We recently completed a sermon series focused on growing in Christ. We considered many aspects of what is called "sanctification", the process by which we become more like Jesus in our daily lives: active faith, obedience, responding to God's Word, bringing our whole selves to God - we focused on each of these. We also were reminded that the crucial foundation from which we live our lives is the reality that we are God's loved children through faith in Jesus. We don't earn that love, gain that love, or have to work to keep that love. It is God's grace driven love, extended to us freely and without reservation.
We ended this series with these powerful questions from Brennan Manning:
"Do you believe that the God of Jesus loves you beyond worthiness and unworthiness, beyond fidelity and infidelity -- that He loves you in the morning sun and in the evening rain -- that He loves you when your intellect denies it, your emotions refuse it, your whole being rejects it? Do you believe that God loves without condition or reservation and loves you this moment as you are and not as you should be?"
"To obey is better than sacrifice." (I Samuel 15:22) With these penetrating words, the prophet Samuel rebuked King Saul's failure to carry out God's specific commands. Without obedience, we cannot grow spiritually. This simple truth permeates both the Old and New Testaments.
Are you struggling to obey God in some area of your life? Is there something you have walled off from God's truth and are refusing to surrender to God? If so, you're not alone! Remember that God loves you more deeply than you can imagine, can be trusted more completely than you can comprehend, and is more powerful than your mind can conceive.
Remember that more than anything, God wants your heart - He wants you to come to Him in faith and lay whatever it is you are holding on to at His feet and say, "Yes" to His will. Remember that Jesus walked the ultimate path of obedience for you as He went to the cross, suffered and died, and then was raised from the dead so that we can have free access to God. 24/7. Go to Him today! (Hebrews 4:16)