Just a quick little nugget for you on this fine Tuesday.
A lot of people myself included either beat themselves up or have beaten themselves up because they still fall short. Somehow we have this idea that because we have Jesus and are found in Christ that we should be sinless when really we should be more concerned about sinning less (a little wordplay).
I like the way Rick Warren said it “we’ve had our defects so long.” What it means is when you come to Christ He forgives you right then and there no question about you are forgiven, but that does not mean you leave all your baggage at the door. No, instead you bring all that into your relationship with Christ and now He is helping you unpack all that luggage. You swear like a sailor and cuss out the mailman because your mail got wet because that is what you learned growing up. You talk bad about someone when their not around because that is how you were taught to deal with your issues. You drink like a fish because your parents did. Whatever the issue(s) are the thing is Jesus is not mad at you because you are not sinless but he wants you to sin less. He forgives you and asks do you know why you did that? Then He continues the work of helping you overcome that thing. It is about choosing Jesus over sin. Yes, you should feel bad about sinning. It is bad to sin, but you are not defeated just human.
Just remember God is not sitting up there waiving His finger at you in disgust. No, instead, He is calling you unto Himself so you can be the person He made you to be; sinless in Christ, and learning to sin less while on Earth.
Have you ever heard the expression “Just take my word for it?” I am sure you have or, at least, one of its forms. It comes from this idea that I know because of such and such an experience or knowledge so I am enough of an expert to give advice. Sometimes the advice is good and sometimes it is bad. Whenever anyone says that you should ask yourself one simple question “is their word on this topic worth taking?” Another way to think about it this “are they a reliable source in this instance?” This topic or this instance are the keys here.
I am pretty good at cooking a steak but a horrible baker. If I gave you baking instructions based on my skill in grilling a steak it would not be worth taking. My skill or knowledge in one area does not automatically translate to another just because they are both in the same category of things. In the same way, you should not take my word when it comes to physics just because I have watched a few episodes of Big Bang Theory or Googled a view physics for dummies videos. I might be able to express a few rudimentary thoughts but you should not base your understanding of on my lack of information. I think that all makes sense?
So my question is why do we do that with the Bible? We take someone’s word on the internet, on TV, or even a friend but never stop to ask “are they a reliable source in this instance?” People say all sorts of things about the Bible and a lot of it is wrong, half true, and sometimes just foolish. But they said it so we roll with it. Why is that when we have the book right here? If you don’t own a copy you can read it online. But we just roll with it like it’s no big deal. Worst than that we repeat what we have heard as if we actually knew this and perpetuate the cycle of madness. Crazy!
To be clear, I am calling out both sides on this too. Christians and non-Christians do it all the time. I see Christians post things like “the Bible says the Lord helps those who help themselves.” NO NO it does not say that. In fact, it says the opposite. It says you are helpless. Non-Christians say things Jesus never claimed to be God. YES YES, he did. In fact, when asked He said Yes I am (I am writing a paper on this now should be ready in a few months. See Luke 22:70). It is not one group that does it and another group that doesn’t but we all do it at different times. Stop it. We don’t have to guess what the Bible says or what it means. We have the book and it happens to have been studied so much there are volumes of things written about it, how it came to be, what the original text says, and so on.
We should always ask when someone starts telling us what the Bible says “are they a reliable source in this instance?” If not then let it go in one ear and out the other. Just because someone has an opinion or thought on the Bible does not mean they are an expert on the subject. I am not saying that everyone who gives bad advice on the Bible is being malicious. Some, of course, are but largely they are just missing the whole picture of Scripture. So do yourself a favor and pick it up for yourself and see if it really says what you think. Take my word for it, you’ll be glad you did.
Sometimes I struggle. I don’t understand why things happen or don’t happen. I start to feel like I am missing something. Like maybe I am being shorted in life or something. I start to feel like my faith is weak. But then God steps in (and He always steps in) and reminds me that it is not the size of my faith that is the problem but the focus of my faith. I start thinking about how I am good at this or that and I deserve this or that.
My father-in-law used to tell me “dead men don’t have rights.” Colossians 3:3 says “you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Galatians 2:20 says “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (that’s a little King James for ya). The point is that my faith sometimes gets misplaced. It starts to be about me and not Jesus. I need to be reminded that I am in Him and He in me. He is the Author and Finisher (or Perfector) of my (or the) faith. If I stand in my faith in myself I will fall but if I stand in Him and faith in Him then I stand. #faith #God #Jesus
What is the confession of your hope? For me, it is not in material things or a promise of an easy life because goodness knows that is fleeting. It is not that everything will go right either. No, the confession of my hope is that I trust in Jesus. I trust in Jesus to be there when all hope seems lost. I trust in Jesus to comfort me when I morn. I trust in Jesus to make all things work together for good because I know I have been called by Him. I trust that when I said “Lord you can have my life if you want it” He said yes. I trust in Jesus to not only be Savior but also Lord of my life. I trust Jesus loves me, that He has a plan and calling for my life. I trust Jesus to lead. I trust that the Jesus knows I am not perfect and takes me anyway. That is the confession of my hope and I am confident that He will keep His promises!
The word “therefore” appears 24 times in the book of Hebrews (hscb). That means 24 times in Hebrews the author was saying because of that you should ______. Here for example they are saying that because we have a high priest who can sympathize with our weakness we should boldly approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace. I am not sure about you but I often need mercy and grace. The Bible tells me where and how to get it. It tells me that God has it for me because Jesus sympathizes with me. He gets me. He understands me and knows I am weak. He js not sitting there shaking His head at me. No instead, He is there saying it’s ok come to me I’ve got this. Come and rest. Enter my rest I have for you. What a friend, what a brother, what a God.
Therefore I will go to Him and get what He has for me.
I come to you today from the Magic Kingdom; well almost from the Magic Kingdom. I am down in Orlando for work and I am really close to Disney. I am not sure what all the sights are but I think I can see the giant golf ball looking thing. Like I said I am down here for work and will not be able to take in the sights but it is really cool that I am so close to everything. I mean I may not be “in” Disney but I am really close. I guess you could say I am practically in Disney because goodness if I was any closer I would be “in” Disney. Right?
No of course not! I am not in Disney anyone who has been to Disney will tell you that if I am not in the park then I might as well be in Kalamazoo. You can be close but if you are not “in” Disney then you are not “in” Disney. To be near is not the same as being in. I do not see the mouse, the duck, the dwarfs, or anyone else (save some cardboard cutouts in the lobby). Why because I am not “in” Disney. Close is not in no matter how close you are. If I was “in” Disney I would not be talking to you right now. I would be doing Disney things. Now I don’t really care that I am not in Disney because I am here for work and not with my family. But it does serve as an illustration.
God has something for you. He has a plan and a purpose for you to walk in. He has something that He wants for you. Something that has been set up for you. For starters, it is a relationship. Jesus died on a cross taking sin and shame to the grave so you could be in a relationship with Him. That is number 1 and really everything else comes from that thing. There is no getting to the other things until you get to that place. God loves you so much, and He has so much for you but you cannot get it by being close. You cannot get the relationship with Him by being near it no you need to be “in” it. You can go to church and not have. You can read the Bible and not have it. You can hang out with Christians and not have it. Like the old saying says “standing in a garage doesn’t make you a Cadillac.” If you want to have a relationship with God then you need to be “in” relationship with Him. Colossians 3:3 says “for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” When you come to Christ the old person you were is dead and you get a whole new life.This new life has its place “in” Christ. To have this new life, you just have to ask Jesus for it.
I don’t want to sound all prosperity gospel or anything but now that you have a new life in Christ you are meant to reign. This is probably the hardest part too. I know many Christians (myself included) who either sit or have sat on the sidelines and made themselves second class citizens. We believe we are forgiven and that God has accepted us but we should not receive anything more than that. But that is not what the Bible says. Actually, it says the exact opposite in Romans 5:18 when it says “how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” Before this Paul is talking about how in Adam you sin and die but now in Christ, you reign.
That’s it you were meant to reign! But if you want to do that then you have to walk in it. Like I said I am not in Disney just because I am near it. No, if I want to experience Disney then I need to go be in it. I can sit up in my room for the next 30 years and still never be in Disney, and as Christian, you can sit there so close to victory and never be in it because you won’t leave the room. So please leave the room. Get up and get out. Go to what God has for you. Go into the things He has planned because there is nothing better than what He has for you. There is so much waiting for you. So much planned for you. Whatever it is that God has for you is amazing. He has something so great for you and when you get there you are going to wonder why it took you so long to leave the room.
Last through; God loves you enough to accept you where you are but He also loves you enough to not leave you there.