Many people are burnt out from religion. They want to please God, so they earnestly work hard to adhere to the "Christian" formula, only to feel even more empty and dirty. They work hard for God's approval (and the approval of others), but quietly grow more and more wearied and tired.
Other people, in their pursuit to please God by following the right formulas, don't feel burnt out. Instead, they become self-righteous and judgmental. You see, in their minds, they are doing quite well. They subtly (and sometimes blatantly) believe they are responsible for their own righteousness before God. And, as a result, look down on people that don't meet their standard. Have you ever met a judgmental Christian? It's the worst, right?!
Let's be clear. Religious formulas and rule-keeping is not God's plan. It doesn't produce the supernatural life God called us to experience. It's not the incredible New Covenant reality believers are meant to enjoy today. Have we forgotten that God showed us the futility of rule-keeping within the old system, so we might understand the necessity of a better way? Jesus, and Him alone, is the better way. It's Jesus plus nothing!
#1 TRUTH: YOU ARE TOTALLY RIGHTEOUS. IT'S WHO YOU ARE. END OF STORY.
Righteousness is not based on what you do or what you don't do. It's not based on whether you had a good week or a bad week. It's not based on how you feel. You are righteous solely because of what Jesus has done. He took on your unrighteousness and became sin. In exchange, you received the righteousness of Christ as a free gift.
2 Corinthians 5:21 - For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
#2 TRUTH: RULE-KEEPING SEEMS RIGHT, BUT DOESN'T WORK. IT'S A POOR SUBSTITUTE FOR JESUS LIVING THROUGH YOU.
Too many people think Christianity is about following an ethical system. They rely on the safety net of written morals and codes to produce the results they desire (or sometimes to feel more spiritual). Many people don't understand that the system of rule-keeping doesn't produce any spiritual fruit. So, why keep doing what doesn't work? I mean, really, Jesus came to give life, not rules!
Colossians 2:20-23 - You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.
#3 TRUTH: GOD DOES NOT INTEND FOR YOU TO LIVE THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. HE INTENDS TO LIVE IT THROUGH YOU.
Let's go everybody! Start living more like Jesus. Dig deep within yourself. Love stronger. Serve harder. Obey better. The problem is nobody can muster up the characteristics of Jesus. He's God, remember?! The gospel is clear that God never intended for you to live the Christian life. To the contrary, God intends to live the Christian life through you (huge difference). Let's learn from the mistake of trying to make this happen ourselves and start doing it God's way!
Galatians 2:20 - I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
#4 TRUTH: EVEN THOUGH YOU STILL SIN, IT'S NOT WHO YOU ARE. IN FACT, YOU DON'T WANT TO SIN ANYMORE.
Have you noticed those pesky feelings of shame and disappointment after you sin? The reason you feel that way is because sinful actions don't align with your new identity in Christ. When you got saved, God did spiritual surgery on you. He took out your old heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh. You actually want to please God. Oh yes, you may feel like the old person at times. You may even act like the old person at times. But make no mistake about it, you are not that old person. Sin is like wearing clothes that don't fit anymore. You are dead to sin. Believe it!
Romans 6:9-11 - For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
#5 TRUTH: YOU WILL SEE YOUR LIFE CHANGE WHEN YOU BECOME A SPONGE.
Do you want a life that honors God with daily living? Do you want a spiritually healthy soul that overflows with love, joy, and peace? If you want that type of output, you first need to consider the ideas you are inputting in your mind. Feelings of fear, confusion, worry, doubt, and wondering where you stand with God, come from inputting unhealthy (and untrue) thoughts. However, when you begin to set your mind on the incredible truths of the gospel, your output will respond accordingly! God says you are loved, you are accepted, you are forgiven, and you are embraced. Oh, and so much more! Your mind is like a computer and needs regular software updates. Download the amazing truths found in God's word and your life will change. Become a sponge.
Romans 8:5 - For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
What do you think about these five truths? I would love to hear from you. Comment below.