Monday, April 7, 2014

Take on an entirely new way of life

One of the great tragedies of the Christian life is that if we fail to enter into a relationship with God that is born of the Holy Spirit, we are left with a religion, not a relationship. Many a person today lives with an intellectual belief in God, but without a relationship that is based on two-way communication. This is the greatest tragedy of all. It's like having a brand-new car but never having the gas to run it. It can't move you anywhere. It only looks pretty, but one cannot enjoy the ride or smell the newness inside.

Since the fall, we have all imitated our first parents. We have tried to usurp God's right to control His creation. We have demanded the right to control our own destinies, our own moral judgments, our own decisions. People often use the phrase “like father, like son” to refer to family resemblance. When people see my likeness in my kids, it pleases me.

God wants His children to bear His image and likeness, too. The Bible says, “You were... created to be like God, truly righteous and holy” (Ephesians 4:24).
Let me be absolutely clear: You will never become God, or even a god. That prideful lie is Satan’s oldest temptation. Satan promised Adam and Eve that if they followed his advice, “ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5).

Many religions and New Age philosophies still promote this old lie that we are divine or can become gods. This desire to be a god shows up every time we try to control our circumstances, our future, and people around us. But as creatures, we will never be the Creator.

God doesn’t want you to become a god; He wants you to become godly - taking on His values, attitudes, and character. The Bible says,
Take on an entirely new way of life - a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces His character in you. - Ephesians 4:22-24

God has such unconditional love for us that it is truly beyond our human comprehension. Do I now feel like I should have reached out to God when I was struggling? Yes. And for awhile, was I angry at myself for not seeing that God was right there with me the whole time? Definitely.
The Lord is constantly with you, guarding and guiding your way. He wants you to see Him in everything and understand life from His perspective as you rely on His wisdom and power to face any challenge.

The bottom-line is : We may find sin in our lives and take action to change our habits, but sometimes repentance may mean destroying the objects that encourage our sin or avoiding the places where our sins can thrive. It's easy to think that we're strong enough to resist, but that pride is all the foothold the devil needs. Defeating sin requires drastic measures—like nails and a cross—like a tomb and a resurrection.

Jesus was forsaken so that we might be forgiven. Jesus entered the darkness so that we might walk in the light. That was the mission of His life. And on the cross, He bore our sin. The cross stands as a reminder that a hellish existence is not the only option for people. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can turn around. We can change our eternal address. The gospel is a universal declaration that hell is not God’s desire for anyone. Jesus did not say that hell was prepared for people; He said that it was prepared for the devil and his demons (see Matthew 25:41).

If you want to reject the offer of God, if you want to live in your sin and end up in hell in that final day, then you will have no one to blame but yourself. God doesn’t want you to go there. But you have a free will. And to get to hell, you will have to effectively step over Jesus because He is blocking the way.

When it comes to our past, God knows everything. God wants to bring us to the place where we can be ourselves. We do not have to pretend, because God knows us. We also know that He has forgiven us. What is certain is that we must not let past failure or our lack of spiritual progress immobilize us.

God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Many times when we're looking for some great superstar to come on the scene, God is developing someone in obscurity whom we haven't ever heard of. We will say, "What if so-and-so became a Christian? Wouldn't that be wonderful?" And while we're wondering if so-and-so ever will come around, God is grooming someone unknown to us.


Raj Kosaraju

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