Life through Jesus Christ

Do you live your life for Jesus? Are you truly saved? We each have to take responsibility for ourselves and determine whether or not we are confident enough to call ourselves saved. This blog reaches many different countries, nations, and people groups many of which cannot say that they are able to freely be a Christian, but in America we still have that ability, at least for the time being. In America it is almost assumed that you are a Christian even if you don’t live a life that exemplifies that of what Jesus has called you to do, but does that mean that you are going to go to heaven when you die?

Did you know that it takes more than being a good person to get to heaven? Did you know that it takes more than going to church to get to heaven? There are a lot of people who are good people that are not going to get to heaven and there are people that go to church that will not get to heaven either. Being good does not mean that you are saved just as going to church does not mean that you are saved. You see none of us are good, not one of us and being in church makes us no more a Christian than being in a garage makes us a car.

Mark 10:17-25 (NLT) says this,

As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’”

“Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”

Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”

Being “good” does not reserve for us a place in heaven for even Jesus said that “only God is truly good (v. 18).” In answering this man after listing the commandments he went on to tell the man that he must sell all of his possessions and follow Him. This was the one area of his life that this man was not willing to give up in order to follow Jesus because he was a rich man and took great pride in his treasure so he went away sad.

What treasure do you have that you are not willing to give up to follow Jesus? God does not want us to follow Jesus partially, His desire is for us to be all in and when we are we will inherit eternal life and receive the greatest treasure that we could ever imagine.

As persecution increases so does the cost of following Jesus. When we are faced with persecution our faith is tested. Even when we are faced with mockery our faith is tested which is more the case in America, but that is not the case everywhere. When is the last time that you kept silent instead of standing up for what is right for fear of being made fun of or looked down upon? When is the last time that you laughed at an inappropriate joke or made fun of someone for fear of being belittled for your faith?

Let’s take it a step further because some of you who are reading this are faced with far bigger decisions each day. When is the last time that you had to choose between getting a job and denying Jesus or not getting the job? When is the last time that you were beaten for being a Christian? When is the last time that your family was in danger because of your faith?

People around the world are faced with the choice to follow Jesus and proclaim His name or to deny Him every day. We are faced with the choice of self-preservation vs. proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ every day in some way or another. What choice are you making?

When we choose to give up our lives for Jesus we are told that we will have treasure in heaven (v. 21). It is only when we give up everything that we can follow Jesus and reap the eternal rewards that He has for us. Some of you may be thinking that you are not willing to give up everything in order to follow Jesus. Maybe your faith in God isn’t strong enough to be certain that there is a heaven and you may be thinking that it is not worth the trouble to give up everything on an uncertainty and you would be right if it were an uncertainty, but it is not.

When we make the decision to follow Jesus we do receive God’s blessing in our lives. When we follow Jesus and live a life for Him we are changed and if you don’t believe me than try it, you won’t be disappointed. You can have joy in your life even in the face of adversity, you can have peace in your life even in the face of trials, and you can know that everything will be ok for you and your family even in the face of an uncertain economy or political climate, because God cares deeply for His children and pours out blessing upon those who follow Him and who call upon His name.

God does not promise us great riches, but He does promise to provide for us each day just as He provided the Israelites with their daily bread as they were on their way to the Promised Land (Ex. 16:4, Phil. 4:19). He promises us life to the fullest when we follow Him (Jn. 10:10). Life to the fullest occurs in a manner that we cannot understand until we are truly following Jesus, because it doesn’t make sense when you look at it from the outside. When we are truly living our lives for God we receive a peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7) and it is that peace that each one of us are seeking. We also receive pure joy because Jesus went to the Father (Jn. 17:13).

Do you want joy, peace, true love? Do you want to live life to the fullest? There is only one way to receive these things. They are not found in this world, they are only found in Jesus Christ and in order to receive them we must lay down our entire lives to Jesus and follow Him. It is then that we will have eternal life and that we will have true joy in our lives. Following Jesus is more than just a promise of eternal life. Following Jesus is life changing and can only be achieved through giving Him your all.

Maybe you’re thinking right not that there is no way that you can receive this because you have made too many mistakes in your life or maybe you have walked away from God and think that He could never receive you back, but that is a lie from Satan. God knew that we would never receive life through the Law which is why He sent us Jesus. When we turn from our sins and ask our Father to forgive us in the name of Jesus we are forgiven. When we follow Jesus and listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit within us He begins renewing us and changing us into what He desires for us to be, but it requires us to worship Him and Him alone. God’s love is ever abounding, but He will not give life to those who do not choose to accept it and follow Him because there is only one way to the Father and that is through Jesus Christ; all other ways lead to destruction and death (Jn. 14:6, Mt. 7:13-14).

The Source of Happiness

Where does happiness come from? Is it something that we aspire to? Is it something that we get when we act a certain way or do a specific thing? In my searching the web for some different answers all signs basically pointed to happiness coming from within. One source that I found attributed it to finding the “true source” within and says that happiness lies within us and all can be happy if we find the “true source” within. Yet another source says that happiness is obtained by building relationships and instead of spending your money on objects such as televisions that we should invest in relationships and experiences.

Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 states that “a man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge, and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God.” Pastor Greg Laurie says that “If you want to be happy, you have to see yourself as you are, you have to be sorry for it, and you have to want change in your life.”

Happiness comes from the Lord and no matter what we do to try to obtain happiness we will never truly find happiness without humbling ourselves before the Lord and submitting to Him fully. Ultimately happiness can be found in the “true source” and it can be found in relationship, but it is only truly found in relationship with the one source that gave us life, God. Anything that we obtain for ourselves will quickly be lost and we will be right back where we started, but true happiness comes from our Father and from understanding how desperately we need Him.

Are you in need of happiness in your life? Are you tired of trying to create happiness in your life? Let’s stop and take a moment to realize that we will only truly be happy when we seek the Lord. As Christians we should be showing the lost that life is better in Christ, but all too often we don’t appear to be any better off than the lost person is. We all can certainly do a better job of trusting in God to supply us with the happiness that we need and when we do we will become better witnesses to those around us who so desperately need Jesus and we will also be filled with the happiness of the Lord.

Father, we trust that you are the giver of happiness and that you desire for us to be happy, but we also know that you desire us to trust in you and submit ourselves fully to you in humility. Lord, help us to see where we have tried to do things in our own power and where we have taken the credit for the things that you have accomplished through us. All glory truly goes to you Lord for you created us into exactly who you wanted us to be. Help us to show others what true happiness looks like and to let them know where to find it. Thank you for the abundance of blessings that you bestow upon us everyday. Help us to give you all the praise and to share your word with confidence and courage. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.