Monday, November 3, 2014

God, a box and a slippery slope: No room for grace

I am divorced and remarried.  In my younger years my feelings on those topics varied greatly from where they do today.  I used to judge the divorced and saw them as ungodly. Their story did not matter to me. My focus was the choice made to walk away from a covenant put together before God.  I was judgmental and ignorant.  

I love people with all the answers. Everything in their world seen as black and white.  No room left for error.  No room for grace. Sadly I must admit, I used to be that person.  

As someone who spent the entire first half of her life believing that divorce was an abomination against God, I will be the first to admit my own ignorance.  I grew up assuming, from what I was told, divorced people were not in God’s will and could not be blessed.  I heard, accepted and preached it. I put God in a box and did like many people, used it to manipulate and control.

You see for years, my God was not big. The God I followed could easily fit into a box. That has changed. You may be asking where exactly I am going with this. Here’s the thing, over the course of the last few months, I have come upon several discussions over sin and what constitutes sin.  From there the discussions turned into who can commit what sin and truly be saved. I got caught up in the discussion and started measuring sin which in my opinion is a slippery slope. Those discussions served as a distraction.  They kept me from what is truly important.  Following Jesus.

So all this "discussion" turned into distraction led me to doubt.  Not in my faith but the people of my faith.  Wondering who I should follow.  Questioning my allegiance and loyalty. Am I too wrapped up in following people?   With that said, I’ve spent a great deal of time asking for direction and discernment. During this time, John 3:16 has played repeatedly in my head.  The words, “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish” have played over again like a song on repeat.  

I grew up in church.  The first verse I remember memorizing was John 3:16, and it was the King James version.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only  begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

To this day, I remember that verse word for word.  It has been so hidden away in my heart, surprisingly enough, I often forget the words and their great gospel message. 

So now I am going back to the start.  Back to the essentials of my faith.  

God made a way when He sent Jesus. He loved us so much He gave up the life of His Son to save us even in the midst of our sinful ways. John 3:16 tells us that if we believe in Him, we are His. Believe what?  God is Holy and Jesus is the Son of God. We are sinners separated from God and in need of a Savior. Jesus lived a perfect life. He took our sin and our punishment when He was nailed to the cross.  Three days later, He rose from the dead. 

If we believe those things while placing our faith and trust in Christ alone for forgiveness and repent of our sin, we are born again and become a child of God. The “basics” of my faith.

So as of today, I am walking away.  I am turning away from those who “believe” they have God figured out.  I am going back to my Bible and I am going to follow Jesus.  To read His words, His teachings and follow His Truth while I seek after His will for my life.  A fresh start.  I spent years of my life following the teachings of men and trusting their interpretations of scripture as gospel truth but it ends today.  I want to know Jesus.  To follow Him more intimately.  To do that I have to seek Him with my whole heart and allow the voices of the world to fade away.  

My journey begins today.  I challenge you to turn off the world around you and focus solely on His voice.  It’s time to meet with Jesus.