Remember this as you follow Jesus in faith: it’s not what happens to us that is of greatest importance, but rather the end result of what happens. Things often won’t go as we plan, things often won’t work out like we hope, and things often won’t be as simple or easy or comfy as we would like. But in the hands and plans of God, our struggles are not setbacks. They are stepping stones to the good result He has in mind. So… Don’t stop believing. Don’t stop proceeding. Something good is coming even if you don’t yet see it. Take heart! Things would look much better if we could see them not as they are, but as they will be.
God Has Divinely Positioned You
God has divinely positioned you so that your life intersects with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and teammates so you can help them take the next step in their spiritual journey. These people that He will bring into your path today desperately need to know what you know about Jesus. God has sent you to tell them about the riches of His grace, and the only message about Jesus that He can’t use is the one you don’t share. One of the greatest aims of your life should be that the people in your life grow in their relationship with Jesus because of their relationship with you.
Never Forget In The Dark
Defeat doubt by preparing for battle in advance by filling your heart with the truth of God’s Word. In advance, because doubt appears without warning. With the truth of God’s Word, because doubt arrives with lies. The enemy will attack you in times of darkness because it’s hard to see him coming, and it’s hard to see the situation for what it really is. So, start your day in the light by saturating your heart with a good and accurate picture of God’s graciousness and faithfulness so you can remember those truths and promises when darkness falls. Never forget in the dark what God has shown you in the light.
The More We Think About Him
Our thoughts have the power to shape us, for better or for worse, so we must let our minds land most often on Jesus. His Good News message is full of life-changing truths and promises that will guide us into a right perspective on every life issue. It changes how we see our past so we can know real freedom from guilt and shame. It changes how we see our present so we can know real purpose and peace in the midst of busyness. It changes how we see our future so we can know real hope as we joyfully anticipate what lies ahead. The more we think about Jesus, the more it will rewire how we think about everything else.
Grow In Grace
There is a three-word description that summarizes what happens from the moment we put our faith in Jesus until the moment we come face-to-face with Him: grow in grace. We are not meant to stay the same or stand still, but to progress in our experience of grace for the rest of our lives. There are countless observations, implications and applications that flow from God’s grace to us, and we have the delightful duty of discovery. Day by day, we are to prize, prioritize and pursue intimacy with Jesus. Progress does not come from fixing ourselves, but fixing our eyes on Him. This is how we grow: we set out to know.
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.
Grace To Begin Again
There are three questions we should regularly ask in an honest-as-we-can-be evaluation of our spiritual journey with Jesus. First, how am I relating to God through my daily prayer and Bible time? Second, how regular and authentic is my corporate worship with others? Third, how am I stewarding my time and resources for the kingdom of God? These are essential parts of us knowing Jesus and making Him known so that God is honored in us and we are happy in Him. When we have been less-than-faithful in these areas, let us ask God for grace to begin again, rejoicing that He will never stop being fully faithful to us.
Strengthening And Shaping Us
One of the ways that God changes us to become like Jesus is through hardships. We struggle to find answers on our own, we worry and doubt and fear often, we fall short over and over again, and we feel like many tasks in front of us are impossible. But, in time we learn to turn to and trust in the wisdom, strength, and grace of God as He transforms us into people of faith through our struggles. Hardships can be like hard workouts, strengthening us and shaping us for the better. As we face struggles, let us not forget this: sometimes God will change the situation; sometimes God will use the situation to change us.
Do You Believe In Jesus In That Way?
Know this: everyone is a believer. There is no one who is not a believer. We all believe in something. Even to disbelieve in one thing is to believe in another. All of life’s desires, decisions, and deeds flow from one of two basic beliefs: we believe that we need Jesus, or we believe that we do not need Him. Want to know what you believe in? Look at your life. You will pin your hopes upon your beliefs, devote your time and resources to your beliefs, look for happiness in your beliefs, find your sense of well-being in your beliefs, and stake your life on your beliefs. The question is: do you believe in Jesus in that way?
Jesus Will Change Us When We Ask Him
People often reject the gospel because they would rather rely on good advice for what they need to do rather than receive good news about what Jesus will do for them. Humans love self-help strategies that promise you can fix yourself until they inevitably find that these strategies don’t actually help self. Well-meaning sayings like toughen up, lighten up, buck up and cheer up are just a set up that make us want to give up. Real, lasting change will only come when we ask God to begin and complete His good work in us so we can live by His power. He’s ready, willing and able to do it if we’ll stop trying to do it ourselves.
When Reading The Bible
When reading the Bible, if you don’t experience both conviction and celebration, you’re not reading it correctly. On one hand, we should not ignore the places where God’s words challenge and correct the way we are living if we are disobedient to His commands. On the other hand, we should not isolate the places where God issues His commands so all we have is a list of “dos and don’ts”. A proper reading and understanding of the Bible should equip us to joyfully do as God intends and encourage us with all that Jesus has done, is doing and will do for us. His doing makes our doing possible and makes it worth it.