I hope everyone reading this post has an excellent year.
If you haven’t yet said yes to Jesus in your life, I pray this is the year you choose to. It’s the best.
And if you’ve already decided to follow Jesus, I want to take a minute to point out a surefire way to have a confusing, exhausting, and miserable year:
Like Him without becoming like Him.
Enjoy His company without obeying His commands.
Listen to Him without learning from Him.
That’s right: keep calling yourself a Christian, but hedge your bets, stay in charge, keep your options open.
We’re all tempted in this way. We each have to make choices everyday in this arena. None of us is above this. But here’s the thing: going halfway with Jesus goes nowhere. It’s a rough, unstable, unhealthy way to live.
Quit calling the shots while calling Jesus your Lord.
All of us still have parts of ourselves that would like to climb back onto the throne of our lives, the place of authority we rightly granted to Jesus when we said yes to Him. We want to be the lord of our lives, the captains of our ships, the masters of our destinies. That, of course, has been humanity’s whole problem since the beginning.
But when we call ourselves Christians yet essentially live however we please, we become a cliche…a sad one people find unbelievable and even a little nauseating.
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)
Quit deciding which scriptures apply to you.
When we begin to think that generosity is just for the rich (1 Timothy 6:18), or the ethic of sex solely within marriage is simply for the young and yet-to-be-married (Hebrews 13:4), or the call to spread the Good News is only for the especially zealous (Matthew 28:18-20), we are being dangerously presumptuous.
Of course, there were times in our lives when we didn’t know any better. But God help us when we do know better, when we do know the truth and decide we’re exempt.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (James 1:22)
Quit mistaking grace for license.
Thank God for grace and forgiveness. We’re dead without them, no doubt. But, honestly, if we’re not careful we can move from celebrating our freedom from sin to defending our freedom to sin. All in the name of grace. Incredible, but true.
Of course, we’re never sinless. But that doesn’t mean we can’t sin less…and less and less. It’s all about intention…
There’s a ginormous difference between being someplace we shouldn’t because we’re lost and being there because we bought the tickets. (You can tweet this.)
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? (Romans 6:1-2)
Spare yourself the hurt, the fatigue, and–frankly–the waste.