If you love and follow Jesus, then surely there has been a time when His love and favor toward you was clear and unmistakable, a time of great blessing and peace. Especially if you are in a bit of chaos or uncertainty right now, call those moments of God's faithfulness back to mind and be encouraged by these words From Psalm 116:
7 Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
8 For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
9 that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
"Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?" -- 1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19
At the church where I did most of my growing up, we sang a song that included the lines, "This is holy ground / we're standing on holy ground / For the Lord is here / and where He is is holy."
In Christ, you and I are that holy ground. What a wonder! The Holy of Holies was once the center of God's Presence in the original Temple. Now, we are the focus of God's presence!
Today, let us fulfill some other words of that song: Let us praise Jesus now / we are standing in Your presense,
on Holy ground.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? -- Rom. 6:1-2
You can almost hear the shock in Paul's voice. He is aghast! "You all think the purpose of grace is so you can sin?! Are you crazy? Why, oh why, would you return to that life Jesus freed you from?"
Paul goes on to describe the intensity of the battle a Christian will face, and the reality that we sometimes give in to sin, but the idea that we would "blame" or presume upon grace is unthinkable to him. The gospel of grace is what frees us from the power of sin and enables, empowers, and motivates a life of holiness.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life." -- John 5:24
It's a simple thought, but linger over it for a bit. In Christ, we leave death and enter life. The Gospel is not about "good people" becoming "better people." It's about dead people being graciously GIVEN life and learning to glorify God in, through, and because of that life.
"No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you." -- John 15:15
What other God, of what other religion (including the religiosity prevalent in many churches), offers such privilege? We are friends of God! Not just "called" friends, but welcomed and INVITED into His counsel and His throne room, where He makes known to us His truth. Spend some time there today.
"Here we are before You in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in Your presence." -- Ezra 9:15
This is the glory of the life Jesus gives. We ARE guilty. Not one of us can stand in His Presence. We do not deserve to be there. Yet, there we have been given the right to stand. All because of Jesus
The Traveler's sandaled feet kicked out dust clouds that lazily dropped just a few inches away like a ripple that impossibly paused before reaching shore. He stopped, not just to sweep the sweat from his forehead, and not because he was tired, but because he was tired. Tired of not really getting anywhere. Tired of being, let alone feeling, so alone. Tired of the Promise being out there -- so far out there. Tired of the road, tired of walking this stinking road, smelling its dust, and tasting its emptiness.
How long had it been since the Prince had shown him the Path and assured him of the City, and in the city, The Promise? Sometimes, like now, he wondered if he had even really met the man. The Traveler was tempted to stay stopped, to sit in the dirt and... "And what?" he thought.
His head bowed and the anguish of too much sun, not enough water, and too little sleep stung his eyes and caused him to grind his teeth. His hands became fists and his body shook. His initial fury spent, the Traveler willed himself to relax. He blew a long breath. Hoping for something, though he no longer expected to see it, he lifted his head.
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." -- Rom. 12:2
Life with Jesus is a life of transformation and growth. In Christ, you are no longer of the world. "Conforming" to who you used to be makes as much sense as returning to bottle feedings, wearing onesies, and playing with the box your toys came in. Focus on who you ARE in Christ, retrain your mind and heart to know the Truth, and you will be transformed.