A few years ago, a dear friend of mine wrote to someone she loved and was concerned about, telling her friend what it meant to be a Christian.  I read that letter and was completely blown away.  With her permission, I offer it to you in case you are searching for something you can’t quite put your finger on.  In case you want true and lasting joy but don’t understand how to get it.  In case you know that something is missing in your life and you want to find it and take hold of it.

It’s a gift.  And it’s free.

Here’s how to get it.

It sounds like a cliche, spray-painted across the side of a building, but nothing could be truer or more significant in our lives than this.  God loves us—every one of us!—more than we could ever imagine.  In fact, He loves us so much, that He came up with a plan that could bring us into a relationship with Him.  Because we all do things that are wrong—we all are born with a tendency to sin, and we do, right from childhood!—we are separated from God.  God is perfect in every way.  He never does anything wrong.  So when we do these wrong things, we can’t be a part of God.  But He loves us, and wants us to be a part of Him, so he decided to do something that would change the world.  He sent Jesus, His own Son, to earth.  From the foundations of the world, sin has always brought death.  Starting with Adam and Eve, going against God has always had to end in dying separate from Him.  But if there was a sacrifice—someone who never sinned or went against God, but chose to die instead of us—then death could be conquered and we could be reunited with God.  So, Jesus came, and He became that sacrifice for us.  Not only did He die, but God brought Him back to life after 3 days—He conquered death, and the world was changed forever. 

So how does that affect us?  Suppose that you and I owed the U.S. Government several billion dollars.  We, of course, could never come up with that kind of money!  It would be hopeless!  So, the government made us leave the country and put us on an island until we could pay up.  Well, we’d basically be there for the rest of our lives, because we would never have enough to pay off the debt.  But suppose a very wealthy person came along and decided to pay off our debt to the government, and we were now free!  We were given our citizenship back and allowed to come into the country again.  That is what happened between us and God because of Jesus’ death.  We were sentenced to be separated from God, both in this life and when we die, because of our sin.  But because of Jesus, we can now have a relationship with God and can live with Him in heaven when we die.  We can not “earn” a relationship with God or a place in heaven by doing good things or serving others.  We can’t earn it by assuming that God is good and will just let everyone in.  In fact, we can’t earn it at all!  It is a gift from God.  But we do have to make a conscious decision to accept it.  That involves several things.  First, we need to recognize and admit that we have done wrong things, and that this has separated us from God.  Next, we need to believe and understand that Jesus, by sacrificing Himself for us, has “built a bridge” between us and God.  Then, we need to ask God to forgive us for the wrong things we’ve done and ask Him to come and take control of our lives.  Why would we want to let God take control of our lives?  Well, several reasons.  I know for me personally, I do a lousy job of being in charge of my life.  Even if we accept Jesus’ sacrifice, we still have that same tendency to do wrong.  So we all need help to do the right things.  Another reason—perhaps the most important—is that, well, He is GOD!  There is only one God, and only one way to God—through Jesus.  And because He is God, He deserves all of our devotion and honor.  He deserves all that we can give Him—our complete selves.  But the great thing about God is that He loves us so much, He gives us so many great things in return for us devoting our lives to Him!  One of the things He promises us is that He will be like a Father to us—we become His children!  He will never leave us or let us down.  He will comfort us, give us the only true peace that there is, will provide everything we need, and will guide us, showing us His plan for our lives.  When we make this decision to give our lives to Him, the Bible tells us that He sends us the Holy Spirit to live in us.  It is through the Holy Spirit that He teaches us and comforts us and helps us to live like He wants us to.  But we have to make this decision first, to ask His forgiveness, accept Jesus’ sacrifice for us, and then give our lives completely to Him.  When we do that, the Bible says that He makes all things new.  The past is the past.  He forgives us completely of all wrongdoing and buries it in the Sea of Forgetfulness.  It says that we are then a new creation in Him, and we get to start over from square one.  I love that!  He is offering that to you—to everyone—right now.  All you have to do is talk to Him and make that choice.

 

 

 

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