14 May 2012

Your Fruit Looks Better Than Mine

For far too long Christians have been focusing too much on bearing good fruit. We're taking the wrong approach. We're spending most of our energy trying to follow commands and do the "right" thing (John 14:15). However, I want you to see things differently. I'm asking you to stop working to change your behavior.

We are so desperate to change how we think and act. We learn quickly that the Bible says we will know each other by the fruit we bear, but the fruit was never supposed to be the focus (Mat 12:33-37). Producing good fruit is not something we can achieve or conjure up on our own. It is simply a natural by-product of being connected to Jesus.

One of the biggest problems is the religious people that surround us. These people seem to have it altogether. They look so humble, trendy (or traditional), and so well established. They have the right smile, attitude, and say all the right things with the proper tone of voice. Church pastors and leaders are the worst at this. However, most of what we see is only a facade.

Most good Christians I come in contact with have done an incredible job of working to make their lives look good. This is easy for some people because they have a natural ability to follow rules. However, not everyone is built this way. Others have a harder time following structure or processes that people put in place. So, clearly, those with a natural gift to be obedient will always appear to have their acts together.

07 May 2012

Quit Asking Jesus To Forgive Your Sins

I've learned that I don't have to keep asking God to forgive me of my sins. One day, not too long ago, I was praying and asking for forgiveness of all these things I did wrong and Jesus said, "Dathan, why do you keep asking me that?" I was like, "Uhhhhh, because that's what I'm supposed to do." Then Jesus asked me, "Did I die on the cross for your sins?" And, I said so confidently (like I knew the answer to this test question), "Yes, of course you did." Then he said, "Do you believe this?" Again, I replied confidently, "Of course, I do!" I thought at this point he was testing my faith. However, he had a completely different motive I never saw coming. What he said next shocked me. He said, "So, why do you keep asking me to forgive you of your sins if I already forgave you?" I had no words to respond. I just sat there like a dummy. I waited minutes before saying anything else and finally answered, "I have no idea."

I started to think more about this, but my brain wanted to reject it. I couldn't wrap my mind around what he said. This went against everything I was ever taught. Even though my heart knew what he said was Truth, I still couldn't believe it (Pro 3:5-6).

Next, he reminded me about the woman who was found in the act of committing adultery (John 8:1-11). The religious leaders (people who were supposed to know God, but clearly didn't) were trying to stone her and Jesus asked for those without sin to throw the first stone. Each one of them had plenty of sin, so they slowly left the scene. Jesus, the only one without sin, asked her, "Where are your accusers? Do they still condemn you?" "No, they don't," she replied. He finally said, "And, neither do I. Go and sin no more." The only person good enough to throw a stone, did quite the opposite - he immediately forgave her. She never asked for forgiveness or even said she was sorry. She just turned around and left (in utter shock, I'm sure). Jesus forgave her before he had a chance to die on the cross. This is the kind of love God has for us.

01 May 2012

He Hung The Moon

Have you ever payed much attention to the moon? I mean, really looked at it. Its purpose and function is pretty amazing. You see, I'm a huge fan of Space. Anything to do with the Cosmos impresses me. It just blows my mind that there's more out there than we could possibly imagine (1 Cor 2:8-9). There's so much more to be discovered. However, we limit ourselves to only seeing what's directly in front of our face. The fact is, what we can't see is more real than what we can see (John 3:10-17). God's perfect example has been staring at us for centuries, but we never saw it. Recently, God has shed a whole new light on the moon's meaning.

For one, the whole purpose of the moon is to govern the night-time sky (Gen 1:14-19). God gave it the role of lighting up the night so we wouldn't remain in complete darkness when the sun goes down. Why is this important? We would be completely without hope that the Sun would return the next day if it wasn't for the moon. The moonlight assures us that the sun is still there. We are also assured that the Son will come back soon (1 Cor 1:4-9).

The moon also provides an accurate picture of how we view ourselves. If you were the moon, all you'd see is boring gray dust and a bunch of holes and craters covering your surface. Isn't this how we see our outward appearance? We simply think we're not that attractive. We only see our flaws. Don't we all look in the mirror and go, "Man, I'm fat," "Another zit?!" or, "Where is all this back hair coming from??" If the moon had a personality, it would probably be one depressed person. It jealously, stares at the Earth and all its majesty.