To my fellow Christian Brothers and Sisters.
Do you really understand just how free you are? You are FREE from your sin. This does NOT mean that you no longer sin, this means that you are entirely free from sin’s eternal consequences. This should make you all very excited. Go and live your life as if you really are free. We should be the happiest people on the planet. Christ has set you free with Grace.
Stop worrying about the fact that you sin, you are going to sin, even now after you are saved. You are going to mess up, this is part of living on this cursed planet. STOP TRYING SO HARD. But you say “Jim, the Bible has all of these rules that we must do our best to follow”. You are correct, the Bible is full of rules to live by. The law is there to show you just how bad you are, and how good God is. To quote Steve Brown, “The thread of Grace is preceded by the needle of the Law”. You must understand the Law, in order to understand Grace.
If you think that you can do ANYTHING to please God, you VASTLY overestimate your goodness, and VASTLY underestimate HIS goodness. You can do NOTHING to earn HIS acceptance. It’s NOT possible, stop trying so hard.
If you relax and truly let God work in your life, you will see a change….eventually. This takes time, you can NOT do it yourself. If you want to get better, stop trying so hard to be better, and let God change you. Live your life happily and rest in His hands, knowing that you are going to screw it up, but also knowing that He still loves you and He is not mad at you, and he still LIKES you, just the way you are.
This, I think, is a change in attitude. Instead of fretting and worrying that you are not “good enough” for God, know that you are not “good enough” and accept it, this will free your perceived control over yourself, and let God truly work in your life.
The change that a true Christian desires in his/her life, is not brought about by him/her trying harder to please God, it is brought about by letting go, and letting God do His work.
Looking back over my life to this point, I can see that as a young man, I was greatly influenced by my inability to control my sin. There has always been a place in my heart for the country I was born in. My parents were missionaries in Central African Republic, as a child I always wanted to go back to Africa as a missionary. But as I grow older, I was taught (or I inferred from my teaching) that you must control your sin to be accepted by God. Whether this was the intention of my teachers or a byproduct of my own flawed understanding, I do not know. But I still feel that this teaching is the general overall message that gets taught in most churches.
Anyway, back to the story. My understanding was to be accepted by God you must learn to control your sin, this as a teenager, I could NOT do. So I gave up. I could not be “good enough” to serve God in a significant way. Oh, I still knew that I was “saved”, I was going to heaven and Christ was my savior, this I never doubted. But I knew that I was not to be in any sort of ministry for God, because I could not be “good enough”.
This was not directly taught at the Church that I attended, but it was definitely inferred, whether consciously or unconsciously, I do not know, but that was the feeling that I received and still do, to this day, from most sermons. This could very well just be my flawed perception, I do not know.
As I grew into my 20’s and 30’s I started to notice something that I did not see as a teenager, the people who were telling me that I was not good enough, they were not good enough. That’s an eye opener, you start to see the sin in the lives of those who are telling you not to sin. What’s wrong with this picture? So, the title of “hypocrite” started to flow heavily from my lips. I still went to Church on a regular basis. My wife and I decided to try some different Churches and attended some for a time, until we noticed that this “hypocrite” epidemic was everywhere. Eventually I came to the conclusion that we are all hypocrites and just to accept it. I like a quote from Charles Stanley “Yes the Church is full of hypocrites, but don’t let that stop you from coming, we’ve got room for one more”.
Now in my mid to late 40’s, I feel like I am finally starting to comprehend God’s Grace. We are all sinners, period. We can do nothing to make ourselves better for God, period. If you love God and accept Christ as savior and know that you are forgiven, even if you screwed up 5 minutes ago, do not be afraid to teach and speak about that AWESOME gift.
In summary, Live a happy life. Stop trying so hard to be “good” and try harder to be happy and to show Gods love to all. And tell people about why you are happy. You are happy because you are forgiven, even for that one sin that you just can not get rid of, and if you think you don’t have one, you are not looking hard enough, ask your loved ones, they will tell you what it is.
Stop fighting with your sin, it has NO power over you. YOU ARE FREE, enjoy the freedom.
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