Thursday, September 15, 2016

jesus-paid-it-all-01The preacher raises his voice for effect.  His words pierce your soul and fill you with guilt.  “If you want God to really love you, you’ve got to attend more, give more, study more, pray more, teach more, convert more, visit more, worship more, love more, and do more!”  Ever heard that?

Most of us realize we could have made one more visit, delivered one more meal, talked to one more person, encouraged one more individual, prayed one more prayer, attended one more service, studied one more chapter, engaged in one more Bible study, and done a lot of one more things, but didn’t!  That shortcoming helps to fill our sin bucket.  We pile up more guilt and continue to go lower than a snake’s belly.

When that happens, we need to be a connoisseur of the Peanuts cartoon.  Charlie Brown had just finished reading John 3:16 and was shouting to his friends, “God loves ME!  God LOVES ME!  GOD LOVES ME!”  Many of us have been trained from childhood to believe God doesn’t love us because of our inadequacies.  If anything, He is so displeased with us that we’ve got to do more and more than what we have done in order EARN his recognition.  Some preachers have helped create this perception by piling on more guilt!

The devil adds to this deception by convincing us that we need our own fruit tree to gain God’s favor.  For some, their inability to reach perfection causes them to dig a guilty hole so deep that God’s light can’t penetrate their self created dankness!  Their epitaph becomes, “I might as well give up since I’m going to hell anyway!”  WHY think THAT?  The devil’s lie is, “God doesn’t love you.  You’ve tried to earn His love, but you can’t be perfect because you can’t do enough.  So give up!”  Don’t listen!!

Satan is good at his job.  He blinds us to the truth.  He say, “Give up, you’ll never be perfect.”  If a voice cries out, “You don’t have to be perfect for God to love you,” the reply is, “Oh, you don’t believe in obedience?”  I believe in obedience, but I leave perfection to Jesus!

Stop listening to the devil!  He’s the wrong communicant to seek information from.  His  answers are never helpful (Genesis 3:1-5).  He’ll give you more grief than a faulty hard drive!  Regardless of your failures, God loves you.  Why do you think He sent His Word to become flesh and take your sins as His own and bless you with His righteousness (John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:21)?  Recognize that God has made it possible for failures like you and me to stand in righteousness before Him because of what Jesus did.  In Jesus our sins are continually removed, not sporadically dealt with!  Sure, we pray, teach, give, study, and all those other commanded things, but we will never accomplish that perfection called “more.”  If we could, our “more” would eliminate our need for Jesus.  The devil wants you to substitute that “need” by believing your “more” pays your way.  Obey Him out of love because God first loved you!  Don’t obey because you think you need to “punch the clock” to merit His love.  You’re listening to the wrong source if you do.

Tune in to God’s love.  Accept how He expresses that love to you through Jesus!!