Monday, July 17, 2017

A Better Life

"In order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that
 we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
Galatians 3:14

A better life.

Somewhere along the way, I started to believe that is what loving Jesus is all about. But I'm learning that's not true. And depending on where you are at in your life, you probably fall into 1 of 4 categories after reading that statement. 

1. You're not a Christian and you're not even really sure why you're reading this. (Hi! Stick with me.)
2. You're a Christian and you think loving Jesus does mean a better life & you're borderline already offended. (Sorry! Stick with me.)
3. You're a Christian and you're kinda, sorta feeling superior because you already knew that, but you wouldn't admit that because that would be prideful. (Congrats! Stick with me.)
4. You're a Christian and you are pumped because you simply love to see other believers "get it." (Bless you! Pray for me.)

(And note the word probably because I get it - some of you refuse to be categorized.)

Honestly, I would probably land somewhere between #'s 2 and 3 before this past weekend. Completely honestly, I would find myself sitting pretty in #3 and taking some strolls around the block every once in awhile in #2. So, if you find your self in either of those camps and are slightly offended, please rest in the fact I have successfully offended myself as well. 

But enough with offending people, let's get on with it. 

This all started about a month ago when the Holy Spirit revealed the following to me:
I am really good at talking to Christians about Jesus and I am really not good at talking to non-Christians about Jesus.

So, after about of week of trying to justifying why this really isn't that big of a deal and some people are suppose to encourage the saints and some people are suppose to share the Gospel but no one really does both......... I realized I was wrong and that maybe I am suppose to be doing both after all. Since, ya know, basically everyone worth imitating in the New Testament does both - not to mention Jesus himself. Minor details. Never really been good with details anyway.... (#facepalmemoji)

After repenting for overlooking this minor detail, (ok, probably a major detail but I have significant pride issues, so it's less painful to call it minor) I started praying that the Holy Spirit would provide me with people to build relationships with so that I could talk to them about Jesus's love. Wouldn't you know it, He answered. 

And this is where the real fun begins.

Because we met some people. Some beautiful, wonderful people. Some people for whom Jesus died. The only problem is... loving Jesus will not make their life better. In fact it could make their life worse. Like a whole lot worse. Like, I am not sure how to even approach sharing about Jesus with them because it would change their life probably for the worse. 

But that can't be right, can it? Jesus makes our life better! That's what we have been told. That's what we live. That's what we believers tell each other. So what's the deal?

*Cue revelation from the wonderful, glorious, beautiful, compassionate, wise Holy Spirit.*

Jesus didn't live, die, and resurrect to give us a better life. Jesus lived, died and resurrected to give us a new life.

You can't make something dead better. Right? Before a salvation encounter with Jesus, we are dead. Jesus gives us a new life. And not a new earthly life, (at least right now.. but this blog is not about the new heaven and new earth so we will just stay on topic) but a new spiritual life. Our souls are dead, destined to spend an eternity apart from Him until we have a a life changing encounter with Him that makes us new. 

SOOOOO, my problem was in believing that trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior would 1. give me a new life spiritually and 2. would give me a better life on earth. Because Jesus is nice. And that whole part in the Bible about fathers loving their children and giving them good gifts..... right? 

Please don't misunderstand me, I do believe with my whole heart that every good gift is from the Lord. The ones we ask for and the ones we don't. All things good are from God. But, the promise of a blessing was never a better life on earth. Like our youth pastor, Luke Harper, so prophetically taught on Sunday: 

The fulfillment of the promised blessing has always been Jesus. 

In fact, more often than not in the New Testament we are told that life on earth will be really tough for followers of Christ most of the time. 

Jesus is enough. It's all about Him. It has to be all about Him. 

Because if it's not all about Jesus, then we end up near tears on a Thursday night because we don't know how to tell someone about Jesus whose earthly life could change for the worse if they follow Him. (Not that I'm speaking from experience....)

To summarize, let's encourage one another. Let's pray for one another. Let's take all our request to the Lord, both spiritual and physical requests. But let's also make the good news about Jesus Christ actually be about Jesus Christ. Because that's how God has intended to bless us from the very beginning.

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