Friday, March 13, 2009
THE PERFECT PLAN
In the Garden of Eden we see the perfect plan of what God intended for human beings—stewardship of the earth, communion with others and worship of God. Think of this: God had the minions of angels, Jesus, and yet, something was incomplete. Therefore, He created humans to have an intimate relationship. In Jesus’ own words, the heart of God’s purpose for us is to “… love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 We often forget how much God loves us. “I have hope when I think of this, the Lord’s love never ends: his mercies never stop.” Lamentations 3:22 Moreover, the Bible is full of verses that declare God’s never all encompassing love for us, such as Psalms 145:8-9 “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” Furthermore, He created each and every one of us with a specific plan in mind. We were created to worship him. Romans 12:1 explains “…offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” Worship is cyclical. It ties back into the command to love one another; by loving one another we demonstrate God’s love and worship him simultaneously. “Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind…Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon, The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength.” Isaiah 58:8-11 When we serve others, we take the focus of ourselves and our own problems~in turn this is a healing process. In God’s infinite wisdom, He created a harmonious life-purpose for humans.
THE EFFECTS OF SIN
The problem was and is SIN GETS IN THE WAY OF OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. Psalms 66:18-20 clearly states, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” In short, sometimes our sins (the “big ones” and the “little ones”) block our prayers. Everyday each of us is faced with choices—choices that either draw us closer to God or away from him. “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.” For my entire life I’ve struggled with my weight and that little Hershey’s kiss doesn’t seem so bad. After a week and a bag of kisses…well, let’s just say, you get the picture. Romans 6:16 and 23“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in union with the Messiah Jesus our Lord.” Anyone who has struggled with addiction can tell you that people don’t wake up one day deciding to be a slave to their vice. It is those daily little choices that determine the big consequences. Sin causes spiritual disconnection, physical illnesses, financial ruin, and emotional DIS-ease. The good news is God is waiting with open arms for us to repent and change.
God sent the second Adam, the Lamb of God, to atone for our sins: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.” John 3 16-18 We all can think of self-righteous people who truly feel holier than thou by pointing out all your sins and flaws. Clearly, this isn’t scriptural. “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. Matthew 7:4-5 Mohandas Gandhi basically stated that he didn’t have a problem with Christ, but he did have multiple problems with the Christians. When the British colonized India they approached missionary work with an attitude of “my God and lifestyle is better than yours.” How many Christians try converting others today with this same thread-bare methodology? Just as destructive, some Christians drag a heavy suitcase full of guilt and depression around in their daily life. Why would a "sinner" want to become a Christ follower if that's the example of a Christian? Instead, Jesus pleads, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30 Christ transforms lives by modeling a contagious love of others and adopting us as His own.
Condemnation of ourselves and others, isolation, hopelessness, regret and guilt are tools of the devil to deter us from fulfilling God’s purpose. If we are focused on our physical ailments and emotional problems, then we are not worshiping God for all He has done—that’s sinning! 2 Corinthians 7: 10 illustrates this point, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” For example, depression causes us to feel isolated and alone—that no one could possibly understand our troubles. I assure you, God is with you. “You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14. By accepting Christ as Lord and savior, Jesus acts as a bridge reconnecting us to God and His divine purpose for our lives.