Occasionally I find myself compartmentalizing aspects of my life. Here’s my hobbies, here’s my career, my faith is over here, and everything seems to be fine. I don’t think that’s what God wants us to do. God wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives from the trivial matters all the way up to the matters of utmost value and concern. Although we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone – God’s perfect character demands that our sinful behaviors be brought to justice. We will one day be judged (on judgment day) for both things seen and unseen. We will give a personal account to the King of Kings on how we allocated our precious time here on earth and he doesn’t expect us to be perfect. Despite us grieving His heart and failing Him on a regular basis, He loves us unconditionally. Despite Him being perfectly righteous, omnipotent, and omniscient He lovingly allows for us to be saved through acceptance of His Son Jesus Christ’s ultimate sacrifice (He died on the cross for the atonement of all our sins!).
Yes, that’s right, if you’ve made a personal relationship with Jesus and seek his forgiveness for all your sins, you’ll desire to have your life transformed for His glory and seek to repent in every area of sin in your life. You may go from unsaved to saved from one moment to the next, but that doesn’t mean your sinful desires will evaporate. On the contrary some new Christians, or old Christians for that matter, will feel more tempted than ever. The enemy, our adversary the Devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. We need to be sober, vigilant, and alert according to scripture in order to resist temptation and stand firm in faith. We need to trust God and rely on His provision, strength, and supernatural help to deal with these sort of obstacles.
Spiritual warfare is no joke, it’s all around us and without consciously trying to fight the good fight of faith we will consistently fall flat on our faces. In fact I find myself struggling with some of my old “pet sins”. Like Paul wrote about in scripture, I do believe that as believers we still have sin living in us that needs remedy. Don’t get me wrong, I have my strong areas and weak areas, and glory to God my weak areas are coming to be fewer and fewer! I still stumble in the area of lust occasionally, but I know that in God’s timing I will be delivered completely. It’s one of my biggest, if not my biggest weakness, and yet even though I have lost countless battles God has been there to pick me up, dust me off, and help me to get right back on track aiming to honor Him in every area. We shouldn’t just focus on the areas of personal convenience, we need to try to remedy our biggest problems too. Our minds do such a good job, or perhaps it’s the lies of the adversary, at justifying sinful desires. I am sure you know the lies I am speaking of, “Oh, just one more time won’t hurt.” or “Don’t worry nobody will find out about this.” or “This is one little insignificant white lie or trivial area, it doesn’t matter in the big picture.” The enemy is constantly planting these kinds of justifications and our human desires crave that justification. We need to be Spirit led, that is by the Holy Spirit, in order to demolish strongholds and take all these negative, transgessive, and/or inappropriate thoughts captive in obedience to Jesus Christ. The desires of the flesh and our appetite for sin is ultimately insatiable and no amount of it will ever fully satisfy you. It is contrary to where walking in the Spirit intuitively takes us. It’s a long, aimless road paved with guilt, anxiety, stress, worry, fear, doubt, and above all else death. The Bible literally says the wages of sin is death, this may be physical or spiritual death (I believe it could be both).
In the end we should not focus on our past faults, struggles, and abominable actions. If you’ve sought forgiveness for something, even if it was as recent as today, don’t buy into the lie that it’s too late or that God cannot forgive you. If you’re alive and breathing you can be forgiven and it’s never too late to turn back to God. Turning back to Him, asking for forgiveness, and repenting are integral to growing in faith and maturity in our lives. Renouncing involvement with past iniquity and trying our best to carve a new path and consistently seeking renewed grace, forgiveness, and repentance once more when we fall short at any point. We may not be able to attain perfection in this world, but that doesn’t mean that we should give up.
As we develop our relationships with Jesus Christ we should aim that our hearts be aligned with what He wants for us, not what we selfishly desire. It doesn’t matter if you’re life is similar to the story of the prodigal son, it doesn’t matter if you were loyal and faithful for a season but then fell astray from the faith. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been battling over and over again and losing more than you think might be your fair share. God is perfect and demands perfect justice, but He knew from the beginning that we were, are, and will continue to be imperfect beings (in this life before heaven). He created us, none of this or what happened yesterday, today, or what will happen tomorrow is of any shock to God. That is why His Son Jesus Christ came down as a perfect being, both fully God and fully man, and willingly died on the cross for our sins. He was and is perfect and blameless, yet he shed every drop of blood for you and I. What an honor for us to be among the elect, among those who have the privilege to accept, share, and follow the King of Kings. He doesn’t need us. He mercifully and gracefully allows us to take part in the building of His eternal kingdom. We even get to store up heavenly treasure in the process, something that is beyond our fathom.
This leads me to my last few points, this life is a moment. A blink of an eye, a flash of light, or a short breathe. Yet it also determines what we will be experiencing for eternity. Maximize every day of your life and live without regret, seeking God and His kingdom first and foremost in everything you do. Don’t keep God in a small box off to a corner where you visit Him on Sunday at church and live for the world the other 6 days of the week. Try to involve Him in your hobbies, career, marriage, the way you comport yourself, the way you raise your children, treat your siblings, and express your love to friend and foe. That’s right, it’s not easy but we’re called to love even our enemies! It’s easier said than done, but how easy is it to love your family and friends who treat you well and love you in return? The difficult part is loving those that don’t love us back, or worse they may even persecute us. It’s very hard not to try to get the last word in edge wise, to control our tongues (which are powerful – can build up and tear down with words). Don’t say something in the heat of the moment that you’ll wish you could take back in the long run, sometimes apologies are only the beginning of a long path to heal. Better to restrain your tongue whenever possible and seek God’s assistance. Let God bring your enemies and those that impede your service to His kingdom to justice. Do you really think that our justice system or personal judgment is even a fraction of what the Creator of the Universe can execute? He knows all our actions, thoughts, and even the motivations of our hearts.
He knows your heart, and your desires. He knows both the good and bad in you, and He knows your potential. The enemy wants to knock you down and keep you there, but if you get on your knees and pray to God your life can be transformed. A moment with God in humility and worship, trusting Him fully and knowing that after you’ve turned to Jesus Christ your eternity is secure. Wow, what a pleasant thing to know. You no longer need to fear death, you can focus on serving Him and storing up heavenly rewards. We may be guaranteed salvation and God may express grace and mercy in our lives, but these should not be motivations to become complacent or fall back into our old sins. I fall short constantly, but I try to keep those stumbling blocks as few and far in between as I can.
God knows us better than we know ourselves, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and put Him first in everything you do. He will open the doors that need to be open and close the ones that aren’t ultimately for the best. We may not understand everything that comes to pass, and a lot of things will leave us wondering whether or not justice was served. Remember, I think it was Erwin Lutzer who put it best, when he said “Justice deferred is not justice forgotten.” or something along those lines. God will bring everything and everyone to perfect justice, but it’s on his watch not ours. You may think that someone got away with a grave crime or a very severe wrongdoing, I guarantee they will be brought to justice by God. Whether in this life, the afterlife, or both. You’re certain to face eternity along with every other human being on the planet. It will be in God’s time however not ours.
Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, as Christians we choose to do that of our own free will and thank God that we have that decision to make now. I hope you, my brothers and sisters who are unbelievers or doubting God, don’t have to do so by force. Get in right standing with God and seek Him immediately. Don’t wait any longer.
By Victor Nunez (Guest Post)
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