Happy Friday. I'm linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals for this blog post.
Good Friday. My kids used to ask, "Mom, why is this called GOOD Friday, when it was the day that Jesus was crucified?" Such deep questions from such (then) little people. I never knew for sure how to answer that, either, because I had thought the same thing. But now I know that it is called "good" because this was the day that Jesus died for our sins. And this was the day that hope was born for those of us who believe in Him, who place our faith in Him.
To become a believer and follower of Jesus is easy. That being said, no one can even call on His name unless the Holy Spirit draws them. First Corinthians 12:3 tells us this.
Therefore I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus is cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.
When He stirs you, you must first believe that Jesus is who He said He is. There is only one way to heaven, and it is through Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the life, we are told in John 14:6.
Once you believe, you must realize that you are a sinner, and you can only have salvation through His grace. There is nothing so bad that He won't forgive you for, and there is nothing you can do win His favor. We are sinners. When Jesus died on the cross, His death cancelled out the sin of the world. Sin essentially means separation from God. And the wages of sin is death, we are told in Romans 6:23, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
After you believe, after you realize you're a sinner and have asked forgiveness of all the sin you've committed (this is called repentance or confessing your sin), you place your faith in Jesus.
I'll tell you what this looks like in my life. Even though I know there is nothing I can do to win the favor of Jesus, I know that I want to look like Him to people who don't know Him. I want my life to reflect Him, because I realize, that I may be the only glimpse of Jesus that some people ever see. I pray every single day, sometimes on and off all day, but sometimes only for a few minutes. I read my bible almost every single day. Sometimes I miss on Sunday when I'm in a hurry. Reading the bible (the word of God) helps me to know Him more. The more I know of Him, the more I want to know. It's the plumb line for how I live my life. For instance, when the greatest commandment tells me to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, and mind and to love others as I love myself (Matthew 22:36-40), I really try to do that. That means that I try to not put anything above the Lord in my life, and I try my best to love others, regardless of who they are or what their life looks like. My job is not to judge anyone on how they live their life, that is up to God. It's okay to hate the sin, it's NEVER okay to hate the person. Most people who sin in such ways are completely lost and are not believers. Why should I expect an unbeliever to act like a believer? I'm the one who is supposed to look different from the world, and not just different, but the polar opposite.
I do attend church services each week, but it doesn't say anywhere in the bible that I must go to be a believer and a follower of Jesus. However, I WANT to go all that I can, because my pastor pours into my life once a week. I love to worship collectively with the body of believers, and I love the fellowship that going brings to me. My very best friends come from there, and I am so thankful for the fact that the Lord led our family to attend where we now attend. I also love to serve others where we attend. I do that by helping lead in youth, and by helping lead worship in choir and on a praise team.
Even though I live my life this way, I am still a wretched sinner, and the ONLY thing good in me is Jesus. That is all. My thoughts, my heart, my words, my actions--they are all wicked, and our heart especially is deceitful above all else, we are told in Jeremiah 17:9. Now even though I'm a sinner, I don't go out and commit adultery or kill people, but you know what? If I tell a lie, or if I have a mean thought, that is the same as those others sins, in the eyes of the Lord. There is not one sin that is any better or worse than another. That's pretty sobering, isn't it?
Here are some more scriptures about this:
There are a lot more, so if you want to read them for yourself, click here.
Even though I do these things, I am extremely flawed, and will NEVER be perfect. We are to be holy because He is holy, and though I try, most days I miserably fail. The point is not perfection. The point is to never give up and to keep trying. I am human, and I sin all the time. If I'm driving and someone cuts me off, and then I think or say something mean about them-that is sin. When I sin, I confess it to the Lord and ask Him to forgive me and change me. I ask Him in prayer everyday to keep my sin always before and to convict me very quickly when I sin against Him. (I got that from Psalm 51.)
And then I move on. I ask Him to help me in my thoughts, my words, my actions. I ask Him to let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart to be acceptable to Him (Psalm 19:14), and I ask Him to help me walk in submission to His authority in my life, which essentially means not my will, but His will to be done in my life. That means I have to always go back and apologize. I'm usually the first one to do this, too, because I am so convicted if I don't. He keeps me humble in this way, and I am glad for that, if it means that others will see Him in me.
And He is so good to always help me in these ways that I ask of Him.
Also, I mentioned conviction--that is not at all the same as shame. He will never shame us, and Romans 8:1 tells us there is no condemnation (shame) for those of us who are in Christ Jesus.
By His loving kindness, He lets me live my life the way I do, each and every day. It's nothing in me that lives this way, I promise, it is only His Spirit that is in me (and in all of those who believe) and that leads me and guides me. He provides me with opportunities to minister to others wherever I go. He gives me boldness to share of His love and He has even led me to pray for someone in the middle of an aisle at Target. I call those divine appointments, and He gave me one such appointment in Kroger yesterday, but I'll write more about that next week. I just live life and ask Him to use me, friends, and then I trust that He does.
I pray that all of this is sparking something in you that maybe you've been feeling for a bit, maybe a tug from the Holy Spirit, and that this is something you want for yourself. If that is you, will you please reach out to me? I would love to talk to you more about all of this. You can comment on here, or you can email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please, act on that tugging in your inner being today, before one more day goes by. We are never promised tomorrow, my friends, so act on this today.
This weekend is perfect timing, don't you think? One reason why Resurrection Sunday is so sweet to me is that it will always be a reminder of when I was baptized in that service a few years ago. I had been a believer and follower of Jesus for a while already, but I had never publicly proclaimed that, so when my twins came to me about wanting to be baptized, I thought it would be amazing if we could experience that together. My friend and then children's pastor at our church Austin is who baptized me, and he and his whole family will always be near and dear to my heart, even though they're no longer here in Collierville.
Thanks for reading today, friends. Love to all.