That’s Not You Anymore

An ongoing battle that every Christian faces is the one between the person you were before you met Jesus and the one you are now that you have met Him.  Old temptations beckon.  Old habits resurface.  Old desires rekindle.  Old loyalties divide.  Old beliefs hinder. Old memories haunt.  When you feel this tension, remember that you have a new identity, a new life and a new you because you believe in and belong to Jesus! You have been changed, are being changed and will be changed by His transforming grace.  So fight the good fight of faith against sin as you rejoice in this today:  that’s not you anymore.

A Faith That Saves Is A Faith That Loves

Birds fly.  Flowers bloom. Honey sweetens. Water dampens. Light illuminates.  It’s automatic and appropriate that they do these things because that’s how they were made.  This is their nature and design, and it is right to expect them to act in a certain way just as it is right to expect saving faith in Jesus to work itself out in love.  It is normal.  It is natural.  When God’s grace remakes us into people of faith, the new love we have for God will burst forth in acts of love for others.  We can’t help but love.  We can’t stop loving.  We will live this out imperfectly, but this is for sure:  A faith that saves is a faith that loves.

Sights Set On Eternity

One of the enemy’s biggest lies is convincing us to live as if this life is all there is.  He wants us to prioritize and pursue things that won’t matter for long over things that will matter forever. But everything looks different when you look past the temporary to eternity.   This place isn’t our home; we’re heading home.  This life won’t last forever; the next life will.  This treasure trove will fade away; the ones laid up in heaven have an everlasting shine.  Yes, let us enjoy our time on earth and the things of earth as God means for us to do.  But, even more, let us think, feel, speak and act as people who have set their sights on eternity.

Defined By God

When we are secure in our identity in Christ, we are free to have relationships that are not defined by comparing ourselves with others, but by caring for others.  If our sense of personal worth comes from how God feels about us, treats us, and remakes us as His children, then we don’t have to prove ourselves in categories of better and worse, more and less, or ahead and behind in how we measure up against the people in our lives.  Instead of ranking ourselves as better off than others or resenting others who we think are better off than ourselves, we can joyfully love and serve them as equal image-bearers of God.

You Don’t Have To Prove Your Worth

This is the jaw-dropping reality of just how much you are worth:   Jesus loves you, gave Himself for you and lives in you. Don’t you see?  Your worth is not based on who you are; it is based on Whose you are.  Your worth is not based on your performance; it is based on His.   Your worth is not based on your making a name for yourself; it is based on the Name of the One who lives inside you.  If you belong to Jesus, the old you is dead, and the life you now live carries a value that is not found in any personal achievement, accolade or attribute.  You don’t have to prove your worth.  Jesus already did that.

Trust Vs. Mistrust

Faith in Jesus is followed by following Jesus in faith.  Saving belief leads us to step off the throne, take off the crown, and let Jesus take over ruling our hearts and lives. We haven’t really put our faith in Jesus if we are indifferent to what He wants and resistant to what He says.  That’s not trust. That’s a lack of trust.  That’s mistrust.  Real faith in Jesus makes us want to give up our sin and self-rule to follow His steps, His ways and His commands (although imperfectly executed) more fully over time.  Why? Because we are confident that life His way is better than any other option, and that for eternal life He is the only option.

Our Identity Is Not Something We Wear On The Outsi …

It’s not Sunday church clothes.  It’s not a cross necklace.  It’s not a t-shirt.  Being a Christian is not something we put on and take off depending upon the place we are at, the position we are in, or the people we are around.  We should strive by grace to speak, act and live in the same manner at all times, not picking and choosing when we let our Christianity be seen.  People will know that we belong to Jesus not because of what we have on, but by how we love on those around us.  24/7 we are imperfect image-bearers of the One living in our hearts.  Our identity is not something we wear, it’s something we are.

Christian Is The Adjective

Christian is the adjective that should describe every category of our lives.  We are Christian family members, Christian friends, Christian workers, Christian movie-goers, Christian neighbors, Christian drivers, Christian shoppers, and across all categories, Christian mistake-makers.  Flawed, but forgiven. Imperfect, but improving.  Unworthy, but unfinished.  Knowing Jesus… Has changed, is changing and will change who we are and what we do as we grow to trust Him and be like Him more fully in more areas of our lives.  A question we need to ask ourselves is this:  Do I live as if Jesus is my life or just a part of it?

You Are Not Someone Else

You are not someone else; someone else is not you.  God has ordained that each of His children be equipped with gifts, abilities, opportunities and resources to fulfil a specific purpose in a specific place to a specific people.  Some are more visible and more vast than others, but all are important. To avoid falling into the trap of comparison as we seek to live out the plans Jesus has for us in His kingdom, it is important for us to remember that the measurement of godly stewardship is not fruitfulness, but faithfulness.  It is not the size of your platform that is most important; it is what you do with what you have been given.

Be Salty And Shiny

You were made to influence the world for good in such a way that God gets the credit.  God calls you.  God prepares you.  God sends you.  God empowers you.  God uses you.  God rewards you.   He gives you a platform to shine light into the surrounding darkness.  He gives you a platform to salt the surrounding flavorlessness.  Why?  So others come into the light.  So others taste the flavor. Christians are salty and shiny when they make God and His kingdom taste and look good through what we say and do, so that others find their way to happiness in Him and He is honored in them.  Be salty.  Be shiny.  Be like Jesus.

It Never Leaves You The Same

Since trusting in Jesus is the basis for our hope of eternal life, how can we know that we really trust Him? The short answer is: we look for evidences that the trust we have in Him is changing us.  Genuine saving belief never leaves you the same.  We gradually become less like the world and more like Jesus as we follow Him in faith.  Trusting Him leads to ongoing and loving… Repentance, because we believe what He offers is better than sin.  Obedience, because we believe His ways are always good and right. Confidence, because we believe what He has promised us will happen.  We believe.  We change.  That’s how we know.

There Is No Plan B

God certainly works in supernatural ways at times, but He also works at making supernatural changes inside of His people so we who have been touched by His grace and generosity will pay it forward to others. You can’t do everything, but you can do something to make a difference … one need at a time, one moment at a time, one person at a time. Therefore, show the world His heart for them by being His hands and feet to them.  The church of God, His people, you and me, are His Plan A for blanketing the world with good works and spreading the good news of Jesus everywhere we go.  There is no Plan B.

We Are Who We Are Because Of Grace

We were made in God’s image to bring glory to Him, but we all sin and fall short of God’s glory which distorts His image in us.  Jesus came to display the perfect image of God and glorify Him in ways we did not, and then die in our place to atone for our sin.  Then He begins restoring the image of God in us so we can bring Him glory.  This is what grace does for us:  It takes people who don’t look and act much like God and transforms us into people who do.  Undeserving sinners are remade into joy-filled, purpose-driven, difference-making, love-giving image-bearers of our glorious God.  We are who we are because of grace.

Who God Says You Are

To receive God’s grace is to be so radically changed that nothing will ever be the same.  Not your past, because your sin no longer convicts you.  Not your present, because your sin no longer controls you.  Not your future, because your sin no longer condemns you.  When you trust in Jesus, God graciously remakes everything about who you were, who you are and who you will become.  You are given a new identity in Christ, a growing similarity to Christ, and a joy-filled destiny with Christ.  Grace.  Changes.  Everything.  You are not defined by who the world says you are; you are defined by who God says you are.

Confidently Asking God For Help

There are two errors we often make when we consider asking Jesus for help. We either feel confident that we can ask Him for help because we’ve been “good,” or we feel hesitant to ask Him for help because we’ve been “bad.”  Both of those ideas twist God’s kingdom into a meritocracy in which we submit our requests (or not) based on our deeds.  The truth is we don’t deserve God’s gracious help. But, because of Jesus, we can have it as a gift on the basis of His work, not ours.  You can confidently ask God for His help today because… It’s not what you do for Him that is worthy of His help; it’s what Jesus has done for you.

Not I, But Christ In Me

There is nothing that I have which was not given to me.  Everything about who I am and what I do that is good is a gift from God at work in me, for me and through me.  Every ability I possess.  Every resource I use.  Every opportunity I take. Every person I serve.  Every task I complete.   I am what I am by the grace of God.  I do what I do by the grace of God.   It is the provision and power and presence of Jesus with me that makes everything possible.  Here is the one thing I know to be true, the one thing I count on every single day, the one thing I will say about any good that comes from my life:  Not I, but Christ in me.

Freedom From Something And To Something

Freedom is always from something and to something else.  If you are trusting in Jesus, He has set you free from a life of shame, regret, joylessness, emptiness, addictions, fear, pride, doubt, lusts, sin and eternal death at the end.  And He has set you free to a life of honor, joy, contentment, victory, humility, security, faith, peace, hope, love and eternal life at the end.  You are free from sin’s cruel rule to be happy in Jesus now and forever! To experience His freedom, simply abide in His words, depend upon His Spirit and feel His presence with you. Today, don’t live as if you are still in chains.  You have been set free.

Focusing On The Inside

Many people strive to look stylish, look good and look fit.  And while the Bible emphasizes modesty and simplicity for believers, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t value our outward appearance as well.  However, it is important that we value who we are more than what we look like. We should focus more attention on our hearts than our hair, our minds than our makeup, our character than our clothes, and our personhood than our physiques.  By grace, let us pursue becoming who we were made to be, knowing… Godly character is in style within us.  Morals look good on us.  Christlikeness is a nice fit for us.

Beloved Sons And Daughters

The One who knows us most is also the One who loves us most.  He sees every sin, every shortcoming, every struggle … and He sets His affections upon us anyway. God loves us just as we are, but He loves us enough not to leave us as we are.  When we put our faith in Jesus, God begins to transform us into people who both hide less and less and have less and less to hide.  He doesn’t expect us to change our lives before He welcomes us into His family, but rather He welcomes us into His family and then He begins to change our lives.  Remember today: We are not fully changed, but we are fully loved sons and daughters.

From Who You Used To Be

Every human knows what it feels like to be stuck.  Stuck in repeated mistakes, personality flaws, bad habits, unfulfilling rhythms and inner unrest caused by our sinfulness.  But God in His grace sent Jesus to get us un-stuck and offer real transformation for those who put their trust in Him.  This is what becoming new in Christ means:  a change in our standing with God, a change in what makes us happy, a change in what controls our lives, and a change in what our eternity will be like.  He changes everything!  Trust Him day by day and watch Him change you from who you used to be into who you were made to be.