This year has started off pretty well, I must say. I’ve stuck to my goal to write everyday, except for a day or two that I purposely took off to refresh my brain. I’ve been journaling pretty regularly. I’ve been reading my Bible more often, which ends up being every couple of days (I need to do it everyday.). I’ve even found some time to read, though not as much as I would like (But I don’t think any amount of reading would ever satisfy me fully. The books just keep coming. Hahaha…).Read More »
Love.Read More »
Ah…the new year has begun. How did it start for you?Read More »
Wow, it’s been about a month and a half since I’ve done one of these posts. Time really does fly by. I can’t believe that it has actually been so long. Just wow.
Sorry about missing last Friday’s post! I will say that this time it wasn’t my own laziness or procrastinator-ness (That’s a word, right?). It was because power went out on the WHOLE island of Puerto Rico. There was an explosion at the power plant and then everyone’s power went out. That happened Wednesday afternoon. We didn’t get power until Friday morning. Then it cut out for like four hours in the afternoon until it finally came on for good. Though because of what’s happened, I’ve heard reports that Puerto Rico will have random blackouts for the next THREE months. So, yeah, I didn’t skip a post purposely.
We sometimes get swept up by life. It just happens. If you’re like me, you’re a perfectionist and a overachiever. You pretty much set yourself up for failure in some cases. We get so busy busy busy. Our lives are so stressful and full of anxiety. And we never rest. We don’t stop to think, “Is this how I want to live my life, full of worry?” or “Am I focusing on what’s important?” Before we know it, months have passed and we’re worn out. We’re irritable. We haven’t read out Bible in who knows how long. We haven’t just really spent any any time with God. We’ve pushed Him to the side and placed other things (like schoolwork, writing, blogging, exercising, reading, etc.) as priority. We’ve put back burner.
This is a question that has been on my mind a lot. Not so much now as when I was younger, but it is still a question that I struggle with at times. I have let my fear and insecurities get ahold of me and I wonder, “Am I really truly a Christian? Or am I just some sort of fake?” It scares me how my mind can think that way, but I believe many other people struggle with it too.
So, knowing if you’re a Christian is not as easy other…life commitments (that’s what we’ll call it). It’s not like signing a contract where once you put your signature down, you’re in. For most people, when you become a Christian, you don’t feel God entering into your heart. It’s not like a “pop” and then boom, you’re life is changed. Now maybe it’s like that for some people, but that’s quite rare.
For me, and probably for many people, I don’t know the exact moment I was saved. I know I made the decision at church when I was six, but it could’ve happened before that or, more likely, after that.
But how do you know that you’re a Christian? How do you know?
One way is by your works. You really can’t believe in Jesus and then not have the works to prove it.
Works, doesn’t mean that you’re forced to do things for God, or that it is like a chore: something you never want to do. No, if you’re a Christian, you’ll want everything you do to be for God. As a Christian, you’ll love God and you’ll want to serve. Why? Because He gave everything, even His only son’s life, for you. And we can’t ever thank him enough.
Works also doesn’t mean that you need to sell all your possessions and go live in a hut in Africa, teaching God’s Word. Now, maybe that is some people’s calling, but it’s not everyone’s. You can do what God calls you to do right where you are. You wouldn’t be where you are if God didn’t want you there.
So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
But you can’t be a Christian just by good works. That, is not what makes you a Christian.
So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.
Faith in God, is what makes a Christian, a Christian. But if you have faith, good works will follow along with it. So one does not come without the other.
While you can’t necessarily “see” faith, you can see good works. So look back on your life, what do you see? If you’re not sure what you see, ask people who know you (like family). What do they see in you?
You may say, “But people can do good works and still not be Christians.” Yes, that’s true. So if you are doing good works, you need to ask the question, “Why? Why are you doing good works?” Is it for selfish reasons? Or is it for God?
An even more important question to ask is:
Do you love Him?
These are hard questions. And sometimes we can’t see the answer clearly. Sometimes we just have to have faith in our faith in God.
Trust in God. Have faith that you are in His hands. Know that if you love Him, He will always be with you.
You’re either for God or against God. Yes, I know, that’s a pretty bold statement. It may seem very harsh and cruel (though know that I’m not trying to be that way). But it is a true statement. It’s a very hard truth to realize, but it is still true. And that’s the stark reality of it.
Just think for a moment, there are trillions of people living in this world. Trillions. And all of them, each and everyone are for God or against God. There is no in between stage. It’s one way or another. It’s black and white. There are no grey areas. All those people must live their lives either for God or against God. Every one of them has a decision that has to be made at some point in their lifetime: Will they be for God, or will they go against Him? Everyone has to make that choice.
Why? Because we can’t be a part of both sides. It’s impossible.
God doesn’t want us to be for Him some of the time and then not at other times.
He doesn’t want us to love Him, but not live for Him. Or vice versa.
He doesn’t want our bodies to be for him, but not our hearts.
God wants our full devotion or none at all.
And that Bible makes it pretty clear.
Anyone who is not against us is for us.
Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.
Jesus makes it very clear that you’re either on one side or the other. There is no in between. You can’t be in both places at once.
God wants our devotion. Our total and undivided devotion. He doesn’t want us if we aren’t going to choose to totally be for Him. He doesn’t want a piece of us. He doesn’t want just a part of us.
That is one of the reasons why God had the tree of good and evil in the garden of Eden. It is one of the reasons that Jesus sacrificed so much for us. He died, knowing that some would choose God and some wouldn’t. He went through all of that, knowing that everyone wouldn’t come to him. Isn’t that incredible? That God still gave us the chance to choose. He wanted us to have the chance to choose. He didn’t want us follow Him like robots, just doing what we’re told. He wants to follow Him because we want to. Because we love Him. And for no other reason than that.
God has given us a choice. A choice. I don’t think any of the other religions really have a god that gives you a free choice like this. But God does. He always will.
And it’s life decision to live for God or not. Have you made that decision? Do you live for Him? Do you love Him? I hope so. If you choose to live for Him, it will change your life forever. You will never be the same.
As a Christian, with Christian parents, I can not tell you how many times I have been told to do what’s right. Told to “be kind”, “be honest”, “be loving”, “be thankful”, and the list goes on and on. Or I’m told not to do what’s wrong. Told to “not be mean”, “not to lie”, “not to be ungrateful”, and I think you get the gist of what I mean. I even find myself saying these exact things to my siblings.
The Bible also tells us to do what’s right and not to do what’s wrong.
Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
And the Spirit’s leading is:
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Now my point is not to say that this is bad. No, definitely not. It’s good to be reminded of what’s right and what’s wrong. Especially since we, as human beings, seem to forget things so easily (Just look at the history of the Israelites for proof.).
But when we decide to do the “right thing” or the “wrong thing”, what is our motivation behind that decision? More to the point, why are we following Christ?
Is it because we’re told to?
Is it because it is right?
As children when we’re told to do or not to do something by our parents, we obeyed. And all the explanation we ever need to obey is because our parents told us to (or maybe because we also didn’t want to get into trouble). But as we got older and smarter many of us asked the question “Why?”. Why should we do this? Why should we not do this?
And now I’m asking you again: what is your motivation behind the decisions you make? Why are you following Christ?
If it’s because it is “right”, how do you know it’s right? Well, if God’s standards are your moral compass for judging what is right and what is wrong then you are on the right track.
But because it’s “right” shouldn’t be the only reason you follow God.
The most important reason we should follow God and do what’s right is because we love Him.
Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.
We do everything for God out of love we have for Him.
If you don’t have that love for God, it’s like doing a exercise you never want to do. How long will you keep it up until you quit?
Knowing that something is right in your head is not enough. It’s not going to keep you going. You need a reason more motivating that. Your heart needs to be in it. You have to want it with all your heart. You have to love Him.
And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.
Loving Him can motivate you to do anything for Him. It is the reason that Christians can face persecution with joy.
We need to make sure that we have that love for Him, because we can never really live for Christ without loving Him first.
At some point in our Christian lives, we are all told to follow God’s will for our life. To be what He has created us to be.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
But what about when we don’t know God’s will for our lives?
What about the times when we don’t know our purpose?
We were created to glorify God, but how are we to spend our lives glorifying Him? There are many different ways to go about it.
This has been on my mind a lot lately. I’m trying to finish high school (I only got two more years left! *freaks out*), but I’m also trying to get started with some early college classes this coming school year. To do that, I have to start to make a plan for what I’m studying and working towards to be. And, to tell you the truth, I’m really not sure. I got plenty (too many) ideas, but I’ve made no decisive decisions.
So questions like “What am I going to do with my life?”, “What is God’s plan for me?”, and “What is my purpose?” have gone through my mind over and over.
I know the Bible has given instructions to us on how to live. It teaches us to love our enemies and to live like each day is our last. It has even given us a task to fulfill during our lifetimes.
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
But the Bible doesn’t tell me what type of career I’m supposed to have. Or how I’m to go about my life. Or what is the best way I’m to glorify Him.
But the Bible does tell me how I can get the answers that I seek.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
He tells us to pray. To pray and to trust in Him.
Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
God tells us to be patient. To wait. And waiting is one of the hardest things to do, I know.
Of course, I don’t have all the answers for you or for myself. But we have to trust that God does have a plan, a purpose, for our lives. Isn’t that what our faith is Christ is based on? Trust? Belief in the unseen?
All you must do, all you can do, is keep praying and wait for the answers God is sure to give you.
Never stop praying.