Hello again my good reader! Over the past couple of months on this blog I’ve been focusing on different aspects that we can learn and use to build our arsenal against the trials that life throws at us. It has been somewhat of a theme, but today I want to focus in on the reason behind why I’ve been writing about these traits. My reasoning is because I have seen that only you can strengthen yourself. Here’s what I mean, we as people can listen to inspirational speakers, read the best books, talk to the wisest of people, but there’s one thing that we all forget. All of these are good, but it comes down to the fact that only you can make the choice over your life. This is one of the most beautiful lessons that Jesus teaches us, a gift he gives us. We all have a choice, and this choice is the decision of life or death. Yeah, that serious. Paul gives us the two options in plain, clear, view. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life.” One of the things that is so good about the bible is that things are so simple, a choice of living in sin, or turning from sin and running into freedom. It’s the choice, meaning the only choice we need. Do we follow the world, or do we choose to follow Christ? Without choosing to have a relationship with Christ, you can still work on the skills that I’ve written about, but it isn’t sustainable. Think of it like an environmental standpoint, if we keep using a non-renewable resource, we are left with nothing. Things break down, we lose the ability to live like we once were. The same is true without Christ, without having a daily renewal, we break down. We need to make the choice.
I know life is hard. You may be going through something that you never could have imagined would happen to you. Maybe you are going through a messy separation with your spouse, maybe you are seeing someone close struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, and maybe you are feeling utterly alone in life. I know that things are hard for you right now, I’ve experienced pain. I’ve seen friends die, watched a close one admit they have an addiction to drugs and pornography, and I’ve seen the hurt that my family has to deal with in all of it. I’m not saying this because I want sympathy, I’m saying this because I know it’s hard to trust God. Can he really say that? Yes, following God is not easy. The only thing that is easy is the choice we can make. Paul just a few chapters later tells us how easy it is. Romans 10:13 says, “For everyone that calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” All we have to do is call on his name. There’s no convoluted step-by-step process, just crying out and saying, “I can’t do this, but you can.” The choice is yours. I want to spend the next little bit describing why it is such an impactful choice to make, because it has radically changed my life.
We are not perfect, but God is all-perfect.
We all make mistakes. Like that Hannah Montana song (before poor Miley went nuts), “everybody has those days.” Joking aside, we are sinful people, meaning we fall short of God’s standard. We lie, we hurt others, we do things that are so foolish; and we do this on a daily basis! I’m definitely in this boat. I can easily lose my temper, that’s something I have to work through every day. Conflict is hard for me because I want to step back and think rather than speak in the moment, so when I’m pushed into that moment, I can lash out and say things that are foolish. I’ve hurt the people close to me in this, and when I think I’m doing well and get cocky, I screw up. Maybe you can relate, or maybe you struggle in different ways, all this means is that we aren’t perfect. We also can’t expect everyone around us to be perfect. We need to understand that God is the only one who can bring true forgiveness and restoration. In Christ I am able to forgive others when they hurt me, even when they may never apologize. This also means that I have the duty to apologize and admit when I screw up. People may not be receptive, but only you can make the choice. We are not perfect, but the love of God is all-perfect. We need to call on his name in the moments where we screw up, in the vital moments where we are not perfect.
We have the daily choice to grow closer to God.
We are not perfect, but we don’t stop there. We have such an important resource, one that is the best document to growing this faith and learning how to live in freedom. It’s the thing that inspires me each week to write, the tool that I need to use on a daily basis. We have the bible. Cliché? Maybe, but it is the absolute truth. In it we see Old Testament and the rules that were created that could never be completed, and we see Jesus in the New Testament show that he completed that which we can’t complete. It is the picture of how we should act and the grace that God gives us when we don’t follow his way. We need to grow closer to God, talking to him, building a relationship with the creator of everything. Such a beautiful thing that we can hold in the palm of our hands. Here’s the truth, there are a lot of great books and speakers out there, but this is the best tool of all of it. It is the word of the Lord and with it, we can grow into the people that God wants us to be. The coolest thing is, this is one of the easiest things to get! Your smartphone can get a free app, and a paper version is great for note taking as you study it! We need to daily be in the word and in a conversation with the creator of all things.
God is the only one who can save us.
So often we want to have someone change the world, we expect other people to bring freedom. This is impossible. Freedom doesn’t come from someone else, it doesn’t come from a political party, a new toy, or the other people in your life. It comes from the name of Jesus. The presidential candidates on both sides are scary. You can buy all kinds of things and it won’t make you truly happy. The people around us will never be able to match up with a perfect standard. The only thing that can save us is God. We need to build our skills, work on fixing our own lives. We need to be what we want others to be, even if they are not receptive. We need to show love, and work on our own hearts. So often I want to “fix” people, tell them what they should do, but I can’t. I’m not God, and neither are you. But the best thing is, we don’t have to be. Our responsibility to trust in Him and show love to others around us, God will do the rest. Our salvation and freedom won’t come from something in this world, but from the perfect love of God alone.
We have a choice to make. The most important choice we can ever make. It is important because a relationship with Christ permeates every aspect of life. It has given me vision and purpose for my own life, giving me a desire to reach the next generation in any way that I can, to share what I’ve learned and write about it to the world. It gives me a desire to draw closer to God, letting go of my own selfish wants. Life is hard, we can get lonely, feel hurt, have the worst kind of pain thrown at us, but there is always hope. A hope that we can use our experience to speak to others, not matter how young or old we are. There is still trouble, but there is also joy I have found in my life. I have grown closer to my family even when we argue. I have a purpose for what I want to do with my life. I am in a relationship with a girl that is absolutely incredible. And I have a voice that I can share with the world. I choose Christ, because in him there is life. So make a choice, it is the most important choice you will ever make.
God loves you deeply, choose to live in relationship with him.
Please share this with someone who is hurting and feels lost, I want everyone to know they are not alone. They matter, and you matter.