May 27, 2015

Christians...Search Your Hearts

Are any one of us better than the other? Does being a Christian make you a better person than one who is not? God affords us all the same love, forgiveness, and wisdom. It is just that some of us choose to take it, while others do not. That does not mean that we are wiser or more level-headed than those who haven't accepted Christ, because those attributes come from God alone. So just as we have embraced our Savior, those who are not Christian can come to know the Savior as well and obtain that same wisdom and level-headed thinking. To be honest, I know some people that aren't Christians that are the most wonderful people I've ever known. And I know some Christians that are the most judgemental, self centered people I've ever known. It doesn't go along with the label of being Christian, it goes along with where your true heart and desires lie. If they lie in doing the Father's work and in learning God's ways by living according to Jesus example, then that makes you a Christian. Being saved makes you a Christian, you have accepted Christ and He is in you. Just because you have not accepted Christ does not mean you're a bad person, does not mean that you are more lowly than those who have, and does not mean that you are less deserving of love, mercy, and redemption. It simply means that you have not reached out to embrace the blessing of Jesus sacrifice that he freely gave for you.

"Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven." (Jude 1:22 MSG)

He took the nails in his hands for YOU. He took the nail in his feet for YOU. He took the thorn of crowns and the spear in his side for YOU. He took the ridicule, the harassment, the disbelief, being spit on, and being tortured for YOU. And the ultimate price, being separated from the Father while taking on our sin. It is a heartbreaking thing to think that some may never either come to know these facts or accept them in order to find life in paradise and eternity with Jesus Christ. We need to remember not to judge or condemn those people, but rather reach out to them in love and kindness so they can see Jesus shine through in us. And for those of us that have accepted Christ our Savior, may we be mindful to look at our actions and our behavior as well. Just because we have claimed to accept Christ, just because we have been baptized, just because we are active in our church and at every service does not mean that our hearts are right with ourselves or with God. If you find something in yourself: envy, jealousy, judgement, conviction, condemnation... these are NOT of Christ. These are of the enemy and they are of this world. Just because we carry a Christian label does not mean we do not have to search our hearts so that God can continue to refine in us what sometimes even we don't see. We can be hurtful, without even knowing it.

"...and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first to be raised from death and who is also the ruler of the kings of the world. He loves us, and by his sacrificial death he has freed us from our sins." (Revelation 1:5 GNT)

The fact that we are Christians does not mean we are better than anyone else. In fact, sometimes we have more work to do than those who don't even know Christ. But it does mean we become righteous. Not in a way that put us above anyone else but in a way that should help others see love and pureness in our actions, our words, and in a way that pushes us to live our lives to honor Christ so others may clearly see the difference between those that live for the world and those that live for what is above and for what is to come. Be mindful of your heart, search it and ask God to do the same in you. Then let Him slowly take away those things that even you don't see that may be hurting others, that may be pushing you into a superficial or judgemental attitude...and most importantly...pray. Pray hard. Pray for God to give you a heart like Jesus, to blind you to the world's ways and your own opinions and attitude. To embrace only the love, compassion, forgiveness, and understanding that Jesus gave us as an example. He paid the ultimate price and made the ultimate sacrifice. Let that be remembered every time we open our mouths, choose an action or reaction, and let it be what guides the way we live our lives.

"Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong— then guide me on the road to eternal life." (Psalm 139:23 MSG)

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