Beautiful One, I have so much to share with you today. I hope you'll stick with me.
So, about eighteen months ago I started praying God would take me deeper in our relationship. That my heart wouldn't be lukewarm. I felt a pull to increase my prayer life and dig into His Word. I wanted to know more and understand better.
The Bible talks about the mysteries of God. Some will believe and be given understanding. Others will harden their hearts and won’t be given insight into the mysteries of God.
Have you thought about where you land?
Lately, I've been listening to Stephanie Tyndall in the group She Rises. She often goes where many are afraid to go. You know that feeling when you think you should express your truth about God but then fear of persecution or backlash, rejection sets in. Well, she said something recently that convicted me about how I approached a topic in my book, Beautifully Broken.
I stayed on the surface to please others. It convicted me so much that I decided to get serious about the 2nd edition of the book.
Part of what Stephanie talked about was how watered down our gospel is today. About how many churches have made salvation a simple prayer? Churches are even teaching there could be multiple ways to God, discounting Jesus and all He did on the Cross.
Remember, Jesus said in the last days people would be deceived, many people, by the tickling of the ear. Meaning, they will accept teaching that feels good and isn't offensive over truth. Aren't we a people terrified to offend? I mean, seriously, who wants to get in an all-out Facebook brawl with family or friends.
Still, our truth has to remain our truth.
Still, our truth has to remain our truth.
I believe with all of my heart that God is calling us out of our slumber. He's asking us to stand up against a water-downed gospel. I believe He's calling dry bones back to life. To revival. And not just to life but to arise as warriors. Warriors ready for battle. Like He did in Ezekiel.
Anyway, I was intrigued by what Stephanie said the other day regarding the difference between "accepting" Jesus and "believing" in Jesus. There's a difference. And if there's ever been a time to examine our hearts, it is now.
SO many people “accept” the gospel when it's shared with them. They accept what they're told about Jesus dying on the Cross, forgiving their sins so they can go to heaven. Almost like checking off a checklist. But, they never go any further with God. Either they think they have their ticket to heaven and that's all that matters, or they are not exposed to what it means to follow Jesus.
We can accept something that is false. It makes sense for others, but not for us; yet, still we can accept it. When we BELIEVE something, it goes much deeper. We take it in as our truth. We accept it as truth and that gives it power. Does that make sense?
When we believe the gospel, it leads to repentance (because we genuinely see the gravity of our sins.) We receive the Holy Spirit. That deposit, guys, is everything. Because of it, we should never look or be the same.
I wish I could articulate the gift the Holy Spirit has been to me. I would sit and tell you of the countless times I received peace beyond my understanding or strength when it simply didn’t make sense. I would tell you about self-control or courage I’ve somehow mustered when I was an insecure mess inside. And, of course, the ability to love when I don’t feel like loving.
Is it 24/7? Absolutely not. I sin and fail every.single.day. Some days, I fail hugely.
Sometimes, I’m hellbent on doing it my way (which never works out well.)
There is power in His name.
But, there IS power in His name.
There is something that happens when we call out the name of Jesus or call on His Spirit. If you don’t believe me, TRY IT. Ask Him to do something difficult through you, something you know you need to do but hesitate. The next time you're an anxious mess, whisper His name, Jesus, out loud.
Sorry, I veered off the path again and may have added a minute or two to your read. 🙂
Did you believe when you were saved? Or did you say a prayer years ago at church camp and just accept?
When we believe God is who He says He is… life changes. Our hearts and minds transform. Maybe not instantly but certainly over time. The more we learn about Him and His love. The more we learn about our identity in Him.
Sin doesn't feel the same. We have a desire to seek Him. That means reading the Bible and uncovering the mysteries I talked about before.
Do I trust that people can believe and be on fire for God and then be so hurt by life or not exposed to church or Bible that they fall away?
Absolutely. I did. When I said the prayer in 7th grade at church camp, I believed. For years, I couldn’t tell you what changed, but something changed in me. If you read my book, you also know I went right back to the world.
That’s the problem with mountain top experiences and just saying a prayer. If we don't get into some kind of discipleship or learn spiritual disciplines, it often takes ugly and painful pits for us to decide to try the Jesus thing. I was in so much bondage and turmoil by my thirties I knew Jesus was the only answer.
Do I believe there will be those who claim to know Jesus who will hear Him say, “I never knew you?” when He returns.
Absolutely. Ron Graham describes it like this,
“Jesus hears many people address him as, "Lord." They even say it twice, "Lord, Lord," to make it more impressive or convincing perhaps. But Jesus is neither impressed nor convinced. He says to them, "I never knew you" (Matthew 7:22-23). So how does this shocking situation come about? How can there be many people calling Jesus Lord, whilst he denies any association with them? We don't have to puzzle or guess about this; Jesus gives us the answer. And the answer is so simple we could easily miss it. The answer is in a question —a very pointed question Jesus asks: "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and don't do what I say?" (Luke 6:46)
How can we do what He says, if we don’t know what He says?
How can we do what He says, if we don't know what He says?
It's like trying to find a place you've never been without your GPS.
Luke 6:46 disturbed my daughter, Anna, when she was little. As well as, “But whoever denies me in front of man” (Matthew 10:33.) She couldn't imagine the God she was learning about, full of so much love, turning anyone away from heaven. I think in our watered-down gospel, we're tempted to consider the same. It's much easier to think that way than believe our unbelieving friends or family members are going to hell.
God would not be GOD if that was the case. He would not be Just and Sovereign. His promises wouldn’t stand. And I don’t know about you, but I am relying on those promises.
The reality is, many will call Jesus Lord, and He will reject them because they never knew Him. Knowing someone takes work. What did it take for you to KNOW your spouse or your best friend? It took asking questions, conversations, learning about them. Finding out what makes them happy as well as angry. It took intimacy and a relationship.
We need to know the stories. We need to know the words Jesus spoke. We need to memorize them. It's how we wage war when satan is filling our minds with lies or temptation. And believe me, he knows precisely when and how to taunt you. He’s a master at it.
My question for you today is, have you merely accepted who Jesus is, or do you believe in Him? Do you know that you know that you KNOW who He is?
Make a list of His characteristics and what the Bible says about Him. Try listing out His commands, His promises.
If you can’t, grab your Bible and do it. Use an online Bible if you don't have one. (And then go get one!)
Ask God to open your heart and mind to who HE is. Ask Him to reveal the mysteries in Scripture. His heart is for intimacy. He created us for it. Just as much as we want someone to deeply know, understand, and accept us (truly take us in for who we are), God feels the same way about us.
And Beautiful, He is worth it.
I am praying for you right now, that God opens your eyes and hearts in new and crazy, extraordinary ways. I'm praying He gives you a passion and desire to go deeper.
YOU are worth it.
So, so much love!!