There are many layers of truth in the word “difference”. A difference between one person and another can be shown to be based on their culture or their skin color or their race as some relate to it. The human race is only one race but the shades of color that all of us share on the surface of our skin have been causing divisions between people for thousands of years. Some of us have very light skin color, some have different shades of brown or tan or even skin with a yellowish tint to our skin and there are others that have very dark skin even almost black. God caused this to be this way to protect us from the intensity of the Sun’s light in the area that we live in. At least that is what science has told us. The culture that we grow up in can cause many problems between people who don’t share the same culture.
Yes, we have many differences and at times it is those differences that cause much of our problems in every country not just our country.
The differences between religions meaning what or Who they worship or what they believe has caused so many divisions between churches even in the same denomination. Sometimes a church has even split over the color of the carpet on the floor! We have so many options and different ideas that can get in the way of our living the way that God has called us to live. All that we have to do to be His children is to believe in Jesus and follow Him for the rest of our lives. It sounds easy doesn’t it? But following Jesus every day during your life is not easy. Remember what Jesus said, “take up your cross and follow Me”. Your cross is where you nail your old way of living to it every day!
You have to choose to put your old problems, your sins, your addictions, your fears, your family or your career on that cross and give it to Jesus. Leave them on the cross and don’t take them back. Walk with Him, learn from Him because He doesn’t care about your skin color or the culture that you come from but He does care about your eternal soul and where your eternity will be spent! God doesn’t care how famous you are or how much money you have. He doesn’t care about your politics or your previous life but He does care about you. Give your heart to Jesus, ask Him to come in and change you into the person that He knows you can be. The Bible says that when He comes into your life and changes you, then you are a new creation. Your old life and ways are in the past and everything from this point on is new!
The change that comes into your life when the Holy Spirit comes and changes you makes your whole outlook different from what you had before. You are not the same person. You look the same from the outside but your heart is more like Jesus’ heart and it will become more like Him if you feed your mind on the Word of God every day. It sounds boring, I know. But when you have been changed like this, your mind is changed as well. The Bible won’t seem like an old boring book. It will be full of wisdom and stories about God and His power and creativity and His love. Ask Him to show Himself to you while you read His Word and He will do it!
There will be a difference in your life that people can see and it won’t have anything to do with the color of your skin or your culture or the church that you attend. It will be a reflection of Jesus that is shining through you and it will get brighter every day as you learn more and study more about Him in His Word.
Have you ever been told that before? Whether it is referring to achievement in school or something that your parents think you can’t do, it is humiliating and degrading. I once read a “fortune cookie” statement that said, “A great pleasure in life is doing what others say you can’t.” It is true of our Christian walk with Jesus too. Many people think that they have to clean themselves up or get “better” before they can come to Jesus and ask for His forgiveness and for Him to be their Savior. That is not the way Jesus worked when He called His disciples and He doesn’t work that way today.
Truly, we can’t be saved without the Holy Spirit convicting us of our sins. But we cannot save ourselves except by the Holy Spirit and belief in Jesus Christ for our salvation. Also…belief is not the only way to salvation. Your belief is not the only part of your requirement for maturity in Christ. We have to follow His example during the rest of our lives. Learn about Him through studying the Bible. Not just the New Testament but the Old Testament too because Jesus was foretold in the Old Testament.
The early church for the first two or three centuries after Jesus’ crucifixion only had the Old Testament to read. They did have the letters that Paul wrote to the churches that he started but they had to be copied to be sent to others who wanted to read them. There were letters that John and Peter wrote and a few others but until the New Testament was canonized in the fourth century but for many years the Old Testament scrolls were the only written Word of God.
Following Jesus is not easy because today much of what is taught from the Bible is considered “hate speech” because it has passages that go against the sins that most of the world enjoys today. We need a moral compass that is undeniable. The Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit so it is the written, inspired Word of God written down by men who were listening to God’s Holy Spirit. Many people think that it was written by a bunch of “old men”. Well, it likely was written by some old men who had given their hearts and lives to serving God but consider this: the forty-odd men who were involved in writing it all told some part of Jesus’ story!
He is pointed to from every book of the Bible. The Old Testament has 39 books in the English translation and every one of them has a prophecy or a “type” of Jesus Christ in their words. He is the Seed of the Woman in the early part of the book of Genesis. Later He is referred to as the Angel of the Lord. In Exodus, He is the Pillar of Fire by night and the Pillar of Cloud by day and the Rock which gave them water in the wilderness. Jesus is referred to in every book of the Bible, of course, He is in every part of the New Testament but that is to affirm and testify to the prophecy from the Old Testament.
God has done so much in our lives and in the world for all to see yet many still refuse to believe in Him and His Son, Jesus Christ. Is it because they don’t want to see or understand? Partially. The other reason is that Satan is blinding them to the Truth that is found in Jesus Christ. He causes many people to believe that they have plenty of time to make that decision or even that they can get to Heaven on their own merit. I can tell you that you can’t do it! If we could there would’ve been no reason for Jesus to die on the cross and be raised to life on the third day!
You can’t save yourself and I can’t either but salvation from the eternity of hell only comes through following Jesus and giving your heart to Him. Some of you might say that the thief on the cross had no time to follow Him yet Jesus told him that he would be with Him in paradise today because of his belief that Jesus was the Christ. That is all that was needed. Believe in Jesus for your salvation so that you can follow Him from this point on in your life.
Many of us might say that we feel terrible and our health has not improved so no I don’t feel blessed today. God gave you another day to live and pray for your healing and your blessing so why do you feel this way? Because the pain isn’t gone. Because my money, my bank account is still empty. Keep praying, keep believing in God and His promises because He loves you and He will answer. God blesses us with another day to live and work and serve Him with all of our strength and with everything we have because we should do so! He gave His Son for your salvation. He sent Jesus to pay the price for your sins and mine and everyone in the past, present and future of this world. That gift alone should be enough to feel blessed today!
If you are alive and breathing and able to read this then you have been blessed and your forgiveness is available through Jesus and your eternity depends upon your decision to follow Him from this day forward. Pray that He will save you and He will do it! Then follow Him by reading His Word and telling others about His provision and blessing.
We live each day as if nobody sees what we do or knows what we say, yet God knows all. He sees and hears every thought, word and deed that we do each and every day. We will be judged by those words and deeds even if we are saved through Jesus Christ because many times we do these things not considering that many of them are wrong in God’s eyes. If you are to live a life that shows others that you have given your heart and your life to Jesus and that you follow Him daily then your life must show it. If you don’t want to live a Christian life following Jesus and His teachings each day then don’t give your heart to Him. There are only two choices for your life…salvation through Jesus or life without Him. One you get to live here in accordance with His teachings so that others might see Him through your life. The other, life without Jesus, you can live without ever knowing Him or going to church or serving others but your life will end with your death.
A life approved by Jesus and through His Holy Spirit is a life that never ends. You will seek Him each day, living life here as a disciple and a follower of Him so that others will see the effect of Jesus Christ in your life. Hopefully they will see the peace that He gives you in times of trouble or the strength that you get through Him when you go through testing. The greatest gift that you have is the gift of eternity with Him because your life will go on after this body and this life is over. Our life will go on to be present with Him in Heaven and we will have an immortal body that will never know pain or disease ever again. The few years that we have here on Earth are the proving ground and the testing of our faith in Him and whether we will give our life to Him or not.
Does it matter if we live a life approved by Jesus Christ? Yes! If you would like your child or your children to know Him then you must live a life approved by Him. Children will follow in your footsteps whether you want them to or not and they will see the things that you do or say and learn from them whether you intended for them to or not. They will find out your past in one way or another so be careful to show them that you may have been a reprobate in the past but you have given your heart to Jesus and you have truly changed. You are no longer that person from your youth because you are a new creation in Jesus Christ!
Being a Christian in truth and in deed means living your faith everyday, not just on Sunday or on a particular holiday. It is not something that you can put on for weddings or funerals and on Sunday and then take it off when it isn’t convenient for you. When your heart is changed by Jesus, you are changed from the core of your being. Sometimes it takes a few years for the change to become visible to everyone because it is a process. Your heart is changed but the maturity comes from studying the Word of God and prayer to give you the strength each day to walk with Him. The Christian life is not an easy road to walk on. There will be trials and days when you do stumble and make mistakes. You will sin with your cuss words and thoughts but you will seek forgiveness and help in repenting from those mistakes. As I said, it takes time.