Ugh. This week has been rough and good all at the same time. In some ways I’ve gotten a lot of stuff done. *cough* Reading. *cough* In other ways, I have done less than I hoped. *cough* Writing. *cough* I haven’t shown my best side for many of these days. I wish I could say that this wasn’t true, but…that would be a lie. At some points, I’ve felt like giving up on the whole life thing. I know that I wouldn’t, but there are times when I just feel it. There are those times when I feel like I don’t care about anything in that moment, though I do.Read More »
Last week I did a post of why you are not worthless. It’s absolutely true. But there is another way people think. Instead of thinking that we are worthless and that God should have nothing to do with us, they think that they have a right to be with God, they deserve it.
I think we think both ways, just at different moments in our lives. At one time we think that we’re so below God (How could You love sinful people like us?), at another time we think that He needs to bless us (How could You do this to me?).
Both of these opposite types of thinking come from, first and foremost, just being sinful people, but I think it is also partly due to the fact that we don’t understand God. Now, I definitely don’t believe that I can make you fully understand God. I don’t fully understand Him myself. But maybe I can try to give you a glimpse of what God is like for you to begin to comprehend Him.
Last week I discussed God’s love and His saving grace. Today, I want to speak of God’s greatness, His holiness.
He created the Heavens and the Earth in days. He could’ve have done it quicker, but he was setting an example for the way we were to live. Six days of work and one day of rest. Have you ever imagined how it went about? There was nothing. If you imagine an empty space, that’s not right, because that’s something. God spoke words, just words, and out of nothing came something. It is scientifically impossible, but with God all things are possible.
God is holy, no one else is. Holy means consecrated, sacred, separate, and/or set apart. He is perfect. This holiness was the reason He can not even look at sin. It was the reason the Israelites sacrificed unblemished lambs to pay the price for their sins. It was the reason the temple had to be built to God’s design for Him to dwell in it. It was the reason priests were struck down dead on entering the temple, if they had not been cleansed of their sins first.
Even so, at our best we are still filthy and dirty in God’s eyes.
We are all infected and impure with sin.
When we display our righteous deeds,
they are nothing but filthy rags.
Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall,
and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
His perfection is incomprehensible to us. He can not sin. Every act, every decision is good and right.
There’s are terrible, horrible things happening all around the world at every moment. We may not think about it much, but when we do…we can question God’s authority. I know I do. Why would He let these things happen? Is God committing these acts? No, it is not even in God’s nature to be able to do such a thing.
“All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the Lord’s presence.
But He does allow bad things to happen. Look at Job. He went through some things I’m sure 99.99% of people will never go through. And though it is hard for us to understand, God allowed it to happen.
God let’s Satan do His work, but in the end, Satan will lose.
No matter what happens, God is blameless.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
We may not understand now, I’m sure in Heaven everything will be revealed to us clearly.
Look, God is greater than we can understand.
His years cannot be counted.
God’s greatness can not be measured by any of our standards. Though we will put God in this mold (or box) that allows our finite minds to comprehend Him. But, in reality, He is infinite and incomprehensible. So let’s take away the mold, the box and see God for who He really is.
In some subjects I believe that society has gotten so confused on what is morally and realistically right, that even Christians have a hard time seeing the truth. We’re just as confused as they are.
And I’m here today to talk about one of those subjects. Love. The type of love that later may evolve into marriage. This subject has been so twisted and corrupted that nowadays it means something totally different from what it was supposed to mean.
How has love come to mean what it does today (That is, a sexual relationship based on mainly feelings and physical appearance.)? Well, I’m pretty sure media has played a big part in it.
Whether it is movies, books, music, etc., they have all in one way or another projected this false image of what love is. Now, I’m not saying that all books and all movies and all music is that way, but much of it is.
This, in part, is why so many marriages are torn apart. Because they expect marriage to be like an image that they have accepted as true from what they have been taught, but it is not.
The reality is that love is not at all like what the world has told us. It is something better, something more.
But where can we find the true meaning of love? We can start by going to the Bible. For who else could tell us more about love than the One who proclaims that He is love?
1 John 4:16
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
What is love?
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Love is now based on feelings and emotions between a man and woman and even between a man and man or woman and woman. It is not at all what it was supposed to be.
Yes, feelings and emotions play a part in love, but those types of things can’t be relied on to last. The love that Christ shows us is deeper than that.
His love is sacrificial. It’s everlasting.
I’m not claiming to know everything (I’m not married.), but if we could even begin to show that type of love in our marriages today, I believe we’d have a glimpse of what true love looks like. We’d begin to see the kind of love that God shows us. The kind of love that’s willing to make sacrifices. The kind of love that places others first before themselves. The kind of love that endures.
Don’t trust the world’s standards for marriage. Trust in God’s standards. Love is between a man and a woman. It certainly isn’t easy. But with God at the center of it, it’ll be going in the right direction. And that will lead to a long-lasting marriage.
But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.
Maybe you are already married. Maybe, like me, you’re not. But let’s look for this kind of love in marriage or in the one we hope to have.
Change. I almost shiver at hearing that word sometimes. There are good changes and there are bad changes. But, for the most part, we don’t like any type of change. Change may bring sadness or difficulties or happiness or something new different. And we don’t always like something new.
The Jews didn’t like change. They loved their traditions and laws and sacrifices. So when Jesus, the Son of God, came down to earth and told them to change, they hated him. He offered them something new and different, and most of the people rejected him. They crucified him. Jesus gave them freedom from the law and forgiveness of sins without sacrifices. He offered them new life. Eternal life. But for this they had him beaten and hanged on a cross.
Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers.
This is why Christians are persecuted more so than most. We’re different. Our “religion” isn’t a religion. It doesn’t tell you to work harder and be good so that you can earn your way to Heaven. All religions ask something of you. They give you laws to follow in hopes that you might earn your way to Heaven or Paradise or something like that. But you can never do that. None of us can. We’re too sinful and fallen. We can’t do anything on our own.
The Jews were in the same predicament as everyone else who followed a religion, except for the important fact that they followed the one and only true God. If you look throughout the Old Testament you’ll see that they couldn’t live up to God’s standards. Again and again they fell short.
Jesus changed things. We can now have a one on one relationship with God. We don’t have to be good enough for Him; we just have to believe in Him. There is no more need for sacrifices. All we have to do is ask for forgiveness and He will never fail to forgive us of all our transgressions. We were in slavery under the law, but now we are set free.
This is why someone will always be persecuting us (at least until Jesus returns). Our sinful human nature wants to work for salvation. It gives us a feeling of self, of identity (though our identity can be found in Christ). We like to believe that we did something on our own. Like God isn’t actually in control of our lives. But that’s not true. For everything we’ve done or ever will do has been because of God. All the glory belongs to Him.
Let’s rejoice over the freedoms we have today in Christ.
We are set free from the law of sin and death.
The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.
This doesn’t mean to live however an ungodly lifestyle you want. Because of this precious gift God has given us we should want to live by the example Jesus set before us. We shouldn’t ever waste such freedom that way.
Jesus changed the world. Now it’s our chance to live out that change to the fullest.
So it’s another day for a blog post. What should I talk about today? Well…I recently read The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller. It was a really short and easy read, but it made some great points that I’d like to maybe expand upon.
This is a shout out to all the teenagers out there: don’t let your fear control who you are or even more important, who you become. Now by saying this I’m not saying that I don’t have any fear, that I’m not afraid. That would be an absolute lie. I’m afraid, a lot.
I’m afraid of failing in my schoolwork. I’m afraid of not getting everything I need to get done to graduate from high school. I’m afraid of meeting new people (it’s not as bad as it was a few years ago). I’m afraid for my siblings and all those people I know who aren’t saved. What if they don’t accept Christ into their hearts and lives?
Everyone is afraid of something and these are just a few of mine. And you know many of these fears boil down to? Not being good enough. A fear of being average. And you know what?
We will never be good enough.
We try day after day to live up to media’s standards or social standards or our standards or whoever’s standards. We try to do this because we care about what people think of us. We want to be popular, to be liked. But we won’t ever live up to these standards or people. We can’t. Our sinful nature will always get in the way.
1 Corinthians 4:3-4
As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.
It doesn’t matter what people think. Their opinions do not matter. In the end, we will only be headed to Heaven or Hell. These standards are useless. All we do is full short of them (unless they’re so low as to make us feel bad about having such low standards).
The only standard and opinion that matters is God’s. And because of Christ, we are seen as blameless before Him.
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
It doesn’t matter what we’ve done or what we will do. We’re saved forever.
So don’t let your fears control you. Don’t worry about what other people think. Don’t even worry about what you think. God’s opinion is the only opinion that matters and He has already proclaimed you His own child!
Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
There is no need for fear. This is a time to rejoice!