who you voted for, I want to help you see things in the proper perspective. We have been flooded with election news and partisan agenda’s for the past year or more, and we need to move on from that. I myself am trying to move on from that. America needs to move on from that. The body of Christ especially needs to move on from that. As a Christian, my heart is to see Christ’s bride functioning and thriving as she ought to, and the last thing we need as followers of Jesus is to let the results of this election continue to divide us like it has already been doing. It has been going on long enough, and as a man who finds Himself in the middle, I am sickened and saddened by what I have been seeing on my social media timeline and countless news articles for the past year or more. Far right fundamental Christian Conservatives, far left progressive Christian liberals, I think you are both wrong. Not because of what you believe or support, but because you have labeled yourself, put yourself in a box and put your identity in politics. Enough at least to be stirred up by the media and letting it divide you from your brothers and sisters in Christ. Many of us have engaged in very hurtful and un-Christlike name calling to those who don’t agree with us and our “party.” But that is over now, let’s move on and forgive each other. 

Many of us have lost sight of our call to shine brightly to this generation. To be a people who are called “ministers of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18

And though I know not all of you have let this affect every area of your lives, and you still continue to do great things for the Kingdom of God, you still love Jesus and people dearly; we need to be reminded of our primary purpose. Our purpose is to know God and carry His presence everywhere we go. We are called to love the hell out of people, and it is hard to do that when we are using our tongues to speak hateful comments and/or cause division by foolishly making divisive comments or tongue-in-cheek, condescending statements. Keep in mind, the world is watching us. Our entire spheres of influence, Christians and non Christians are all watching to see how we act and react. At least they should. We are called to set the temperature everywhere we go, and the fact that we are ambassadors for Jesus Christ, we need to be wise about how we handle the aftermath of this election.

Many people are going to be fearful and angry as a result of this election. It doesn’t matter what side of the isle they stand on, the losing voters are going to feel hopeless and many of the voters of the winner are going to be prideful and arrogant, let that not be us. 

We need to be unwavering in our faith. We need to be a people who are full of hope. We need to be a people who are able to humbly comfort those who are fearful and angry, and we need to be those who bless those who say all sorts of evil against us and try to hurt us. Because you see, we are the people with a promise. We are the people who have been set free. We are the people who are a royal priesthood and a holy nation. This is not our homes, and though we can be grateful to be American, we don’t find our identity in politics. We have the minds of Christ and we are overcomers. So no matter who has won the election, we have a job to do. To be about our Father’s business.

So what can we do? First of all, if we have cursed others in our hearts because of this election stuff we should repent. Make time to thank God for not holding your sin against you, that you won’t hold others sin against them. That it is none of your business who other people voted for but that you bless those who have bothered you, maybe you should pray for them? Another great thing to do is speak life. When you encounter people who are fearful or struggling, don’t let any negative word about the election come out of your mouth. Be a person who is full of joy and positive and hopeful. The world needs this. So many people need the hope and love of God, and you carry Him. Let’s not act like mere men and when we see people who need a perspective change, let’s give it to them. 

God is not worried about this election. Contrary to what you might believe or have heard from other men and women of God in the world, God is not controlling this election, but He is confident in His ability to complete the work that He has started in this world. The Kingdom of God is a kingdom that will not end. (Luke 1:33) Nothing is going to stop it from filling up the earth. (Daniel 2:44) The gates of hell will not prevail against God because light always eradicates darkness. So no matter who wins this election and becomes our next president, Jesus is King and Lord and if you believe in Him you have been given eternal life. Let’s have a perspective shift that allows us to see the good in things even when they aren’t looking that way. That is what God did for us. When we were at our absolute worst He was willing to die for us because He knows who He created us to be. Not a people of fear but a people who are made in the image and likeness of Him, who go from glory to glory. All of creation is groaning for this. Let’s start now.   

Knowing You’re In

Have you ever had that gut wrenching feeling that “I’m late” or “I missed my flight?” How about as a kid, standing in line, hoping to be picked to play with the rest of the kids in a game of pick up basketball, “please don’t be last,” but as they get closer to the end you are thinking, “please just pick me, this will be horrible if I don’t get picked?”
When I was in 5th grade on the first day of school, something like this happened to me. My family had just moved from a small town to the suburbs and I didn’t know anybody. In the small town, I had lots of friends and was accepted as “cool” for the most part, but making new friends wasn’t easy for me and I had a lot of confidence issues because of my upbringing and personal health problems. On that first day, I was late walking into class and had that sinking feeling in my chest. As I walked into the room it felt like the whole room was looking at me… because they were. I scanned the room from the left to the right, making eye contact with each of the students. I didn’t get one inviting gesture, and it seemed like things were in slow motion. Like the scene in Forest Gump – where Forest was getting on the school bus and all the kids were saying “seat taken” and scooting over so he couldn’t sit down – I started to feel so rejected. As I got to the very end of the room, a kid (who that day became my best friend for life) waved and said “come over here man.” That feeling of relief is pretty great, right? Being accepted is probably one of the most important moments in our lives; I know it is for me anyway.

With this in mind, there are two things that I believe are very crucial for us to understand as followers of Jesus. Point number one: we need each other to feel accepted into the family of God in order for us to thrive and accomplish all that Jesus said to accomplish (1 Corinthians 12:12-21). We are the hands and feet of Jesus and He accepted us and continues to accept us at our absolute worst (Romans 5:8). From personal experience, many believers came to know the Lord because they were hurting, because they needed hope, and they wanted acceptance (Matthew 11:28-30). My entire life it was as if I was on the outside looking in. No matter where I went, how many friends I had, how good at sports I was, I was always looking for acceptance. Years later, I now know that this feeling was a desire to know God. A desire to understand my purpose and to know that I was loved.

As members of His church, we certainly aren’t the only people in the world who have the capacity to love, but we know where this love comes from and we have the fruit of the spirit, which gives us the capacity to love like He loves. In the Old Covenant, Jesus explains that we are commanded to love our God and love others like we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). But we are in the New Covenant, and we have a higher call. Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).

When we accept people just as they are, and love them as if they are our friend or brother, no matter where they are, they will see the love of Jesus in us (Romans 2:4). This is absolutely foreign to the natural man in our world. Look at the comment of any news article that involves gross injustice and perversion and see some Christians say things like, “I hope he burns in hell.”  Religion says to “clean up” so we can love you, fall in line and obey God, otherwise you might not belong to us. I am not saying that people shouldn’t obey their conscience; I am not saying that people shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions; I am not saying to turn a blind eye to injustice; I am saying, however, to love people no matter what they do. I believe people need to know how loved they are, and to see that God adores them. And that even though they might not be making the best decisions, even though they have hurt people and have done things they are ashamed of, feel guilty because of, and they might suffer consequences for their choices, they still deserve the love of God. Jesus says, “whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me” (Matthew 25:45). And even though we could always do more to love, this isn’t to make you feel like you aren’t doing enough. The point is to start now. To love now. To forgive now. To release your fear and start loving people now. Life is short.

The second point, and this is pretty straight forward: how do you know you are in? First off, Jesus died for the sins of the world, and He tells us to believe (John 1:29; 3:16; 6:29; Romans 10:9-10). Early in my walk with God I was so happy and blessed and full of joy to know God loved me. I was hearing from Him regularly and amazing supernatural things were going on in and around me for several months. One day I woke up and I didn’t “feel” his presence. I wasn’t sure what was wrong, I begged and begged him to come back and I started to fear. I thought to myself, “Maybe I wasn’t saved, oh my goodness what do I do?” I started listening to my New Testament on my phone, and  when I heard the verse where Jesus says “those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit won’t be forgiven…” (Luke 12:10), I freaked out! “Oh no, what do I do!” I started searching frantically online. I had that sinking feeling in my chest and anxiety started to rise up within me. I read a few things online that made some sense, but I came upon one page that said something that provided a ton of relief. It said, “If you have found this page, you have not blasphemed the Holy Spirit. The fact that you cared so much to find this out shows that you love God so much that it kills you to think that you aren’t forgiven by Him.” This isn’t exactly what it said, but it was very close. A peace and calmness came upon me and I called my mentor. He told me basically the same thing and then gave me a great verse that has helped me to this day, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but it is the glory of kings to search it out” (Proverbs 25:2). Another brilliant thought is that God wants us to live by faith, and that requires that we learn to trust whether we feel him or not. We live by faith and not by sight, and up to that point in my short walk with God He was giving me an encounter that I needed in order to know Him, but in order for me to grow in faith I had to learn how to trust Him.

I know a great woman of God who went to a new church in the past couple of years with her husband. Her husband has always struggled with this, knowing if he was saved or if he was “going to hell.” Through a very hard past and theology from churches that had made him question his faith by taking verses out of context like “I never knew you, depart from me….” (Matthew 7:21-23). He walked up to the pastor of the church, which was quite hard for him to ask him a question about his faith, and he said, “Pastor, how do I know I am saved?” The pastor replied, “maybe you are not.” With no love or explanation, he just dropped that on him. Devastated, fearful and heartbroken this man now doesn’t go to church. This man who is hurting refuses to go to church because of a theology that much of the church has that uses the Bible in a way to make people perform better, and even then God might not let them in. To that man, “God loves you. He has always loved you. And He will always love you. At your very worst, God was willing to lay his life down for you. He knows your struggle. He knows the pain you have and He isn’t happy it happened to you. He didn’t cause these things to you, He is for you. He wants you to give him your burdens, your troubles, the things you hold onto that you think you can’t be forgiven of. Jesus loves you because He loves you and you are created to know Him. Give him your burdens and you won’t regret it. The very fact that you care if you are saved, the fact that you care if you know Him, the fact that you don’t want to go to hell, the fact that you want to know if you are forgiven is evidence that you are. You are enough. Right now. Give him your life, and you won’t be sorry.”

I hope this post blesses you and gives somebody the piece of mind to know that they are loved by God right where they are. I hope this helps you learn the importance of loving people in this same way, that you grow in love and the goodness of God flows from your heart as you shine brightly to a world that desperately needs to know the love of our Father.

To Believe…

Before I had a personal life changing encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ, my understanding of what it meant to be a Christian was completely wrong. It usually is for people, even some Christians. As a hurting person my whole life I was taught through culture that God was so mad at our sin and that He was so holy that I couldn’t come near Him. Of course, this isn’t the intention of the believers who teach this way, but what they believe and how they teach it automatically comes across this way to those who haven’t had a direct encounter. 

Our human nature automatically fills any lack of understanding with fear, so coupled with a teaching that God is an angry God who we should be fearful of, we do like Adam did in the garden and we hide. There are reasons for this outside of what we are taught, without a healthy understanding of who we are created to be along with sin; condemnation, shame and guilt attach to these behaviors, and that voice tells us “we aren’t good enough, God could never accept me.” This is the furthest thing from the truth, which we see in the life of Jesus. 

After Jesus was questioned by the Pharisee’s because He ate with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means; ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Matthew 9:12-13) and we know that it is the goodness of God that brings us to repentance. (Romans 2:4) This always leads me back to Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” At our absolute worst, when we cursed God in our hearts, He was willing to die for us to save us. This is so crucial to understand. God is not mad at us. He isn’t angry at you, even in your gross willful sin, He hurts for you. So what does this have to do with “the works of God” as the title of this article is named? 

In the gospel of John chapter 6, Jesus is feeding the multitudes and He ends up running from them after they try to take Him by force to lead them as king. Hurting and desperate sinners desperately wanted a way to be free. Now Jesus would later provide that, but it wouldn’t be how they imagined in their earthly understanding. The next day Jesus describes this to His disciples: “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” Then they said to Him, “what shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” 

And Jesus answered and said to them, “this is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6:26-29)

They continued to ask Him questions, and Jesus revealed that He was the true bread from Heaven (John 6:32-34) which they wanted, then Jesus said “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” (John 6:35-37)

Verse 29 “this is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” This is truly our job as Christians. This is the only work we do. We believe in Jesus, see Jesus is the one who did it all. He is the one who was perfect, He was the one who said “it is finished” when He gave up His spirit on the cross. We add nothing to our salvation except what we believe. “..Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2) In the chapter 4 of Romans, Paul writes that Abraham was accounted for righteousness because he believed, and at the end it says 

“He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” (Romans 4:20-25)

What we believe about God is so important. This is why I focus so much on new creation identity and our God being pleased with us. I always go back here because if we have an understanding that He is mad at us, that we still aren’t good enough, that we are a work in progress, and that He might still deny us, that will cause us to be double minded and we will run away from Him when we need Him most. “Imputed with righteousness” is an amazing thing. Another place Paul writes, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) So when we believe, we benefit from this. This isn’t a striving for the rest of our life to do enough good things for God in order for Him to account us with righteousness, this is something that we rest in. Today. See when we strive with good works in order to please God, what happens is we either A. Do really good, then get self righteous; or B. We are always trying and trying and end up falling short all the time. Then beat ourselves up. This is the point of Jesus becoming a man just like us, He fulfilled our end of the bargain and our job is to believe. There is a supernatural transaction that occurs when we are able to believe this. By having faith in this, grace shows up and we are changed. So while our own works don’t make God love us any more or less, our work of believing is what allows us to be who He already sees as us. 

This is what is so hard for people, we would rather be given rules and when we don’t like the rules we complain and murmur to ourselves, and that is why nothing else in the world is like a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If you are hurting, if you are like the sick and the afflicted, Jesus is the better way. He came to set you free. His yoke is easy and His burden is light, you were made to know Him, so cry out to Him and I believe He will meet you in that place. God bless you abundantly.