Jesus has done almost everything needed for us to enjoy a relationship with Him forever. We have a critical part to play in receiving and giving Jesus’ love. Jesus began His ministry by saying, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” What does that mean? Repentance means to “turn around and go in the opposite direction.” Jesus’ gift of Eternal Life, and eternity with Him, is completely free. It cost Jesus His life to be able to give it to us, but He gives it to us freely as a gift of love. But what do we need to do, and what does Jesus need us to do, so that He can live His life freely through us? We must be willing to turn from the principle of sin, and from the actions of sins; specifically, we must renounce that which hurts God and other people and ourselves. You may be thinking, “Jim, I’ve tried to change before, I can’t do it!” I can’t either. No one can… not by themselves. The Spirit of Jesus, The Holy Spirit, must remove the sin principle that is in us and give us His power to be “bent toward God” in order for us to leave our sins and truly love God and other people. If we are willing to surrender control of our lives, and obey God, God is more than willing to give us His power to change and to leave evil actions behind and to live for Him.
My wife called me and said she had lost a roll of 100 stamps. To us, $56.00 is a lot of money. We prayed over the phone, dear Jesus, please find the stamps. It was 5:00pm and my wife had bought the stamps at the Post Office around 9:30am. She had searched everywhere and so decided to go back to the Post Office where she bought them. As she approached the Post Office’s parking lot she prayed, dear Jesus, I know you care about postage stamps. When she got to the parking lot she saw the top of the tiny, flattened, cellophane covered roll of stamps. She called me and said excitedly, “Did you know God cares about our finances?”
God cares about the smallest details of our lives. That is the character of Jesus. He cares so much about you that He decided He would rather die than spend eternity without you. And now it’s your turn to decide if you want to spend eternity with Him. He will not force you, He’s a gentleman, and only goes where He’s invited. He offers eternal life, right now, not just after you die. And you don’t have to be perfect, that’s His work, to make you like Himself. You do have to choose, as He makes you able, to not sin anymore. But if you do sin again, He is faithful and forgives you and helps you through the consequences of sin. He will also challenge you to discover that His way is better than any sin. When you choose to obey Him, He will give you real life, real joy, real meaning, real satisfaction. You will discover that satan’s way has never ultimately satisfied you like Jesus’ way.
Jesus is with you right now. He can give you the power to change. All you have to do is ask Him, and let Him give you the power to obey Him.
Satan is appealing to my pride again. He is telling me (not in words, but in thoughts and feelings) that I KNOW SO MUCH ABOUT GOD that I don’t need to learn from other people (which God says in Proverbs clearly that I do need to learn from others). I identified this feeling when in a Christian bookstore reading the covers of some books. I decided to buy the book I was looking at (and my feelings were telling me that I didn’t need to read it). Then I told my wife what I was going through.
I have started reading the book (All In: You are one decision away from a totally different life by Mark Batterson) and it is very good and I am learning alot and being motivated alot (which satan didn’t want). By telling my wife about my struggle, the sin of pride is not in the dark anymore, where it can grow and destroy me. Instead, it is in the light which exposes its true malicious intent.
1Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Paul the Apostle, Hebrews 12:1 NKJV
I experience world-class feelings of insecurity and inferiority sometimes. Satan used my God-given need to feel the value God has given us, against me. However, detecting satan can be so difficult sometimes. He can be so subtle and appeals to our God-given needs (but he wants us to meet those needs outside of God’s will). But by following Jesus I (and you) can defeat satan.
It has been said that to learn how to recognize counterfeit money you have get to know the real thing better. It has also been said that to learn how to recognize satan, get to know Jesus better.