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Is the Christian life complicated?

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So is it complicated?
 

Is the christian life complicated? Many people will ask this, but few really understand what the christian life is all about! In fact if I were to give you a straight, simple answer it would have to be.....no! Actually it is not!!

 Its actually very simple! Many people unfortunately make it complicated, but it was really never meant to be! Such as the gospel message itself. Many will make it compilicated, but the message of salvation is a simple one! Jesus does for us on the cross what we could not do for ourselves! That is, we could not "pay for" forgiveness, salvation, so Jesus pays the price for us!! He willingly dies for us!!!

The christian life is very simple. First as a "fallen" (sinful) person we realize that we are in need of God's grace, forgiveness and salvation. We realize that we are not able to "pay" the price for forgiveness, salvation. So we come to Him and we repent from (i.e. change our mind, about our) our sin. That is, we turn from our sin (repent) and ask for forgiveness. Then we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

Then we strive to follow God and His ways (with His help of course!). We do this by reading His word as found in the Bible. By prayer, asking God to "reveal" His word to us. And by praying and asking for His guidance.

Why pray and ask the Lord to reveal His word (as found in the Bible) to us? We do this to help us understand what the Bible says. You see if we read it without His guidance, we will understand some things, but to "fully" and "deeply" understand it, takes His revealing it to us (by His Holy Spirit):

 "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

                                    (1 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV)

You see to have a deep understanding about God, or His word takes the revealing of it by His Holy Spirit:

"However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you."

                                         (John 16:13-15 NKJV)

Also we learn about God from those whom God has appointed to help "mature" us into healthy christians. Such as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, etc. This is so that we can mature, have a full healthy relationship with Him and be faithful to His will (His kingdom purposes, etc.):

 "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ-- from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love."

                                                     (Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV)

So we have the means in which God "works in us". Now we are "works in progress". God is working with us (and through us "via" His Holy Spirit) to "transform" us into His Son's image:

 "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord."

                                              (2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV)

 We will stumble (sin) at times, but God is always there to "lift us up" and help us if we, but ask! Anyone who thinks they will never sin again on this earth is fooling themself!! God does not want us to sin, but we are human, we are still imperfect! And He knows this! So if we do sin God in His mercy and grace will forgive us if we, but ask Him:

 "My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world."

                                                     (1 John 2:1-2 NKJV)

You see some will really beat themselves up when they they sin. God however knows we cannot be perfect. If we could, then Jesus would never have to have died on the cross! God knows that we need Him!! Is it okay to sin? Sin is never okay, but the wonderful thing about being a follower of Jesus is that God will forgive you when you do sin (if you are truly sorry, repent and ask for forgiveness!). Not only that, but He will help you in the areas of your life that are, or may be "problem areas" (such as foul language, not loving others, and other sin areas) whatever they may be. You see God knew that we could not "get it right" on our own. He knew that we needed saving from ourselves! He knew that left to our own "devices" (our own ways, etc.), we would fail!! So He gave us the perfect sacrifice for our sin, His Son Jesus!!!

 You see as we accept Jesus and we begin to be "matured" into a solid believer of Christ (as God would have us all be!) three things can happen to us:

First we could become "self-righteous" and forget that it is Jesus who died for our sin. This can happen so "subtly" to any of us. As we walk out our faith it is easy to forget this. We can forget where we came from! We are accepted into His family by His grace and then we begin to follow Him. He works through us, then we can begin to forget that it is His Holy Spirit that does the work. We begin to think it is us. We forget about where we came from. What God has done, and what He is doing through us, and that it is all Him! This is a dangerous way of thinking!

We need to remember that it is God's grace that saves us, nothing that we do:

 "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."

                                     (Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV)

Its ALWAYS a dangerous thing to become "self-righteous". See pride can be a very destructive thing! It can keep us from having a healthy relationship with the Lord (hinder it). It is sin! And it often leads to other kinds of sin:

 "Pride goes before destruction,
       And a haughty spirit before a fall."

                                 (Proverbs 16:18 NKJV)

 "But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
       "God resists the proud,
       But gives grace to the humble."

                                  (James 4:6 NKJV)

 "A haughty look, a proud heart,
       And the plowing of the wicked are sin."

                                  (Proverbs 21:4 NKJV)

 "Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD;
       Though they join forces, none will go unpunished."

                                  (Proverbs 16:5 NKJV)

*  "not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil."

                                     (1 Timothy 3:6 NKJV)

* This verse here refers to the qualifications of a church leader. Notice the importance of not becoming a prideful person, its very destructive!!! Notice this verse refers to the devil's sin, pride!

Pride can lead to other kinds of sin! Its a dangerous thing to take credit for God's work. You see God will share His glory with NO ONE:

 "I am the LORD, that is My name;
       And My glory I will not give to another,
       Nor My praise to carved images."

                                        (Isaiah 42:8 NKJV)

This is something that often happens to many believers, young and old alike. We accept Jesus. We begin to live for God. We begin to think that the good works that done through us, are us. We forget they are done by the Holy Spirit living in us! We forget that it is He who leads guides, teaches and equips us:

 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you."

                                                  (John 14:26 NKJV)

 "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-- the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you."

                                                  (John 14:16-17 NKJV)

"There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills."

                                (1 Corinthians 12:4-11 NKJV)

We need to remember that it is only by God's grace that we are redeemed! Not only that, it is by His Holy Spirit that He leads, teaches and guides us!! Nothing can be "accredited" to us! Its all Him!!!

  The Second thing that could happen is we could end up "beating ourselves" for our "imperfect" lives, our sin, etc. This can happen to any of us! In fact there was an area in my own life where I would continually beat myself up for! An area that was a sin "problem" for me. For many years I would get upset when I sinned and hold it against myself for a long time. This could last for days at a time (or even longer)! Then one day as I was driving down the road I was "beating myself up" for something I had done. Then the Lord spoke to me very clearly. I stopped at a red light and opened up my Bible to 1 John 2:1-2 and I read it:

"My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world."

                                                     (1 John 2:1-2 NKJV)

Then the Lord spoke to me and said, "when are you going to just accept my grace and forgiveness?". Wow! It was like a "dime" had dropped in a pay phone for me! I finally "got it". God was just trying to make me see that He knew I was not perfect! Thats why He sent Jesus to die for me!! You see God does not like sin, never has, never will! But, He also knows that we are weak and feeble and that we need Him!

 He is full of grace!! In fact He gives us much more grace then we will give each other!! Its such a shame that we beat ourselves up! it should not be this way. You see God only requires of us is that when we do sin, that we come back to Him and ask for forgiveness. And then with His help of course, we keep striving to follow Him!! When we can come to a place and realize that God's love and grace is ever "abounding and beyond measure", then we will begin to really feel His acceptance!!! 

The third thing that can happen, and most preferable! We can become healthy believers who realize that every day of our lives requires God's grace and leading! And even though we will sometimes make mistakes, God picks us up and with His help we keep following Him! Most of us, however, me included! We will end up going through the other two areas first!! Or one of them (?).

Myself personally? Ive been through both, and now God has me in a better place of realizing that everday of my life I need Him just as much now, as the day I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior!!! I am just a sinner who God has had grace on. What a blessing!!!!

And let me leave you with this:

All we like sheep have gone astray;
       We have turned, every one, to his own way;
       And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

                                                (Isaiah 53:6)

 Why would the Lord, speaking through the prophet Isaiah, "liken" us to sheep gone astray? Well because sheep are by nature, always "wandering off"! Much like us!! So you know what? We are all just sheep gone astray!!!

So is the christian life complicated? No! its just a large number of sinners who REALLY know they need Jesus!!!

Would you like to know how you can accept Jesus as your Lord and savior?

 How do I accept Jesus?

Rev. John Heintzman
Evangelist Non-Denominational
POHOM
 
Any questions, comments, prayer requests?
 

POHOM Columbus, Ohio
 
 
 
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