One of my favorite lines from the movie Braveheart is when William Wallace says, “All men die, but not all men truly live.” And he was right.
What if we applied this to our life in Christ? Because all of us will die someday, but when we get to the end, will we have truly lived in the freedom of Christ? Or will we have wasted our lives away in slavery to ourselves and sin?
By believing in God, we are not simply living for the right purpose. No! God’s love is much more revolutionary than that.
God’s love takes what is broken and makes it beautiful, turns weakness into strength, hatred into love, makes the impossible possible. God’s love is every bit as amazing as we can imagine it would be, and then infinitely more. God’s love moves the Christian beyond logic to a faith that moves mountains for His glory.
Let’s remember that being a disciple of Jesus is about much more than meeting with others in a building once a week and thinking that puts us in the religious classification of being a “Christian.”
No!!! Following Christ is about something far different. Far better.
Following Christ is about letting Christ take over every aspect of our lives.
It could be that some of us look at what intimacy with Christ costs (complete surrender), and we just feel exhausted.
But the reality is Jesus wants us to find rest in Him. To do this we simply turn to Him and ask Him to help us rest. He will prescribe to us what will bring rest. But His prescription may not be easy to follow.
The main reason many Christians need more rest is because we jam so many things into our lives. When we become Christians, sometimes the whole “God thing” can just be one more thing we have to do. Sometimes we are spread so thin in our lives that we don’t even have time for God. But what does that say about the “god” we are really serving?
A phenomenon happens when we reprioritize our lives around Christ. Life get’s simple. Because if we really let Christ lead us, He will call us to make Him the main thing and to remove many obstacles. Sometimes that means cutting out things that make us too busy.
When life is busy and noisy, Jesus can easily become an afterthought.
Then, when someone tries to ask us how our relationship with Christ is, we just feel guilty because if we’re honest, it’s not so good.
And we feel stressed, overworked, and we wonder how we are going to fit Jesus into our lives.
But what if we didn’t “fit” Him in. What if He was everything to our lives, and what He deemed important became our top priorities… all of life fitting around Him?
Would our lives look different? Would we feel more rested if we simply lived for Christ?
Answer – Yes.
Less equals less complication. Less noise. Less fog. More focus and energy to put into following Christ.
So let’s be encouraged to rest in Christ and live for Him alone.
“The law kills, but grace saves.” This is said often in churches. But we need the law… else grace become worthless.
The purpose of the law is to reveal our sin. For when the law reveals to our hearts that it is impossible to be perfect as God is perfect, and that we would justly suffer the wrath of hell if it weren’t for the wondrous grace of God – only then does grace become utterly beautiful.
Without grace we would be ruined for eternity. His grace is how we know love. That Christ would give His life for us who don’t deserve it… yet He called us His friends and sacrificed his body to pay our debt.
The law is needed in each of our hearts. Some days we are overcome with pride. On those days, we must look at the law and see ourselves in light of God’s perfection, that we may be turned back toward the beauty of His grace again.
But when we are at the other end of the spectrum and all we can see is shame and imperfection, AKA, we know we are dirty. Rotten. Scoundrels… on those days we need to look to Grace. For God has paid the penalty for our sins, and has washed our sin and shame away (Psalm 103:10-12). There is no more condemnation for us (Romans 8:1). God has replaced death for life within us (Ephesians 2:4-6). God loves you so much and He has claimed you as His own child (Romans 5:6-8, John 15:9; Romans 8:23)! Let His love wash over you in freedom. For you are a child of God and He wants to free you from shame and give you freedom of life in Him (John 15:11).
This is how we experience the beauty of grace renewed in our hearts time and again. For we must know our true deplorability before the mercy of Christ can wrap us in the experience of Divine love. If we miss the first step (the law), we will never see Christ as beautiful, but instead we will only try to use Him for our means. And when we try to use Christ, we are not truly believing in who He said He is.
Let us gauge whether we need to look to God’s law or His grace based on the condition of our hearts. But always, let us end with grace. For it is our sin that we are saved from… but it is His grace, and His grace alone that saves!
George Mueller (19th Century Pastor who was known for his great faith) once said, “The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was… how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished.”
Do you ever wake up and feel like all the spiritual gain of the previous day is a distant memory? Almost like you are starting over? – I have. Sometimes the day before could have come with experiencing great victory and/or insight in Christ. But when I wake the next morning it’s like starting all over again. A reboot if you will.
But this is not surprising, for as one mentor told me, “Our souls are leaky buckets.” We must constantly refill our bucket with Christ, or it will run dry. That is why Mueller’s words are so important for us to heed.
For there is much love and joy we miss out on experiencing and giving when Jesus is not central from the beginning of our day.
So this is my challenge to you this week: Write a morning reminder for yourself of who you are in Christ and set it someplace you will see it daily. It could be a phrase, a sentence, or a paragraph. The important thing to focus on is: (1) Reminding ourselves of our desperate need for Christ, and His amazing love for us. (2) Using biblical truth to battle whatever lies we are most prone to believing. We all are prone to believing certain lies. But it’s different for almost everyone. And we need a constant reminder of God’s truth to battle these things. & (3) Asking ourselves what truth’s does God want me to focus on living out?
Below I have copied the morning reminder that I have written for myself to help me focus on Christ and His truth from the get-go every day.
Drew’s Morning Reminder
I am an adopted son of the Almighty God (Romans 8:15-16). All my sins have been paid for by the blood of His Son (Romans 3:23-25). Washed clean by His great love and mercy (1 John 1:7). He has raised me from lifelessness to life in Him (Ephesians 2:4-5). All that was is fading, and all that is His is increasingly invading my soul (Romans 8). His mercies are new today as they will be tomorrow (Lamentations 3:22-23). Whether the sun rises or sets I will not be shaken, for my joy is not found in circumstances, but only in my King (John 15:1-11). He is my eternal Sun. In Him the light does not fade (1 John 1:7). This place and this body are not my home. My home is with Him forevermore (Hebrews 11:8-10). He is my home (John 15:9).
Because I am His adopted I will freely live by the power of his every promise (2 Peter 1:3-4). By looking to the light of His glory I will be the light He has called me to be in this world (Matthew 5:14-16). By gazing upon His amazing love I will lay my life down to love others as he did (1 John 3:16-18). By believing there is nothing He can not do I will embrace what he calls me to do that seems so impossible to me. For all things are possible with Him (Luke 1:37 & Matthew 17:20). He has changed the world by what He did on the cross. Everything He does is beyond description amazing… I mean, He speaks galaxies into existence (Psalm 33:9). So what He will do in and through me is beyond powerful. So stand today, in the power of His might, adopted son, and change the world. He is with you to work all things together for good (Romans 8:28). You are more than a conqueror in Him (Romans 8:37 & 1 John 5:4-5). TRUST HIM! (Psalm 125:1-2)
The flesh is a mighty villain bent on our destruction. But our God is greater. The flesh would blind us and have us believe that all that is temporal is exactly what we need, when the truth is God is our greatest need. The flesh prods us to settle for the scraps from Satan’s table, when God would have us eat at His bountiful feast.
The flesh is interested in here and now. The Spirit of God is interested in eternity. The flesh cannot help but be the selfish fool that it is. This is the war against God that is raging on inside each of us. It is the war that rages on in the world.
It is good for us to know how the flesh strategizes to war against the life of God in us. But God bids us to stand and fight by the mighty power of His strength (Eph. 6:10). He promises that He has “given us all we need for life and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3-4) Jesus himself told us that we should not lose heart, for He has overcome the world (John 16:33). But not just the physical world, 1 John 5:4-5 makes it clear that those who live continually trusting in Christ, will overcome world (and it’s desires).
Christ has won and made us fellow victors with Him! Let us practice trusting in God and He will continually give us victory over the flesh.
Has Christ won (1 John 5:4-5)? Has sin been defeated (1 Cor. 15:55-57)? Has all the powers of darkness been put to open shame (Col. 2:15)? Have our sins been forgiven (Col. 1:14)? By way of the cross, has He not given us free access to His throne of grace (Heb. 4:14-15; 8:1)? Does God love us to the point where He was willing to do anything to meet our soul’s need (John 15:9; Rom. 5:6-8)? Does He not promise His love, His strength, and His grace to abide in our lives (Isa. 41:10; 2 Peter 1:3-4; Eph. 2:4-5)?
How are we going to allow these truths to impact our lives today?
If our belief in God does not lead to experiencing deeper love, greater faith, more abiding peace, then we may not be putting our faith in the God who loves us and is for us – the God of the Bible.
One of the difficulties in growing in faith is that God removes sin in the process. A part of God removing sin is conviction of sin. In the human heart this can be very confusing. Because as we are convicted by sin we can comprehend it as “God doesn’t love me for me.” When we couldn’t be farther from the truth.
God does love us even when we rebel against us (Romans 5:8). He loves us so much that He refuses to leave us in sin. In other words, He convicts and removes sin because He loves us.
So the next time you are wrestling with sin and feel defeated and wonder if God is for you… Know that He loves you more than you can possibly imagine. He loves you so much that He sent His Son to die for you, a sinner. He will give you victory over sin and shame… Continue to prayerfully wrestle to defeat sin by the power He would supply. As a weapon against your sin, claim the promises God has given you in scripture. He will give you victory.
Be encouraged adopted son or daughter of the Almighty God. He is for you. His strength and power work on your behalf (Matt 28:20, Isaiah 41:10), so that you may be united with Him in grace and live forever praising the glory of His name.