I honestly don't really know how to open this post. I want to introduce this topic with a normal introduction, but I think I'll just skip the pleasantries and dive right in.
I've been asking some hard questions about what I believe.
"WHY do I believe what I believe?"
"Do I really know Jesus Christ or am I just going through the motions?"
"Am I truly trusting Christ for my salvation or am I actually putting my faith in something else?"
"Is Jesus enough for me?"
I've been asking these questions because Daniel and I have been through a lot recently. It's been an exhilarating season for us, but it has also been one of the hardest. Maybe one day I'll post some or most of the details as a testament to God's faithfulness, but right now it's too recent. It's too fresh and we're not quite out of the woods yet. We haven't reached "the happy ending." We're still being stretched, still being pushed, still being brought to new levels of humility and dependence on the Lord that we haven't experienced before.
And to be honest, it hurts.
So that's why I've been asking these hard questions - NOT because I'm giving anything up or doubting. Oh no no no.
But because my faith in and love of Christ is being brought to new levels, new depths and I've been examining myself and my faith in Him to reflect on how deep it's going.
So when I say I'm questioning my faith, I'm not questioning it out of doubt. I'm examining it out of self-evaluation.
Because this is the crux of it - when you are facing situations that require God to show up or else you fail, then you see how real your faith actually is.
And by the grace of God to the glory of Jesus Christ, He has given me real faith. And it is growing. My love for Him is deepening.
All throughout middle school and high school, I was considered "the Christian girl" and "really religious."
I am a Christian.
But I'm not a Christian out of some need to be a better person or because I want to bring positive change into the world.
I call myself a Christian because I'm in love and I'm taking Christ's name as His bride.
It is an intimate expression of my love and devotion to Him because I actually know Him.
I talk with Him, walk with Him and listen to Him.
I don't follow "rules" out of some obligation to earn a spot in a better place. I want to honor the One I love. I want to glorify Him with my life. And I desire to live by what the Bible says because that's what He said and I trust Him.
Look at it this way - Daniel and I are married. I love Daniel and he loves me. Because of my love for him, I refuse to do anything that would harm our relationship. I want to do the things that enrich our marriage and bring us into deeper intimacy with one another.
I think one of the greatest tragedies is that anyone who doesn't truly know Jesus just looks at me and sees me as this super religious person when in reality I'm not super religious. I'm super in love and I actually know Him. I ACTUALLY KNOW JESUS.
So when I see news stories about people holding signs that say that God hates such and such and they're glad these people are going to hell, then I can confidently say that is not Jesus. That is not what Jesus is about.
I know my Lord. He is the most loving, most compassionate and forgiving person you could ever meet. And He is enough for me.
If you truly know Him, then He will always be enough for you too.
So when I ask the question, "Do you expect Jesus to be your friend with benefits?" - I'm really asking, "Do you expect to receive the benefit of salvation without having a true, committed relationship with Jesus Christ?"
Do you expect to go through this life claiming the name of Christ while living like you don't know Him and still expect Him to think you actually know Him when you stand before Him in eternity?
Jesus said in John 14, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." This isn't a verse about earning Jesus' love by following His rules.
It's about knowing that you are so deeply loved and cherished by the One who gave you life that you are willing to change the pattern of your life because you love Him back and it's the least you could do out of gratitude.
Jesus knew we could never earn our way into heaven so He did what no other god that is worshiped in this world ever did - He gave up HIMSELF so we could know Him and be saved. If you look at any other religion - there is no relationship with that god and if you presume a relationship with those gods, you have to earn it through impossible standards of living.
He already loves you. This is evidenced by the fact that you (and I) deserve death in hell because one wrong move warrants condemnation AND even though we earned our place in the depths, God Himself demoted Himself to our level by becoming human and suffering one of the worst deaths imaginable - not because He deserved it, but because we did.
Jesus Christ is crazy about you and wants to have a relationship with you, not to have a religion with you. He isn't trying to hold you back from the "fun" this world can offer. He knows that only He can quell your deepest dissatisfactions with this life by giving you a peace and a joy that is beyond comprehension - that in the face of challenge and suffering you can hold your head high because you know that He will never leave you nor forsake you.
You don't have to earn the love of Jesus Christ. He's already crazy about you and He wants to save you.
If you are itching for more, if you have been living a religion instead of growing in a relationship with the King of kings, or if you are just simply curious about some people who are genuinely living out having a relationship with Jesus in an awesome, supernatural and miraculous way, then I encourage - no, I implore you to please watch this documentary called Holy Ghost.
Holy Ghost explores what it looks like to have a living, breathing, growing relationship with the God of the universe. It's pretty awesome. You can watch it FOR FREE online on September 6th - that's this Saturday! You can watch the trailer below to whet your appetite...
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