Friday, April 13, 2018
Hello my friend. The Lord is so good to me and I can't help but share His amazing grace.
When I think back over my life, I am reminded of the many people that I've met along the way: people from all walks of life. Some were godly, some petty, some even demonic and a lot who fall all over the spectrum of humanity. While it's easy to dwell on the differences in people, I want to step back and think about the ways we are alike.
Regardless of the families we are born into and the circumstances around our birth, Paul relates to us in Galations 1:15 " But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace" that we are truly called by God's grace from the moment of birth. Paul may have been called to preach while we all have been called to share the glorious news of Jesus. But can you grasp that from the moment we are born, we are called?
So how did we all get to where we are in life? We have to travel back to Adam in the beginning. He, too, was created for greatness: to commune with God. But he wasn't forced into submission, but given a free will to choose his path. Unfortunately his choice to disobey God brought sin into the lives of all mankind. So, although we are called, we are also sinners.
How do we reconcile being chosen and being sinners? We CAN'T! We cannot do anything to change our sin nature and follow our calling. But, praise be to God, Jesus CAN!
For you see, Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice to bridge the gap. All we have to do is repent of our sins and ask Jesus to forgive us. From that moment on, we can fulfill the calling that we received from birth.
But let's get back to the circumstances surrounding our birth. Maybe some were fortunate enough to have been born into a godly family who were taught the love of God from their youth, fell in love with Jesus, and experienced God's amazing grace at an early age. But most have had a struggle with various influences in their lives and clouded the call they were given. Some may have had godly people come alongside of them and extended grace, they have been able to accept the wonderful gift of God's grace as they grew older.
However, others may still be struggling with the sin nature and haven't experienced the extension of grace by others. Perhaps this has led to them becoming bitter, cynical and even angry with the world. Some have even done diabolical things and others have suffered. If this describes YOU, please hear me. GOD LOVES YOU! Yes, you! He still wants to extend His grace to you and help you to become a new creature. God wants to bring joy to your life and equip you for your eternal home in heaven.
Then, there are those who somehow try to hang on to a moral superiority spirit. You know, like the scribes and Pharisees. You remember the one who prayed in the temple boastfully who was thankful that he wasn't like THOSE other people who were not up to his caliber of piety. If you fall into this category, you need to take a fresh look at yourself and examine your self-righteous heart. God is NOT pleased with you just as He wasn't pleased with the Pharisee. You need the grace of God to rid you of your bad spirit.
What I want each of us to take away from this is that we could all have been among the most evil of society. We were all born being called to His grace, but what have our actions and attitudes been towards that calling?
Lastly, I want to bring this back around to a young man that I knew in the Fall of 2006. He was a smart guy and always thoughtful and respectful towards me. He was a kind and considerate young man. I never saw anything out of the way with his behavior. Because all I saw of him was his impeccable good character and diligence in his studies, I have remembered him for the last 11 1/2 years.
Today, this young man sits in a jail cell charged with the criminal homicide of his own 5 year old son. My mind cannot reconcile this act to the young man I knew just a few years ago. While we all seek justice for the son, we must not have a heart of vengeance or hatred. To do so, we are self-righteous and just as much of a sinner in need of the same Jesus and the grace of God.
As humanity, we have laws and consequences for breaking those laws. As spiritual beings, we also have consequences for our sins. The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death. In God's eyes, there are no little sins and big sins with different consequences. All unrepented sin receives the same punishment, death. So each of us need to examine our hearts. Do we have sin in our life? Do we have a heart of hatred? Perhaps some may have sexual sin, pride or even something seemingly innocuous like gossip. I fear that more people will miss out on the grace of God because of an unrepentant heart for a wagging tongue than all the other sins combined.
It is my prayer that all of us have repentant hearts, from the murderer, assault perpetrator, thief, idolater, hater, gossiper and all other sinful behavior. We all have consequences, whether earthly or eternal. Just remember, Paul was a self-righteous, zealot, murderer. Yet, he became perhaps the greatest evangelist the world has ever known. He wrote a lot of the New Testament and upon his earthly death, he received his heavenly reward. In contrast, Ananias and Sapphira blasphemed by lying to the Holy Spirit, They both were struck dead and received their eternal damnation.
Where is your heart today? Are you fulfilling the calling you received from birth?