Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Real Freedom

There are plenty of believers who are enslaved to what they think they have to do to be good Christians. That isn’t why Jesus came. The freedom He died to afford us is absolute. We are not only free from sin, but we are free from religious bondage. Trying to follow a list of rules and acceptable activities for Christians is futile.

When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, what was His answer? It wasn’t a laundry list of do’s and don’ts. His answer was about relationship with God and with each other. Of course, when we love God and others, there are things that we will certainly do or not do based on that love. That might look a little different for each one of us. We can’t judge other people by what we would or wouldn’t do – only by what God said. More often than not, we are judging people based on manmade, religious standards.

Our responsibility is to love. I have never felt so free in my life as when I decided to stop following religion and start following Christ alone. When I chose to love people like Jesus did, I was free of judging them. That, my friends, is real freedom. That’s what will allow you to live more abundantly, as Jesus Christ intended you to live. The organized church has burdened its members with so many rules and taboos that people are leaving in droves. Some denominations are trying to figure out how to recapture whole generations of people that have disappeared.

This is not a new issue. Based on conversations that Jesus had in the Bible, religion has been burdening people for a very long time. Religion cannot offer salvation; only relationship with God through Jesus Christ can do that. If you’re reading this, you have the opportunity to start living in the freedom Jesus died for you to have. You no longer have to be a slave to sin or religion. You don’t have to follow a list of things to do or not do. All you have to do is love God and love people. You love them and love them and continue to love them. Just like Jesus loves you with all your flaws, you love others unconditionally as well. Stop trying to identify their problems, and love them.

It’s time for you to be free of having to be perfect. Because that’s what you do when you point out someone else’s flaws, you pretend to be perfect. Don’t stress yourself trying to hide your struggles from the outside world; show them that you’re in need to a Savior also. Love people all the way to the feet of Jesus. Love them to life! Live in the freedom that Jesus offers you every day by grace through faith.

Matthew 22:36-40 (NLT) “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

John 10:10 (NLT) The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

On Being Good Enough

Comparison is a beast of a concept when it comes to human beings. Someone else has more mindful children, has a better position at work, lives in a bigger house, has a more luxurious car, wears a smaller size, has less debt, takes longer vacations, and on and on. We are continually comparing ourselves to other people. It gets worse when we compare and think that WE are better than someone else.

When it comes to God, we are all the same. He does not compare us to one another. He does not say that Bob is better than Molly. God does not look at how nicely you clean up compared to your neighbors. Jesus Christ is the standard. How are you lining up with Him these days? Don’t try to compare someone else to Christ; just yourself. Are you following His example? Are you obeying His commandments? Are you living like He did? Are you loving like He does?

If you want to compare yourself to someone else, compare yourself to the you of your past. Have you made any progress compared to who you were last year? Last month? Last week? Yesterday? There is a real war being waged in our minds when we focus more on other people than on being more like Christ. The enemy would have you focused on being good enough to compare with other people. The truth is that you’re already good enough because we are all the same on the level playing field of God’s grace.

You will never be good enough by striving after things. You will never be good enough by being wealthier, skinnier, or stronger. You will only be good enough by accepting Jesus Christ by grace through faith. God only sees you as good enough through the blood of His Son, which blots out all your sin. Stop fooling yourself that you could ever be good enough on your own. There will always be someone else to envy that way. Trust God. Accept Jesus Christ. Live abundantly in that relationship.