09 August 2011

Quit Trying So Hard

All my life, and yours, we've been told to follow all of God's commands, read the Bible, pray, and worship, then you'll be a good Christian (oh and don't fail either). And, the more we do the above, the better we become. I really believed this. I was taught this by my church and the pastors that still believe it. What a tragedy. Oh, and let's not forget that they want you to get "plugged in" to the church and start serving. Serving shows that you are putting other's first. This is obviously more proof that you're becoming more like Christ, right?

Honestly, this is just the Old Testament all over again. I really don't see how it's any different. The Old Testament was like, "Ok, follow these 10 commandments and the 648,593 other commands I threw in and you'll be worthy to be called my saint." The more commands you follow, the more you look holy in God's sight. The more you do right, the more you become a true man of God. Uhhhh, is this not what Pharisee's did in the New Testament?? And, didn't Jesus scold them and call them "vipers" (Matthew 23:33)?! You see, even though the Pharisees did everything right, in Jesus' eyes, they were the worst. You can't do anything to afford God's grace. Jesus already paid it all. So, do you still think you should be working so hard at doing the right thing?

Here's the clincher. What the church should be doing, instead, is helping you discover who Jesus really is. So many people think that a relationship with Jesus is just believing in Him. After we accept Him into our lives, we rightfully claim we know Jesus. This is true, but it isn't. We know who Jesus is and what He did for us, but do we really know who He is and how much He really loves us. What do you know about Him other than what He did in the Bible and what He told us to do? Even Satan knows who Jesus is and what He's done for us (and even bows down to Him - Phillipians 2:9-11), but does this mean Satan has a relationship with Jesus? Clearly not.

Ok, let me put this into perspective. If I start hangin out with you for awhile what would happen? I would start acting like you, right? I mean, I would even start laughing like you or saying some of the same things you say. I would see the way you text and start "borrowing" some of the same acronyms you use. If we hang out long enough, we'll start liking the same things; music, movies, people, and maybe even food. The funny thing about all this, I won't even know it's happening until someone calls me out on it. I'll deny it at first, but when I really look in the mirror, I'll see you...and you in me.

The more you hang out with Jesus, the more you start to look like Him, act like Him, talk like Him, think like Him, see like Him, walk like Him, love like Him, play like Him, eat like Him, text like Him etc. I can go on, but let me get to my point. If you hang out with Jesus, you'll automatically start looking like Him. It's a side affect of spending time with someone. When I hung out with you it wasn't work to start doing the same things you did. It just sort of happened. The same goes for Jesus. It's called a relationship. The more time you spend with someone, the more you get to know who they really are. You'll start seeing past the mask that so many churches want you to believe and start seeing who He really is.

Where is He? How can you spend time with someone you can't even see? He's right there inside of you when you believe Him (John 14:15-31). He's already everywhere you go. He's already with you and knows everything about you. Now, it's time for you to get to know Him. Look inside. Ask Him to help you "see" Him.

When you love someone deeply, guess what happens? You think about them all the time. You can't get them out of your head. You text them all day and try to spend every waking hour with them. You even get upset when you can't see them as much as you want.

Jesus loved you first, now it's your turn to learn how much He loves you and wants the best for you (1 John 4:19). He loves you so much that He wants to spend every waking hour with you (John 3:16). He can't get you out of His head. He thinks about you all night while you're sleeping (Luke 12:7). You should see His face light up when you call Him! You will never love Him as much as He loves you, but He's totally ok with that. He just wants you to know He's there for you at any moment. The effort you spend getting to know Him, the reward, is you'll automatically start looking like Him. Will you accept His love and what He's done for you? Most of us haven't even done this yet. This is the first step to know Him.

His personality is super addictive! Even just the little time you spend with Him, you'll start noticing differences right away.

Have you ever noticed that people will start looking like their pets? You spend enough time with someone (or something), you'll become just like them in more ways than you know.

So, how do you spend time with Him? Just think about Him and what He's done for you. Ask Him to help you start realizing how much He loves you. Ask Him what He would do in your situation. Just think about Him throughout the day like you would your wife or girlfriend. Talk to Him about how you feel. And, read His txt.

Jesus is the one that transforms you, not the church (Romans 12:2). He transforms you from the inside out, because He's on the inside. The church is supposed to encourage you to get to know Him better and help show you Christ's love and grace (Galatians 6:1-3). And, the church is you. He lives in you, not the building you visit every Sunday.

Again, you don't have to work so hard at being a Christian. You don't have to put in hours of prayer and Bible reading. These are all a by-products of knowing Him. What Jesus wants you to do is simply fall in love with Him and get to know who He really is. He knows that once you discover Him, you'll never be able to get enough. You'll always want more!

You are who you hang out with.

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