As you’ve probably noticed by now, I talk a lot about God. John did too.
I am not a theologian. I am simply a woman who is increasingly captivated by God as He comforts and carries me through profound loss. His presence in my life amazes me.
Some of you have a vibrant relationship with God. Some of you wish that you did. Some of you aren’t even sure what that means. If you’re curious about God, this is for you…
I see two things when I see this world: it is amazing and it is broken.
Life on this planet fills me with wonder; creation declares purposeful, creative, astounding genius. But, life on this planet also reveals heartbreaking brokenness. And it is everywhere: in our bodies, in our selfishness, in our relationships, in our wars, and in our death.
So there is great news: We live in an amazing, beautiful, spinning world, which is clearly made by Someone infinitely greater and wiser than us.
But there is bad news: this world is broken, and we can’t fix it. We are broken and we can’t fix us. We can’t even keep ourselves alive. None of us.
Obviously, we need help.
To me, it makes sense to turn to the Someone who made this world. He is our only Hope. But that Someone seems very far away and infinitely greater. How do we find Him? How can He help us?
There are many religions who give answers to these questions, but Jesus Christ made the boldest claim. He declared: “Anyone who has seen me, has seen the Father” (John 14:9). What do we do with this statement?
C.S. Lewis, a Christian author, stated that everyone has to make up his mind about Jesus’ identity: is Jesus a lunatic, a liar, or the Son of God? He has to be one of those three. For me, the lunatic and liar labels simply don’t add up. From my perspective, the evidence is compelling- Jesus Christ truly is the Son of God. And, if the Son of God has actually come to this planet, I want to know all about Him.
The Bible tells us that Jesus came into this world humbly human at the perfect time in history. He faced the temptations and struggles we all face, but He always responded with love and obedience to His Father.
And, He powerfully loved the people around Him like no one else has ever done- healing, helping, teaching, day in and day out. The world still hasn’t gotten over it.
He lived the perfect life that none of us can attain. He is the only one who has done life right.
Not us. The Bible makes it clear, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. We all know it is true. Our broken, self-obsessed lives break our relationship with God and end in our death. No matter how much we might want to ignore it or work hard to overcome it, we can’t. Our sin is a barrier. There is nothing we can do to make it go away. And, we certainly can’t come into God’s holy, astounding presence with it.
Jesus was sent by God to rescue us from our mess. But it was costly. God’s perfect justice means that punishment is given when it is deserved. And, we deserve punishment for not always living to please and love Him.
Jesus was willing to be punished for us so that we could be forgiven and healed. He died a death He didn’t deserve, so that we could fully live- now and forever. When He did, we were given the greatest gift: we can be at peace with God forever.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not die but have eternal life.” John 3:16
We know Jesus accomplished His mission because death could not keep Him. He was raised from the dead, which proves we can trust His authority and promises. Jesus told his followers to spread the word that if we believe that His death and resurrection are really for us, our self-obsession and brokenness are forgiven and death is overcome.
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” John 11:25 No strings attached. No hard work involved. We get what we don’t deserve and could never earn. Love has fought and died for us and won. It is the best. news. ever.
“To all who did receive him (Jesus), to those who believed in his name, He gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12
When we believe that Christ’s death was for us, we are adopted into God’s family. We are given His Spirit to show us how to live as God’s children in this world. We are dearly loved children learning how to listen and obey our Father.
There’s a letter in the New Testament written by the Apostle Paul where he says,
“In Christ and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.“ Ephesians 3:12
And, so I do. You can too. It is amazing but true! We can have a relationship with God that is real and authentic and vibrant. We can communicate with Him. We can live without the burden of past mistakes, and we can live without fear. We can love freely, abundantly, and graciously because that is how He loves us.
Because of Jesus Christ we are forgiven and loved. We can live with hope because death is only the beginning of a richer, deeper life with Him.
May you discover that He is the One you’ve been looking for all along.
You are loved by Him every moment of every day,
**If you don’t have a relationship with God, my encouragement is to be real about it. God can handle your questions and accusations and doubts. He welcomes seekers. So, I challenge you to ask Him to show you that He is real. What do you have to lose? You have everything to gain.
Here’s a great book that might address some of your honest questions. Start Here: Beginning a Relationship with Jesus (Dwight & Unice).
**If you have a relationship with God, but it seems disconnected, don’t try to do faith alone. God made us to be in His family! It is a real family. You have brothers and sisters in faith, and they are amazing people.
- Find a church where the emphasis is on worshiping God and thanking Him for this new life we have because of Christ. Get to know people there. Look for opportunities to meet with a small group of people. (Email me if you are looking for a church but are having a hard time finding one. Maybe I can help. firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Read the Bible (the books of Psalms and John are two great places to start). If you don’t have one, here’s a favorite that we have recommended over the years: The Quest NIV Bible. You might also be encouraged by the book I mentioned above.
© Maria Carroll, 2014
One thought on “Essentials”
This is an amazing post! It is so brilliantly written and yet, so simply understandable. I have read it several times already and would like to pass it along to others who I care about and think it would challenge and encourage! Thank you for your writing. It is a joy to read!