I struggled with a event from the Old Testament. I wont say which one here because it doesnt really matter. I have struggled to understand many events from the Old Testament. Today God spoke to me. “See what Jesus did for you?” So, blessed to be living in a time such as this. Under the new convenant God provided for us through Jesus. All the people of the Old Testament lived thousands of years on the promise of a Messiah. They were saved by a promise not yet arrived. Most died without seeing the promise fulfilled but they were still loved by God and those that loved God back were given a way to salvation. They lived in some pretty rough times. I can see God’s love for them and His many ways of pointing to the Savior to come even in their harsh times. Now, we live in a time where no more sacrifices are required. No more living under the law. Our salvation is bought and paid for as soon as we place our belief in Jesus Christ. The law is no longer our salvation from above but is now the road beneath our feet that guides us on our way. It is the guide God gave us to show us which way to go. I may not always understand why or how things went down in the Old Testament but some things I know for sure: God is good. He was good then and good now. His ways are just. I can trust Him without a doubt. Jesus is our savior. What He did for us is beyond true comprehension. There are people that waited years for His arrival and here we are waiting for His return. What it must have been like to be on earth in the short amount of time that Jesus was here in the flesh! To see Him. To be smiled upon by Him. Oh what it will be like when I do see Him. How can I ever thank Him? How? By living in and respecting the freedom and grace we have been given through Him. That was the whole point. Allowing Him to give me this gift of grace and mercy and doing my best to pass it on to others. That is as close as I can get to showing Him just how grateful I am. God chose us to come to earth so we can choose Jesus and live an eternal life with Him in heaven. God WANTS to spend eternity with us amd gives us the choice to do so. All you have to do is choose it! Choose Christ! Say yes! Let Him heal you and give you love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. It is the quality of your life here on earth and it is your life in eternity that depends on this choice. Choose Him!!!
God has promised us a way out when temptation hits. My struggle has been how to see my way out and how to know when to flee. Recently, God has made evident my cue to run. There are times when I am faced in a struggle with temptation and two words come into my head, “Screw it!” Everytime. Whether it be with food, something I shouldnt watch or listen to, or just anything I shouldn’t do…there is a moment that my brain yells “Screw it!!”. Those two words used to send me straight into sin and regret. By the grace of the good Lord, He has turned those words that the devil uses to bait me into my cue to get the heck out there! But Monica, doesn’t running from something mean you are too weak or too scared to battle it? Glad you asked. No, it doesnt. You see, God sent Jesus to fight that battle and He won. Why waste my energy and become weary fighting a battle that has already been won? When I flee from temptation and run to Jesus then I am accepting the victory He has set before me. Not only that, but I am also accepting my reward of obedience. That reward is gained endurance, rest to not grow weary, and free from the regret/consequences of the sin! But Monica, sometimes saying “screw it” is exactly what you need to say to step out in faith. Let me tell ya, I have found times that I thought God was calling me to do something and I was hesitant and then I heard “screw it!” and it made me take a step back and reevaluate. God does not push. “Screw it” are words of defeat, not submission. “Ok”, “Yes, Lord”…those are words of submission. Those are words that show God is in the decision. They are loving words. Accepting words. God does not speak words of defeat. Ask God to reveal your cue to flee and live in victory, not defeat.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
1 Corinthians 10:13
“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.”
1 Timothy 6:11
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
“For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”
1 Peter 2:20-24
So, if you read only the verse in the picture what do you think it is saying? To someone that may not understand God’s love and isnt very familiar with the bible then they may take the verse as meaning they need to be perfect and not have any darkness in order to have a relationship with God. Many verses are misconstrued when they are taken out of context. Read the verses that come after that verse:
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
1 John 1:7-10
Now, the verse seems a little more clear. Walking in the light means we dont hide our sin. Granted, you dont have to publicly declare all of your sins but we dont have to be ashamed to the point that we try to hide them even from God. If we are trying to hide or justify them then we are not truly believing that Jesus cleanses us from every sin. If you read in to chapter 2 you will see that this is not a permission slip to have a sin free-for-all:
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”
1 John 2:1
So, lets tie this together.
You cant say that you dont sin because you do. If you say you dont then you are either hiding it or not recgonizing it. If you are hiding it then you dont believe Jesus will forgive it and heal it. If you are not recognizing it then the Spirit that convicts you is not there. Either way, you can not say you are walking in fellowship with God.
Now, dont be running out looking for ways to sin because sin should be avoided. Sin hurts and harms and sin hidden in the dark hurts and harms and grows. So, when you do sin, remember that you have an advocate in Jesus Christ. He is God’s love sent to earth to cleanse our sins and make us blameless. What a wonderful Father we have! Recognize that, believe that and trust that. Then, you can claim your victory over sin. Stay in the light. Dont hide in the dark.
If ever you read a verse that makes you feel condemned (different from convicted) make sure you read the context.
One of the bible studies I am doing speaks a lot on suffering with Christ. I have always had problems with that thought. Why would Jesus want us to suffer with Him? Didnt He become our sacrfice so we can have an abundant life?
As I grow in learning I have come to realize that to suffer with Christ is to deny self. Ugh, again, who wants to do that?? But then I realize that everything I dont like about myself comes from lack of self denial.
Overweight=lack of self denial with food.
Messy house, piled up school work=lack of self denial from procrastination.
Harsh mouth=lack of self denial to quelch anger/self centered thinking and show agape love instead.
I suffer from those actions. When I give in to lies of the flesh I suffer the consequences.
When I suffer through self denial then I only suffer a little while. Not only do I only suffer a little while, but the outcome from the suffering yields good fruit! I am a better person because of it. God’s glory shines through it! Even better, we do this through the power of God!!
So, if I am going to suffer either way….why would I NOT choose suffering for Christ? He is truly the way to an abundant life.
1 Peter 5:10
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
2 Timothy 1:8
…Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.