Sunday, March 13, 2016

You're Included

When I first came to the Christian faith, I struggled not with daily bible readings, praying, church attendance, or being fired up about sharing Jesus. Ironically, I struggled believing and accepting God really loved me with no strings attached. I wouldn't admit it at first. Yet after hearing several sermons in church, I began to let it be known first to my wife and then close friends that I doubted God's love for me and whether or not he really included me in what His Son did. Altar call after altar call, sinner's prayer after sinner's prayer, multiple baptisms. I just couldn't seem to be convinced God loved me. 

Eventually, I got sick of not believing God loved me and gave up on Christianity altogether. For about a year I was as hard hearted towards anything with faith as one can imagine. Then one day on the way to work while flipping through the radio station, it just clicked. I suddenly became aware of God's mercy towards me and was convinced Jesus included me when He died and rose again. 

Many people, whether they will admit it or not, struggle with God's love for them. You will never be able to truly enjoy His gifts if you're not convinced He loves you. As long as you're not convinced, God will always seem like an Indian giver or task master.   

You cannot relax and have faith in someone if you think they might not love or even like you. God demonstrated His love for us when He sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross. God doesn't have our relationship with Him based on a probationary state. His Son actually finished the dividing wall of sin at His death. It is finished. You can be confident of God's love for you. It is not based on how well you are doing this week or if you are going to blow it tomorrow. God's relationship with us is based on the finished work of Christ, not your work for Him. 

Jesus ate with sinners and the outcast of society not because they promised to do better at reading their bible that week, pledged to quit drinking beer, or promised to quit cussing. He ate with sinners because He loves us. He is still the same yesterday, today, and forever. We are all included in that love. Yes, you too. 

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