Before I tell you about my new apartment and uniform I have to tell you about the sermon at church tonight.
It was by far the most amazing and life changing and encouraging sermon ive ever heard that I need to tell you about it coz I think its something that probably all christains struggle with.
It was about how almost all christains lives are like rollercoasters, we go up and have amazing highs and times where we feel so 'close' to God and we read our Bibles and pray and everythings on track, and then almost instantly we have these lows and we realise we havent read our Bibles for the past month, we havent prayed, apart for the occasional grace at dinner time and we start to feel really guilty.
Thats kind of become how most christains lives are and we've just accepted that and like the norm, but thats wrong, because grace doesnt fit in anywhere there. Because when we're having our highs often the reason we're having those highs is coz we're reading our Bibles, praying, going to church every sunday and we feel like we can tick all the boxes of being a christain and we sometimes even start to look down on other christains, and we think things like, 'ooo so and so hasnt been coming to bible study every week' and' ooo look I put more money in the collection bag than that person', and we measure our christainness by what we're doing. We also sometimes think that God will only answer our prayers when we've been doing our 'christain things' and that we can then feel like we deserve his blessings.
Then we have a low and we feel really guilty and we throw our selves into doing all these things, like helping at church more, reading our Bibles and helping 3 grannies across the street a day to kind of make the guilt go away.
As I said, where is grace?!
We will so easily preach about grace and we throw the word around so much and we happily boast about the fact that christainity is different from other religions because we dont need to do all these things to get into heaven God has already done everything. So why do we feel so guilty when we've sinned or not read our Bibles!
Surely that means we havent fully understood grace.
When we hit those lows we should instead be thinking, how great God is that he still loves me when I dont talk to him and that should motivate us to talk to him and listen to his word more because we're excited about growing and learning more about him. Not because we need to do it, as if we need to buy our salvation back.
In Galations 5:4 it says: 'You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.'
The same as when we're having our highs and we're feeling all self-righteous, because we're relying on ourselves for salvation. We think if we do all these things we've deserved our salvation, and we kind of forget about the fact that it was all Jesus. And when we stop letting God control our lives we let the devil in and thats when the trouble starts.
There's a cool parable in Luke 18 about a tax collector and a pharisee. 'To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself:'God, I thank you that I am not like other men-robbers, evildoers, adulterers-or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Its a simple message and we all know about grace but sometimes I think we forget or we dont know how to practically apply it to our lives, we only know it in theory. I definitely feel like that, especially now. After equip I felt all on track with my relationship with God and I was all amped to go home and read my Bible and carry on with what i'd been doing on equip, but almost a month has passed and ive realised I havent read my Bible since camp and that 'camp high' is gone. With it being my last week back home and settling in here I just kinda got distracted. And now that ive started getting settled here, the guilt has set in.
So just as I was starting to prepare the same old speech to God about how sorry I am about how useless I am and I promise i'll read my Bible everyday, etc etc etc, I heard this sermon and was just reminded that when God died for me he knew that I would forget about him over the past month and he nailed that to the cross. So I dont need to feel guilty and read my Bible to buy back anything, I can go back to a God who was always there standing with open arms and read my Bible because that is awesome and I want to grow in my love for Jesus.
It kind of takes a huge weight off a persons shoulders.
I hope this has made sense, and well done if you actually read the whole thing:)