Tuesday, February 17, 2015


What is commitment? Do we really understand what it is to stand for God? We understand John 3:16 - that God so loved the world that he sent Jesus to die for us. We understand that God loves us, but is it really that simple. God loves you and just accept him as your Savior and everything will be wonderful from now on.

As I am writing this, ISIS is all over the news for having beheaded 21 Christians. As I sing “Oh, how I love Jesus”, is that really enough? Is loving God enough? Do I really know how to love God? Is my love real? Would it withstand a test like the one these men were put through?

His love for me is enough to take away all my sin. His love for me is enough to clean up the mess I’ve made of my life. His love for me is enough to get me through anything. His love for me is enough to save me and present me blameless before the Father. The question here is not about His love for me, but rather about my love for Him.

Do I have enough courage and backbone to really stand for Him in times of trouble? Is my love for Him strong enough that I would be willing to die for it? People around the world have that kind of faith. People are dying for Christ. Am I willing to be that kind of Christian? Or if the going were to get tough, would I take my light and hide it under a bushel? Am I a person who takes my faith seriously enough that I would willingly die for it?

Thoughts like this are difficult. It’s hard to honestly examine my own life and faith. As I take a hard look at where I am, what I am doing, am I okay with what my life stands for? Perhaps if I were really honest, I’d tell you that I need to be down on my knees weeping over my own sin, my own lukewarmness, my own lack of conviction.

Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) There’s no other way to get to heaven. You have to go through Jesus. And what else did he say? “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)

I’ve thought a lot lately about what it means to pick up my cross. I think it means different things for different people but I keep coming back to the idea that I need to humbly lay my life down for the message of the cross. The cross was messy. The cross was harsh. The cross doesn’t look nice, or happy, or lovely, or comfortable. The cross was pain. The cross was necessary to purchase our redemption. The cross is offensive. The cross is the power of God.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18

I’ve heard a lot of teaching against the idea of cheap grace. Where we take the forgiveness of Jesus like a “get out of hell free card” and then go and do whatever we want. Jesus never taught that idea. Our faith in Christ was always supposed to be costly – that’s how we know it is real. If we want safety and an easy life, then we don’t really want to be a Christian.

For too long, Christians in America have had it easy and we’ve gotten comfortable. We’ve taken so much for granted. We’re soft. We want an easy faith. We want a “free” faith. It’s time to see that that kind of faith doesn’t stand in a crisis. The church was built on the blood of martyrs. The persecuted church across the world is growing and strong. It’s time to take our stand. It’s time to be serious about our faith and quit playing games.

That’s where my heart is today. I’m done with living a life of comfort. Jesus loved me so much he chose to hang on the cross and die for me. He demands no less of a commitment from me. How committed are you?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Oh, How He loves me

Pause and think about this idea for just a moment. How much does God the Father love Jesus? Now try to understand what Jesus was saying in John 15:9. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” Take how much God loves Jesus and think – that’s how much Jesus loves me. Then it says to remain in his love. Or in other words, abide in his love. Walk in his love. Be strengthened by his love. Be confident in his love. In the words of the songwriter – Oh, How He loves you and me! It should take our breath away just to think about it.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” Wow – Paul is asking us to imitate his life because he is imitating Christ. Would I be able to say such a thing! Do I love others the way Jesus loved people? Does my life look anything like Jesus’ life? Am I even striving for that? Does it matter to me? Am I even concerned about other people?

It’s not about being intelligent. It’s not about what I know. It has nothing to do with whether I read through the whole Bible last year. It has nothing to do with how many verses I memorized. It’s about who I know. Do I really know Jesus? It’s about how I live. Is my life patterned after my Savior? Romans 8:29 tells us that our ultimate goal is to be conformed to the image of Christ. Am I getting any closer to that goal?

I pray that God will break my heart for the lost, that he will give me a true love for other people, and that he will help me live out the things that I know to be true. I pray that I will be seeking to build others up in their faith. I pray that God will allow my life to demonstrate the love of Christ to the point that when others watch me, they will get a glimpse of Jesus.

What about you? What are you praying for God to do in your heart and life?