(Linking up with Amanda to share this that has been on my heart for a while.)
In all the lessons that I’ve learned in 24 years the one that comes to the forefront the most is that life without Jesus, life without God’s forgiveness isn’t really worth living. Why? It’s because all the things we see here, money, success, food, fitness are things that are gifts, but they aren’t eternal. The body I have here. The drinks I’ve enjoyed. The food that nourishes my body? These are all blessings, but if I live for them, they become … curses. The whole reason is that we weren’t created to just live for this world.
One of the biggest things that has been weighing heavy on me lately is the eternal value of the human soul.
The human soul has value, such value that can’t be even fully understood by you and me. But Jesus understood it. He understood it when He said in Mark 8:34-38, ‘And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. 36For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’
Yet, so often, the world around you encourages you to make more money, get more cars, make sure that you have a girlfriend or boyfriend, because you’re going to die soon.
But why would any of it be worth it if you were just going to die anyways?
The very truth is that man and woman were not created to die. They were created to be with God, to know God, to walk with God.
That’s what made life worth living. They had an eternal glorious purpose. They weren’t evolved from slime or monkeys; instead they were imprinted with the image of the God of the universe.
Is that not incredible? You weren’t randomly put here. When someone says in a movie, ‘I don’t know if this happened for a reason,’ it’s because we’ve forgotten. When we fell away from God in our sin, we became blind to our real purpose. We became entrenched in sin, robbed by the thief of sin. Robbed by the devil. Robbed by the devil and our sin of the joy of walking with God and being God’s children.
Jesus Christ came to earth to open men and women’s eyes to the reality of their soul’s need for Him. He came to show us what sin was doing to us, that our sin condemned us before the Holy God of the Universe, the God whose name that we take in vain before we see Who He is.
‘Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the Lord of hosts, is his name,
19 Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings:’ (Jeremiah 32:18-19)
I know this seems hard to believe, and I can’t make people believe it, but it’s true. The same God who made the Universe condemns sin. What is sin?
The other day we were listening to a sermon, and the preacher remarked to not just reduce sin to ‘certain actions’ although certain actions are definitely condemned in God’s Word. He said to remember that sin is the failure to bring glory to God.
Wow. That was convicting. I realized how often I’m quick to condemn certain actions, but I don’t realize that I could even do something that the world calls good, and yet it’s actually sin, because I’m not glorifying God.
Romans 3:23 says that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. It doesn’t discriminate. Everybody has sinned. Everybody has fallen short of God’s glory.
That means that everyone from the handsome actor you see on a film to the little tiny baby that just came out of the womb is a sinner. And they need a Savior.
Isaiah 43:3, ‘For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.’
Isaiah 43:10-11, ‘ Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour.’
Why do we struggle with peace? Why does man and woman feel like they need a Saviour? Because we do, and that Saviour can not be us. Because we’re imperfect. We can’t save our souls. We can’t save ourselves from eternal death.
Even people in superhero movies will die someday. They may be able to save someone from dying once, but that person does have to die. I’m not saying that to be depressing. I’m saying that to emphasize that there’s no other Saviour besides Jesus who can redeem our souls, who can give us HOPE despite circumstances about our treasures being in HEAVEN!
I think superheros are a great picture of mankind’s limited power. We can discover. We can do science, because God has revealed to us so many of the complexities of the world He’s created, but we can’t save our souls. We can’t change our character. You might find a real smart scientist who is making great advances in finding a cure for cancer, but he can’t save the souls of his patients.
I am so grateful for science and that God has given us the wisdom to fight disease, but I’m also burdened by the fact that we can’t have eternal life on this earth.
And I just want you to know that life in Jesus is not just existing with a nagging fear of death or of what’s to come.
It’s ABUNDANT JOYFUL life. It’s life filled with purpose and love. It’s a life filled with a knowledge that even if something goes terribly wrong, you know that God is faithful, and that His steadfast love endures forever. It endures to eternity, past my death here on this earth. It lasts to the point when I go into eternity and stand face to face with God. It says that in Jesus Christ I am forgiven.
Is there no better promise than that?
Jesus takes life and turns it from this verse:
1 Corinthians 15:32, ‘If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.’
To this verse:
John 10:10, ‘The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’
Life With Jesus is Getting out of Bed on a Sunday Morning and knowing that you have something more to live for than yourself.
It’s getting out of bed and knowing that you get to nourish your body because your body was made, created, designed, and that it isn’t something to be abused or killed. You start to understand that God made life, and that it is only the devil that promotes death.
Life with Jesus is knowing that your eating disorder was not a purposeless senseless thing. It’s knowing that God took you through it and that He took you out of it, rescued you, and set your feet upon a rock. He is using your testimony of brokenness to show His power of saving you from your sin.
Life with Jesus is knowing that food is more than food. It’s a gift from God, a gift from the God of the universe, and it’s something that you couldn’t get for yourself. You totally 1000% depend on His provision, and without Him, you would be dead.
Life with Jesus is knowing that you can’t lay your treasures in this earth. It’s knowing that even if you were stripped of every earthly blessing, you would still have Jesus. You would still have His goodness, His love, God’s forgiveness in Christ, and that is what secures you, roots you, and keeps you firmly rooted no matter what storm may come. Nothing is senseless or purposeless.
Romans 8:17-18, ‘And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.’
Life with Jesus is knowing that there is something GLORIOUS beyond this earth. It’s not just being laid in the ground. Life with Jesus is knowing that there is glory, majesty, eternal joy coming.
Life with Jesus is knowing that even if your earthly family forsook you the Lord will take you up. Psalm 27:9-10, ‘Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.’
Life with Jesus is knowing that your GUILT, your shame, your feeling like you have to ‘make up for the bad things that you’ve done’, knowing that you can never quite wipe away all of your guilt, has been WIPED away.
I was watching the Flash superhero series last night, and I was impressed by one thing. They kept saying sorry and apologizing to each other, promising that they would make it up to each other, but the sad thing was there was no sense of sins forgiven, of being forgiven, so you could show mercy to others who had wronged you.
Don’t get me wrong. There were tastes of forgiveness here and there, but there wasn’t the fullness, the forgiveness, the adoption of being a child of God.
And the amazing thing about life with Jesus is that Jesus doesn’t discriminate. Any sinner is welcome. Any sinner is welcome to come to the cross of Jesus Christ and find forgiveness, find adoption, find life with God.
Life with Jesus is life and health and peace, true life and health, even if you’re in the valley of the shadow of death, knowing that the Lord is with you, the Lord is your Shepherd. He gives you courage to overcome the biggest, hardest, most difficult obstacles.
And Jesus makes it all worth it.
What lessons have you been learning lately about life?
How has Jesus taught you that following Him is worth every single step?