Category: Experience


But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

Jesus wasn’t very well received when He came to earth. Sure, there were loads of people who attended His sermons and followed Him around, but very few people who truly believed, about 120. (Acts 1:15). We know that the coming of Jesus was foretold in the Old Testament. We can do a search online and find resources that will point out all of the verses that predicted the coming of the Messiah. Of course, there was no such resource 2,000 years ago. In fact, most religious leaders in the time, the only people who really would have known the scriptures, vehemently denied that Jesus was the Messiah. For all of their knowledge, they didn’t have hearts that were prepared to meet God.

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Scripture

Hebrews 5:11-12 (NIV)

11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.
12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!

Observation

When I think of a teacher I think of someone who has learned so much about something that they can now instruct others in that same thing. However, my perspective on teachers has changed over the years. I used to think that a teacher was someone who had mastered a topic to the point that they could teach it to others, but when I think about those teachers that were “the best” in my life, there’s one thing that stands out to me. They were all teachable themselves. While they wore the mantle of “teacher” they were always willing to set it aside in humility to learn something new. In a sense, I suppose, in being teachable they were still trying to gain a better understanding of the subject that they taught. While their students may have seen them as “masters,” they did not.

As Christians, none of us, no matter our position, is a master of the faith. We all have something to learn and we only stop learning when we stop trying to understand. As we move into Hebrews 6 we can see what the author considers fundamentals of Christianity.

“We shouldn’t need to keep talking about why we ought to turn from deeds that bring death and why we ought to have faith in God. And we shouldn’t need to keep teaching about baptisms or about the laying on of hands or about people being raised from death and the future judgment” (Hebrews 6:1-2 CEV).

When you consider these fundamentals of Christianity, how do you see yourself? I often don’t think of myself as a “mature” Christian, but according to the book of Hebrews, here in chapter 6, I am. That makes me wonder, “Why haven’t I considered myself mature in Christ and who have I been listening to?” I guess that I haven’t considered myself “mature” because of all of the mistakes I make and how often it seems that I need to go to God. Even as I read that sentence I think about how foolish that sentiment is, but, foolish or not, I think it’s true. It seems that I have deemed that behavior “childish,” but isn’t that how God wants us to approach Him?

Jesus tells us, in Matthew, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4 NIV). I think that I’ve mostly thought of this as having the faith of a child. That belief that mommy or daddy would be able to make everything better and they knew everything. We know as adults that our parents, those who raised us, didn’t know everything and had no real power to “make everything better.”

Maturity is a matter of perspective. When we were children, we didn’t see ourselves as being immature. As we grew older, through each stage of life, however, we may have looked back on our lives and thought ourselves immature. When we turned 18, or whatever age we were first considered an adult, we thought of ourselves as “grown-up” only to look back later and realize we weren’t. Perhaps part of being mature means understanding the need for growth in your life and not thinking that you know it all. Being a mature Christian doesn’t mean that you don’t make mistakes or rely upon God any less. I can’t help but think of King David, a man after God’s own heart. I consider him to have been a mature Believer but he still made big mistakes and he repented. I believe it was David’s heart of repentance that contributed to his maturity. After all, only children look to the empty cookie jar and declare, “I didn’t do it!”

Do you know God? God knows you and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. Nothing is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so that we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.

Scripture

Hosea 6:6 (NIV)

For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

Observation

Most of us have likely seen a film, television show, or read a book where there’s a villain who gives their life to save others. We may have seen this villain kill loads of people and do everything in their power to stop the hero. However, for one reason or another, our villain shows a change of heart and gives up their life for the greater good. This is a fairly common trope with various terms used to describe it from Villains Dying Grace through Redemption Equals Death to Death Equals Redemption. The premise is the same, however, for each case. Someone turns from a life of evil to perform a “good” act in sacrifice, gaining some form of redemption.

There’s nothing wrong, inherently, with someone turning from a life of evil to a life of good, right? Except in these cases, that we love so much, as evidenced by our tears, there is no redemption gained. These villains who give their lives are only redeemed, perhaps, in our eyes. because of their sacrifice. Some may hope to emulate them in some way while others may say that true redemption would be staying alive and living a life of good deeds. That gaining redemption in this way is too easy.

However, in the real world, we cannot gain redemption through one sacrificial act, nor can we gain redemption through living a life of sacrifice or by bearing our cross daily, as some might like to think. No, we can only gain redemption through the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross and then accepting Him as our Lord and Savior. God’s desire for mercy is for His mercy upon us. We cannot sacrifice our lives, or anything else, and hope that we will earn God’s mercy and grace. God’s grace cannot be earned. That’s why it’s called grace. We have but to accept it and then believe that we have received it.

Nevertheless, if we are to follow Christ then we ought to live lives that show mercy to others. The love of God. We are to live a life that is holy and pleasing to God, not because we are striving to earn a redemption that we cannot earn, but rather because God has shown us this mercy, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). To a degree, this is what living a life of bearing our cross looks like. Not one that is full of sacrifice, trying to deny ourselves for others, but rather loving others as we love ourselves, for there is no victory in the denial of sin, but there is life, hope, and eternal salvation in embracing the love that God has given to us and then giving that love to others.

God loves you and He sees you. He knows your joy and He knows your tears. He waited for you before you were born. He takes delight in you and desires that you would delight in Him. If you would like to receive the gift of eternal salvation offered to you today then pray this prayer with me.

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.

Weight,
held up
by faith, wavering
betwixt this point,
the other,
thoughts of You,
drifting…
to that, before
after,
the other,
again-
discombobulation
occurs, frustration
fueled by
odiferous dwelling-
on subjects past,
present, too near
for comfort,
wanting, desiring,
needing,
You.